Need-to-know: Academy Trust Handbook 2022 published
The new handbook comes into effect on 1 September 2022. Though it's not a lot of notice, the changes are minimal and unlikely to affect operations significantly.
As promised, the separate budget forecast return outturn (BFRO) is now a thing of the past. Your trust must continue to submit only the budget forecast return (BFR) each year Your trust must get approval from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) before making special staff severance payments that meet certain criteria – not for any staff severance payments meeting the criteria, as stated in the 2021 version of the handbook. It's a small, but important, distinction: A special staff severance payment is one that "doesn't correspond to an established contractual, statutory or other right" (see page 3 of the guidance on public sector exit payments: use of special severance payments for more detail) Your trust doesn't need approval from the ESFA to enter into contractual indemnities in the normal course of business (see page 144 of the guidance on managing public money for a definition) The 'at cost' requirement for schools with a religious nature has been expanded beyond dioceses, now