Text size
A
A
A

Governance Statement

GOVERNANCE STATEMENT FOR 2020-21

Scope of responsibility

As trustees we acknowledge we have overall responsibility for ensuring that The Silk Academy Trust has an effective and appropriate system of control, financial and otherwise. However, such a system is designed to manage rather than eliminate the risk of failure to achieve business objectives and can provide only reasonable and not absolute assurance against material misstatement or loss.

As trustees, we have reviewed and taken account of the guidance in DfE’s Governance handbook and competency framework for governance.

The board of trustees has delegated the day-to-day responsibility to the head teacher, as accounting officer, for ensuring financial control conforms with the requirements of both propriety and good financial management and in accordance with the requirements and responsibilities assigned to it in the funding agreement between The Silk Academy Trust and the Secretary of State for Education. They are also responsible for reporting to the board of trustees on any material weaknesses or breakdowns in internal control.

Governance

The information on governance included here supplements that described in the trustees' report and in the statement of trustees' responsibilities. The board of trustees has formally met 3 times during the period 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021. Attendance during the year at the meetings of the board of trustees was as follows:

Trustee

Potential Attendance

Actual Attendance

Mr S Yates (Chair of trustees until 20 September 2020)

2

2

Mrs S Gill (Principal and accounting officer)

4

4

Mrs P Broadley (Chair of trustees from 21 September 2020)

4

4

Mrs M Darlington

4

4

Mr B Puddicombe

4

4

Mr J Stubbs

3

3

Mr W Heaton

1

0

Mrs J Oliver

4

4

Mrs L Farrand

4

4

Mr M Shaw

2

2

Mr T Sunderland

4

4

Effectiveness of the governing body is a rolling item on the FGB agenda. An annual skills audit is undertaken and a gap analysis is run against current governor skill set. Training opportunities are sought to fill these gaps.

The Resource Committee is a sub-committee of the main board of trustees. The committee meets three times per year.  The purpose of the Resource Committee is to monitor, consider and advise the Governing Body on the Academy’s policy and practice relating to finance, premises, health and safety and staffing resources.  Attendance at Resource Committee meetings in the 2020/21 academic year were as follows:

Trustee

 

Meetings attended

Out of a possible

Melany Darlington

 

3

3

Sarah Gill

 

3

3

Jon Stubbs

 

3

3

Trevor Sunderland

 

3

3

Michael Shaw

 

1

0

The Audit Committee is a sub-committee of the main board of trustees. Although the committee would usually meet three times per year, during 2020/21 it was only possible to meet twice. The Audit Committee’s purpose is to ensure that the academy trust’s internal programme of financial, other controls and management of risk is adequate and scrutinised.  Attendance at Audit Committee meetings in the 2019/20 academic year was as follows: 

Trustee

Meetings

Out of a possible

Jon Stubbs

 

3

3

Trevor Sunderland

 

3

3

Mel Darlington

 

3

3

Sarah Gill

 

3

3

 

Review of value for money

As accounting officer, the head teacher has responsibility for ensuring that the academy trust delivers good value in the use of public resources. The accounting officer understands that value for money refers to the educational and wider societal outcomes achieved in return for the taxpayer resources received.  The accounting officer considers how the trust's use of its resources has provided good value for money during each academic year, and reports to the board of trustees where value for money can be improved, including the benchmarking data where available. The regular reviews of the academy's financial situation with the accountant and chief financial officer include: 

  • Enforcement of the trust's Best Value Policy.
  • Use of benchmarking against other trusts and institutions.

 

The purpose of the system of internal control

The system of internal control is designed to manage risk to a reasonable level rather than to eliminate all risk of failure to achieve policies, aims and objectives. It can, therefore, only provide reasonable and not absolute assurance of effectiveness. The system of internal control is based on an on-going process designed to identify and prioritise the risks to the achievement of academy trust's policies, aims and objectives, to evaluate the likelihood of those risks being realised and the impact should they be realised, and to manage them efficiently, effectively and economically. The system of internal control has been in place in The Silk Academy Trust for the year 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021 and up to the date of approval of the annual report and financial statements.

 

Capacity to handle risk

The board of trustees has reviewed the key risks to which the academy trust is exposed together with the operating, financial and compliance controls that have been implemented to mitigate those risks. The board of trustees is of the view that there is a formal on-going process for identifying, evaluating and managing the academy trust's significant risks that have been in place for the year 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021 and up to the date of approval of the annual report and financial statements. This process is regularly reviewed by the board of trustees.

 

The risk and control framework

The academy trust's system of internal financial control is based on a framework of regular management information and administrative procedures including the segregation of duties and a system of delegations and accountability. In particular, it includes:

  • Comprehensive budgeting and monitoring systems with an annual budget and periodic financial reports which are reviewed and agreed by the board of trustees.
  • Regular reviews by the Resource Committee of reports which indicate financial performance against the forecasts and of major purchase plans, capital works and expenditure programme.
  • Setting targets to measure financial and other performance.
  • Clearly defined purchasing (asset purchase or capital investment) guidelines.
  • Delegation of authority and segregation of duties.
  • Identification and management of risks.

The board of trustees has considered the need for a specific internal audit function and has decided to appoint Haines Watts as internal auditor.

The internal auditor's role includes giving advice on financial matters and performing a range of checks on the academy trust's financial systems. In particular, the checks carried out in the current period included:

  • testing of payroll systems;
  • testing of purchase systems;
  • testing of control account; and
  • bank reconciliations.

On a quarterly basis, the auditor reports to the board of trustees through the Resource Committee on the operation of the systems of control and on the discharge of the board of trustees' financial responsibilities and annually prepares an annual summary report to the committee outlining the areas reviewed, key findings, recommendations and conclusions to help the committee consider actions and assess year on year progress.

Following the newly revised FRC Ethical Standard for auditors, the academy trust has appointed Lighthouse Education Consultancy to carry out the academy trust’s internal scrutiny checks.  

Review of effectiveness

As accounting officer, the head teacher has responsibility for reviewing the effectiveness of the system of internal control. During the period in question the review has been informed by:

  • The work of the internal auditor.
  • The work of the external auditor.
  • The work of the executive managers within the academy trust who have responsibility for the development and
  • maintenance of the internal control framework.

The accounting officer has been advised of the implications of the result of their review of the system of internal control by the Resource Committee and a plan to address weaknesses and ensure continuous improvement of the system is in place.

 

Approved by order of the members of the board of trustees on 20th October 2021 and signed on its behalf by:

Mrs P Broadley                                                 Mrs S Gill

Chair of trustees                                               Accounting officer