Internal scrutiny – additional red-tape or an effective tool?
As in prior years, The Academy Trust Handbook (year commencing 1 September 2021 edition) dedicates a whole section specifically to internal scrutiny which reflects how seriously the ESFA take this issue.
The key things to note are:
The internal scrutiny should cover both financial and non-financial controls
Internal scrutiny should be driven by the audit and risk committee
- Reporting is direct to the committee by those carrying out the internal scrutiny.
Many finance departments view internal scrutiny as another 'demand' on their time and only results in increased procedures being implemented. However, if the internal scrutiny work takes into account the way the academy trust is set up (rather than it being seen as a tick box exercise), it gives the opportunity for:
Elimination of weaknesses; and
- Streamlining/removal of unnecessary processes.
An effective internal scrutiny process should help to ensure value for money is being achieved, identify opportunities for cost savings and time efficiencies as well as providing regular oversight across all areas of the trust.
At Rickard Luckin, we have experience of providing a tailored internal scrutiny service across a range of single and multi-academy trusts which results in a pragmatic approach to recommendations for additional controls and efficiencies to be implemented - if you need any guidance or assistance with any aspect of internal scrutiny, please do get in touch.
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