The Department for Education will start giving "rapid feedback" to academy trusts about the amount they spend compared with similar organisations, from next month.
The news is contained in a letter sent from Lord Agnew to academy trust chairs today.
His letter also confirms that Ofsted are intending to pilot changes to inspections from September "that will place a greater emphasis on schools’ use of resources".
Lord Agnew says that from the middle of February, the Education Skills and Funding Agency will be able to give trusts "rapid feedback on your level and direction of spend compared to the nearest comparable schools in the country."
It adds: "Where you are not in the top quartile of performance, I hope you will provide robust challenge to your organisations. Every pound under-utilised is a pound that could be improving your pupils’ education.
"There may be reasons why your school(s) are outliers, but ensure you fully understand the reasoning you are given and challenge your leadership teams to tackle inefficiencies."
The letter also asks for feedback from chairs. It says: "As ever, I am always open to ideas as to what more we can do from the centre to support you. We do not get enough feedback from the sector. You are in the cockpit.
"Tell me what you need and if it makes sense, I’ll do my best to support you."