Academy Trust Handbook 2023

The ESFA has published the Academy Trust Handbook (ATH) 2023, which came into effect on 1 September 2023, and they have written to academy accounting officers. A copy of the letter is available here. The review of the handbook has taken place alongside an initiative from the ESFA to simplify and streamline financial requirements placed on academy trusts. As part of this initiative the handbook is a shorter version than previous editions.

The key changes for 2023 include:
  • related party transactions: an increase in the threshold beyond which ESFA approval is required for related party transactions from £20,000 to £40,000
  • annual reporting: removing the requirement for explanations in annual accounts when holding fewer than six board meetings per year
  • budget setting: providing an additional month to submit annual budget forecast returns
  • budget monitoring: providing more discretion in the distribution of management accounts
  • sustainability: confirming that salary sacrifice schemes can be set up for electric vehicles, in most cases without our approval
The ESFA has also amended the section on Notices to Improve (NtI) giving examples of when at NtI might be issued, see section reference 6.16 for further details. The ESFA says it will engage with the sector in developing its approach to intervention, including the process to be followed by the department’s Regions Group and the evidence that they will rely on to determine the strength of trustees’ oversight of educational performance

The ESFA has also produced a Schedule of Musts in an excel workbook available here, please note that it abbreviates some of the essential requirements and therefore needs to be used alongside the handbook. References to the relevant sections are included.

Related Pages

Business Matters

  • Business Leadership

Business leaders' pay survey results

  • Conditions
  • Pay
  • Business Leadership
  • Survey