Public Accounts Committee

Academy Schools Sector Consolidated Accounts 2015–16 inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The Public Accounts Committee will examine Academy Schools Sector Consolidated Accounts 2015–16 on Monday 29 January 2018.

Scope of the inquiry

The Academy Schools Consolidated Accounts take accounts from all 3,013 trusts operating in 2015–16 and put them all in one place. The Department for Education previously integrated these accounts with their general departmental reporting, but decided to separate the two owing to different year-end dates, and the complicatedness of the task.

This first set of Academy Schools Consolidated Accounts was qualified by the National Audit Office’s Comptroller and Auditor General, meaning that he could not have full confidence in them. This was primarily owing to a lack of evidence for the inclusion of £45 billion in Academy Trusts’ land and buildings.

The National Audit Office was also concerned that different Academy Trusts produce accounts in different ways, requiring the Department to make adjustments when consolidating them. It was also concerned that the Department’s framework for assessing the condition of land and buildings was not sufficiently strong.

The Public Accounts Committee has a long-running interest in the financial performance of schools. The Committee will ask representatives from the Department for Education whether they believe the extrapolation and consolidation of Academy Trust accounts is helpful, whether they are concerned about the difficulties in accomplishing that, and how they plan to tackle the National Audit Office’s concerns.

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