Theft and fraud revealed in academy trusts' accounts

Weak financial 'control' in more than 60 academy trusts also shown in analysis of accounts by DfE agency

Charlotte Santry


Dozens of instances of financial weaknesses including fraud, theft and a lack of independent oversight have been found in academy trusts scrutinised by auditors.

The cases are highlighted in findings published today by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The findings set out the common themes arising in financial statements submitted by academy trusts for the 2017-18 financial year.

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There were nearly 20 instances of fraud and theft, and nearly 20 of related-party transactions.

In more than 20 cases, academy trusts were found to have no independent check of their financial controls in place.

And the financial statements of more than 60 academy trusts were found to have "other control weaknesses".

Weak internal control arrangements included: policies and procedures not being updated to consider the new requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook, no segregation of duties in relation to financial transactions, limited evidence to support credit card transactions and purchases made without appropriate approvals.

Yesterday, Tes named 61 academy trusts that had missed the official deadline for filing their latest financial statements for 2018-19, despite the DfE taking a "firmer stance" on non-compliance with the rules.

Issues raised by auditors in academies' 2017-18 financial statements

AuditorsSource: ESFA

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Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry is deputy news editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @CharlotteSantry

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