MPs want tougher controls over academy trust finances after revelations

The Independent is reporting that serious flaws in the way the government’s 4,400 academies are scrutinised have emerged as a result of an investigation by public spending watchdogs…

Directors of trusts that run academies have been allowed to “develop inappropriate business interests”, Chris Wormald, chief official of the Department for Education (DfE), has been warned.

The warning comes in a letter by Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and seen by The Independent on Sunday. It also warns that the DfE must draw up tougher guidelines for “what constitutes fit and proper behaviour for those in positions of responsibility in the academy sector”.

The letter follows a public hearing into the financial affairs of the Durand Academy in Brixton…

Ms Hodge reported “serious concerns” about the governance and oversight of the Durand Academy and the implications this has for the oversight of the entire academy sector. She said the committee’s probing revealed concerns over the Education Funding Agency – responsible for overseeing cash for academies – and that its ability to “spot risks in individual academies and address them properly has been wholly inadequate”. “We were right to be concerned about the scope for unacceptable behaviour and about the ability of the department and the agency to identify and address it,” she wrote…

The letter reveals the Charity Commission was now investigating the governance arrangements of the Durand Academy Trust. It also criticised a decision to pay more than £500,000 to a political lobbying company and public relations company whose director was also a director of the Durand Academy Trust and a governor of the primary school…

More at: MPs want tougher controls over academy trust finances after revelations that directors have been allowed to develop ‘inappropriate business interests’

 

Sounds like a can of worms has been opened by this one – thoughts? 

 

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This does beg the question as to why stringent controls were in place initially. DfE arrogance and lack of foresight?

  2. AndyDefinite

    SchoolsImprove Too late too lame too suspiciously close to the MP job feste in May!Where were these converts as the academy disaster broke?

  3. Janet2

    @andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Yes.  Gove kept repeating that academies’ finances were subject to more stringent oversight than LA maintained schools.  But it’s not true.

  4. Janet2

    The EFA’s been expected to do more work overseeing thousands of academy accounts at the same time as reduce EFA costs.

    Can’t be done.

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