The School's Financial Value Standard

What is the School's Financial Value Standard (SFVS)?

Schools manage many billions of pounds of public money each year. Effective financial management ensures this money is spent wisely and properly, and allows schools to optimise their resources to provide high-quality teaching and learning and so raise standards and attainment for all their pupils.

The SFVS has been designed by the Department for Education (DfE) in conjunction with schools to assist them in managing their finances and to give assurance that they have secure financial management in place.  

Who is the School's Financial Standard for?

The SFVS is mandatory for all Local Authority maintained schools.  They are required to complete an assessment of each school in line with the standard, once a year. Governing bodies have formal responsibility for the financial management of their schools, and therefore, the standard and associated assessment is primarily aimed at Governors.

The New standard (effective from April 2019)

SFVS helps to provide schools with assurance that they are meeting the basic standards necessary to achieve a good level of financial health and resource management.

The new standard is a tool in two parts and can be used to identify possible areas for change to ensure that resources are being used to support high-quality teaching and the best education outcomes for pupils. The tool comprises:

  1. A checklist, which asks a number of questions of governing bodies in six areas of resource management to provide assurance that the school is managing its resources effectively.
  1. A dashboard, which shows how a school’s data compares to thresholds on a range of statistics that have been identified as indicators for good resource management and outcomes.

 

What do schools need to do?

The new checklist consists of 29 questions, which governing bodies or management committees should formally discuss annually with the head teacher and senior staff.

The results of the annual discussion should be documented within the SFVS checklist as well as completing the required data into the dashboard.  The relevant template to complete is below.

SFVS - new checklist and dashboard template
Download (130KB - XLSX)

The template and supporting information can also be found online at https://www.gov.uk/schools-financial-value-standard-and-assurance-sfvs.

This site also contains supporting information for each question on both the checklist and dashboard to help schools in their self-assessment and to illustrate best practice that might help schools in identifying any improvements that need to be made.

The dashboard guidance provides detailed explanations for each of the indicators to support schools in filling in their data and understanding the results. How to calculate the data needed is also explained. In the dashboard, the school should use the most up to date data available to them, and not rely on published data which may not be the latest available information. The data can either be directly entered into the dashboard or can be populated by completing the cells in the “Optional – input raw data” tab.

Each question of the checklist requires an answer of ‘Yes’, ‘In Part’, or ‘No’. If the answer is ‘Yes’, the comments, evidence and proposed actions column can be used to indicate (concisely) the main evidence on which the governing body based its answer. There is no prescription of the level of evidence that the governing body or management committee should require, but governors and the management committee need to be confident about their responses.

If the answer is ‘No’ or ‘In Part’, the column should contain a brief summary of the position and proposed remedial action.

The front page of the document has an introduction and also a section entitled “Outcome of schools financial value standard (SFVS), “ where a box is provided to record a summary in a text format of agreed action and a timetable for reporting back.

A separate action plan should be created.  The relevant action plan template to complete is below.

SFVS Action Plan
Download (13KB - XLSX)

Each agreed action needs a specified deadline and an agreed owner. Governors or Finance Committees must then monitor the progress of these actions to ensure that all actions are cleared within specified deadlines so that all parts of the standard are met.

Discussion of the questions may be delegated to the finance or other relevant committee, but a detailed report should be provided to the full governing and the chair must sign the completed checklist and dashboard. The contents of the checklist and dashboard can then be considered on an annual basis thereafter, to ensure that the school is basing its responses on current practice and not out of date information.

All schools are required to complete the SFVS by 31st March.                                                                                                               

The electronic version of the completed template, action plan and SIC should be sent by email to ERPGen@doncaster.gov.uk

The authorisation page must carry an original signature of the Chair of Governors, hard copies of this signature page are not required, but it should be scanned and e-mailed with the completed return.

Monitoring of the SFVS Action Plan

Once the Governing Body has approved the SFVS Return and associated action plan, it is their responsibility to ensure that they receive regular updates on the implementation of the remedial actions contained in the action plan. We suggest that this is a standard item on the Governing Body agenda/Finance Committee agenda.

What is the role of Local Authorities?

LA’s will use school’s SFVS returns to inform their programme of financial assessments and audits.

The SFVS is not externally assessed, however a sample of assessments are reviewed each year to enable the Section 151 Officer to determine the level of reliance that can be placed on the self-assessment results overall. In addition, Internal Audit will have access to the assessment and when they conduct an audit will check whether the self-assessment is in line with their own conclusion.  Any major discrepancies between the self-assessment and the audit assessment will be communicated to schools, Governors and the necessary local authority representative.

Statement of Internal Control (SIC)

Local Authority maintained schools are still required to complete a Statement of Internal Control each year. This is a requirement of Schools Financial Regulations 2018.  A SIC template is attached below

SIC Template
Download (13KB - XLSX)

Deadlines

All Doncaster Council maintained schools are required to complete and submit their self-assessment checklist, dashboard, action plan and SIC to ERPGen@doncaster.gov.uk Services by 31st March each year.  

Last updated: 12 September 2019 13:24:32