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School Finance

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the Financial Management Standards in Schools initiative will apply to smaller schools without bursars; and if he will make a statement. (103403)

We will be announcing a timetable for primary, middle and special schools to meet the Financial Management Standard in Schools (FMSiS) later this term. We are currently consulting with local authority finance and school improvement staff as part of the Supporting Schools Financial Management (SSFM) programme, to look at how best the FMSiS can be applied to primary schools, The general consensus however, is that the standard will apply, but that the evidence that is required from primary schools may need to be more flexible.

Section 2.2 of the Financial Management Standard provides for the member of staff with lead responsibility for the day-to-day financial management of the school to be involved in decisions made by the School Leadership Team (SLT), since every decision will have a financial consequence. This role could be fulfilled by a bursar, business manager, finance officer, deputy head, etc. Ideally, they should be a member of the SLT, but if not, they should certainly be involved in meetings or decisions of the SLT and evidence should be provided that this is the case.

For some smaller schools it may be more appropriate for financial support to be bought in from the local authority or a third-party on a part-time basis, perhaps as part of a shared bursar scheme. In these cases we seek assurance that the quality of information provided by this service meets the standard and that decisions taken by the SLT are on the basis of informed financial management information.