How Does Finance Work in Our MAT?
- Member schools manage their own budgets, but the Board is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance and the prudent management of all finances
- The Trust will monitor performance against budget for each school and provide clear monthly summaries to the leaders of each school
- A single set of accounts for the Trust is reported annually to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and is produced by the Chief Operating Officer and approved by the Board
- In order to drive consistency and quality across the Trust some services have been centralised eg Finance, HR, Compliance.There is also the opportunity to use our Trust Facilities management team and we are looking at further developments in the future, for example ICT support.
- Member schools continue to have any reserves that they may have built up prior to joining the Trust ringfenced to their own school budgets. We do not ‘pool’ reserves across the Trust.
Does the Trust recognise the individual ethos and characteristics of individual schools?
Member schools have their own uniform policies, logos, curriculum, etc, and are encouraged to value their own heritage and that of their local community. No new uniforms or major rebranding exercise are required when a new school joins. There are some areas where schools are required to operate along whole-Trust lines such as using the Trust’s financial system, and certain policies are set at Trust level to comply with statutory requirements.
In order to improve Trust-wide administration and to make financial savings for the benefit of all, some services may be consolidated so that the whole Trust uses the same supplier.
What services are covered by the trust's top slice?
The top-slice charges include the following services:
- HR advice
- HR management and administration
- Legal advice
- Payroll management including making salary payments
- Pension actuary and admin fees
- Tax and pension administration
- VAT administration
- Provision of financial systems
- Budget production and monitoring including systems costs
- Management of joint procurement of supplies and services to gain economies of scale wherever possible
- Trade union time
- Internal audit
- External audit fees for the Trust
- Contributions to certain CPD events
- Management of procurement for utility bills (with the target of reducing costs of utility bills to the schools through improved procurement)
- Provision of accommodation for meetings
- Overall trust management
- Liaison with EFA, DfE and other external bodies
- Management and advice on health and safety issues
- We aim to run a CLT awards evening in 2018 which will be paid for by the Trust
- Provision of policies for those areas where the Trust is required to have a single policy for the whole Trust and provision of advice guidance and support to produce policies in areas where schools retain local authority to set their own.
Other items that are managed by the Trust on behalf of the school outside of the top slice if requested (that are recharged back to the school’s individual budget) include
- Facilities management (note that if the school requests this service, the Trust contributes towards the management costs of it, and having shared management team reduces the overheads for this service to each school. Typically the costs for Primaries in our Trust are below that of the equivalent DCC service and so far all our schools have opted in to this service to date even though this is not a requirement of the Trust)
- Staff absence insurance and wellbeing services
The Trust reclaims Non-Domestic Rates costs and credits this to the school budget, so there is no cost to the school for Rates.
There are a large number of non-financial benefits also such as the increased opportunities to discuss best practice, share resources, work directly with other schools, sharing CPD, discussing problems with peers, developing career progression etc which must also not be forgotten, as well as the aim the Trust has to allow Head Teachers to concentrate on students and their education in their role and pass on the administrative and legal side of the job to other colleagues within the Trust to deal with on their behalf.