Norfolk S Scheme for Financing Schools

Norfolk S Scheme for Financing Schools



Director of Children’s Services

County Hall

Martineau Lane






1.1 The funding framework

1.2 The role of the scheme

1.2.1 Application of the scheme to the Authority and maintained schools

1.3Publication of the scheme

1.4 Revision of the scheme

1.5Delegation of powers to the Headteacher

1.6Maintenance of Schools


2.1.1 Application of financial controls to schools

2.1.2 Provision of financial information and reports

2.1.3 Payment of salaries; payment of bills

2.1.4 Control of assets

2.1.5 Accounting policies (including year-end procedures)

2.1.6 Writing off of debts

2.2 Basis of accounting

2.3 Submission of budget plans and financial forecasts

2.4 Efficiency and Value for Money

2.5 Virement

2.6Audit: General

2.7 Separate external audits

2.8 Audit of voluntary and private funds

2.9 Register of business interests

2.10 Purchasing, tendering and contracting requirements

2.11 Application of contracts to schools

2.12Central funds and earmarking

2.13Spending for the purposes of the school

2.14Capital spending from budget shares

2.15 Notice of concern

2.16 Schools Financial Values Standard (SFVS)

2.17 Fraud

2.18School Companies


3.1 Frequency of instalments

3.2 Proportion of budget share payable at each instalment

3.3Interest clawback

3.3.1Interest on late budget share payments

3.4 Budget shares for closing schools

3.5 Bank and building society accounts

3.5.1Restrictions on accounts

3.6 Borrowing by schools

3.7 Other provisions

3.7.1Keeping Your Balance

3.7.2Accounting for Private/Voluntary Funds

3.7.3 Payment for delegated services bought back and or other financial transactions carried out by the Authority


4.1 Right to carry forward surplus balances

4.2 Restrictions on carrying forward surplus balances

4.3 Interest on surplus balances

4.4 Obligation to carry forward deficit balances

4.5Planning for deficit balances

4.5.1Reporting on deficit balances

4.6 Charging of interest on deficit balances

4.7 Writing off deficits

4.8 Balances of closing and amalgamating schools

4.9Licensed deficits

4.10Loan schemes

Section 5. INCOME

5.1 Income from lettings

5.1.1Income from legal leases and other arrangements

5.2 Income from fees and charges

5.3 Income from fund raising activities

5.4 Income from the sale of assets

5.5 Administrative procedures for the collection of income

5.6 Purposes for which income may be used


6.1 General provision

6.1.1 Charging of salaries at actual cost

6.2 Circumstances in which charges may be made

Section 7. TAXATION

7.1 VAT (Value Added Tax)

7.2 CITS (Construction Industry Taxation Scheme)


8.1 Provision of services from centrally retained budgets

8.2 Provision of services bought back from the Authority using delegated budgets

8.2.1Submission of Contract to Purchase Form


8.3 Service level agreements

8.4 Teachers Pensions


Section 10. INSURANCE

10.1 Insurance cover


11.1 Right of access to information

11.2 Liability of governors

11.3 Governors expenses

11.4 Responsibility for legal costs

11.5 Health and Safety

11.6 Right of attendance for Chief Finance Officer

11.7 Special Educational Needs

11.8 Interest on late payments

11.9 ‘Whistleblowing’

11.10 Child Protection

11.11 Redundancy/ early retirement costs


12.1School responsibilities for repairs and maintenance

12.2De minimis limit


13.1 School responsibilities for school meals

13.2Assessing eligibility for free school meals


14.1 Local Authority responsibility for supply cost

14.2 School responsibilities for supply costs


ANNEX A:Schools to which the scheme applies

ANNEX B:School Premises Responsibility

ANNEX C:Best Value

ANNEX D:Contract standing orders

ANNEX E:The Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure

ANNEX F:Supply of Information for the Purposes of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme

ANNEX G:Application of Scheme to Community Facilities Power

ANNEX H:Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy

ANNEX J: Financial Regulations

ANNEX K: Responsibility for Redundancy and Early Retirement Costs



1.1 The Funding Framework

Since 1995 Norfolk has delegated funding to all its primary, secondary and special schools in accordance with its Local Management of Schools (LMS) scheme as approved by the Secretary of State. Under the terms of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, local authorities were required to draw up a new scheme for financing schools to replace the existing LMS scheme, and to base their funding framework on the legislative provisions in s.45-53 of that Act. From April 2004 nursery schools also received delegated budget shares. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the provisions of this scheme apply to any nursery school maintained by the Authority.

Under this legislation local authorities determine for themselves, in consultation with schools and the Schools Forum, the size of their schools budget and their non-schools education budget. As a minimum an authority must appropriate its entire Dedicated Schools Grant to their schools budget but may add an amount to this grant if they wish. The categories of expenditure which fall within the two budgets are prescribed under regulations made by the Secretary of State, but included within the two, taken together is all expenditure, direct and indirect, on an authority's maintained schools, except for capital and certain miscellaneous items. The local authority may deduct funds from their schools budget for certain purposes that are defined in regulations made by the Secretary of State under s.45a of the Act (the centrally retained expenditure). The amount to be deducted for these purposes are decided by the authority, subject to any limits or conditions (including gaining the approval of their Schools Forum or the Secretary of State in certain instances)

The balance of the schools budget left after deduction of the centrally retained expenditure is termed the Individual schools Budget (ISB).

Expenditure items in the non-schools education budget must be retained centrally (although earmarked allocations may be made to schools)

Local authorities may retain an unallocated reserve within the ISB but must distribute amounts from their ISB amongst their maintained schools using a formula that accords with regulations made by the Secretary of State and enables the calculation of a budget share for each maintained school. This budget share is then delegated to the governing body of the school concerned, unless the school is a new school which has not yet received a delegated budget, or the right to a delegated budget has been suspended in accordance with s.51 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSAF).

Section 48 of the SSAF requires the financial controls within which delegation works to be set out in a scheme made by the local authority and approved by the Schools Forum. All revisions to the scheme must also be approved by the Schools Forum, The authority may apply to the Secretary of State for approval in the event of the forum rejecting a proposal or approving it subject to modifications that are not acceptable to the authority this document forms the required scheme for Norfolk.

Subject to provisions of this scheme, governing bodies of schools may spend budget shares for the purposes of their school. They may also spend budget shares on any additional purposes prescribed by the Secretary of State in regulations made under s.50 of the SSAF. Section 50 has been amended to provide that amounts spent by a governing body on providing community facilities or services under s.27 of the Education Act 2002 are treated as if they were amounts spent for the purposes of the school subject to there being no detriment to educational standards

A local authority may suspend a school's right to a delegated budget if the provisions of the school financing scheme (or rules applied by the scheme) have been substantially or persistently breached, or if the budget share has not been managed satisfactorily. There is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State. A local authority may also suspend a school’s delegated budget for other reasons as set out in s.17 of the SSAF but in that case there is no right of appeal.

The local authority is obliged to publish each year statements setting out details of its planned Schools Budget and LA Budget, showing the amounts to be centrally retained, the budget share for each school, the formula used to calculate those budget shares, and the detailed calculation for each school.

After each financial year the authority must publish a statement showing out-turn expenditure at both central level and for each school, and the balances held in respect of each school which must be certified by the county’s Section 151 officer. Information in budget and out-turn statements may be collated and published by the Secretary of State.

The detailed publication requirements for financial statements and for schemes are set out in regulations made under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, but each school must receive a copy of the scheme and any amendment, and each year's budget and out-turn statements so far as they relate to that school or central expenditure. These will be made available to schools via the authority’s website.

A budget statement must be published by the beginning of the financial year to which it relates.

1.2 The role of the scheme

This scheme sets out the financial relationship between the Authority and the maintained schools that it funds. It contains requirements relating to financial management and associated issues, which are binding on both the Authority and on the schools.

1.2.1 Application of the scheme to the Authority and maintained schools

This scheme applies to all existing community, voluntary, foundation (including trust) nursery, special and Short Stay schools in the area of the local authority (as listed in Annex A). The scheme will also apply to any maintained schools which open in the future.

It does not apply to Academies.

1.3 Publication of the scheme

Schools will be notified of any changes to the scheme, and a full copy will be placed on the Department’s website. Any revisions will be published by the date the revised scheme comes into force, together with a statement that the revised scheme comes into effect on this date

1.4 Revision of the scheme

Any proposed revisions to the scheme will be the subject of consultation with the Governing Body and Headteacher of every school maintained by the authority before they are submitted to the Schools Forum for their approval.

1.5 Delegation of financial powers to the Headteacher

Each Governing Body is asked to consider the extent to which it wishes to delegate its financial powers to the Headteacher, and to record its decision (and any revisions) in the minutes of the Governing Body.

The local authority has no wish to impose uniformity on schools but considers that the following level of financial delegation to Headteachers is desirable:

  • The Headteacher should present the first formal budget plan of each financial year to the full Governing Body for approval prior to submission to the Authority.
  • Each Headteacher should be accountable for the management of staff and the security, custody and control of all other department resources, including land, buildings, plant, materials, cash and stores.
  • To ensure effective management of the budget resources Governing Bodies are advised to delegate responsibility for day-to-day financial management to the Headteacher.
  • The Governing Body should ensure that the Headteacher reports progress on a regular basis to the full Governing Body or a finance committee of that body.

1.6 Maintenance of Schools

The Authority is responsible for maintaining the schools covered by the scheme, and this includes the duty of defraying all the expenses of maintaining them (except in the case of a voluntary aided school where some of the expenses are, by statute, payable by the governing body). Part of the way an authority maintains schools is through the funding system put in place under sections 45 to 53 of the SSAF.


2.1.1 Application of financial controls to schools

In managing their delegated budgets, schools must abide by the Authority's requirements on financial controls and monitoring. Contract Standing Orders as referred to in Paragraph 2.10 below are reproduced at Annex D.

2.1.2 Provision of financial information and reports

Schools are required to provide the authority with financial information in line with the requirements of the Consistent Financial Reporting framework.

School Bank Account type A

If a school has all its budget share and earmarked sums paid into its bank account, the following returns will be required:-

Required each month

A bank reconciliation statement certified by the Headteacher or Responsible officer (electronic return for Star Account users)

A copy of the bank statement used to complete the bank reconciliation if not banking with the Co-op

A VAT reimbursement Claim certified by the Headteacher or Responsible officer (if not using Star Accounts)

Required each quarter

A summary of actual receipts and payments analysed at subjective code level for its budget share. A summary of actual receipts and payments for other grant allocations (if not using Star Accounts)

Cash flow forecasts.

School Bank Account type C

If a school uses an imprest style bank account to facilitate local payments and receipts, the following returns will be required:

Required each month

A bank reconciliation statement certified by the Headteacher or Responsible officer (electronic return for Star account users).

A copy of the bank statement used to complete the bank reconciliation if not using the Co-op bank.

A summary of actual receipts and payments analysed at subjective code level for its budget share, a summary of actual receipts and payments for other grant allocations and an analysis of VAT. This information will be used to generate the monthly imprest reimbursement. This is part of the monthly electronic paperwork created by Star Accounts.

Each month the Authority will provide schools who operate bank account type C with a list of transactions processed by the Authority and, where applicable, a Budget Control Report(s).


Schools, which the Authority has notified that more regular information is required because of assessed financial concern, will be required to submit all returns, appropriate to the bank account type, on a monthly basis.

2.1.3 Payment of salaries; payment of bills

The procedures for these will vary according to the choices schools make about the holding of bank accounts and the buying back of the Authority’s payroll system.

If a school operates a Bank Account type A, payroll services can be carried out by the school or using an external provider. If the school is granted an “Inland Revenue collection reference no.” all statutory returns are completed and or signed by the school and any penalties levied by the Inland Revenue will be a charge against the school’s budget share. Note that the Authority remains the employer for staff in all schools for the purposes of paying over contributions for teachers’ pensions to the Teachers’ Pensions Agency and additional voluntary contributions (AVC) to the nominated insurance company. A Procedure Note explains how those schools managing their own payroll should pass pension contributions to the Authority.

If a school operates Bank Account type C, payroll services will be carried out by Norfolk County Council. The payment of all salaries, wages, pensions, compensation, travelling expenses and other emoluments to employees or former employees of the County Council shall then be made by the Chief Finance Officer or under arrangements approved and controlled by him. Each Headteacher shall notify the Chief Finance Officer as soon as possible, in the prescribed form, of all matters affecting payment of emoluments.

Payment of bills is carried out by the school using its Bank Account type A, or C. The Headteacher shall be responsible for all payments and prior to authorising a bill for payment the Headteacher shall carry out such examination and verification of the accounts as the Governing Body shall determine.

Schools are able to make small payments by cash and are encouraged to make other payments by direct debit.

Schools must ensure that payments are made in accordance with the terms specified by the supplier; interest on late payments will be a charge to the school’s budget share.

2.1.4 Control of assets

Each school must maintain an inventory of its moveable non-capital assets, in a form determined by the authority, and setting out the basic authorisation procedures for disposal of assets. However, schools may determine their own arrangements for keeping a register of assets worth less than £1,000.

Each Headteacher is responsible for maintaining security at all times for all buildings, stocks, stores, furniture, vehicles, equipment, cash, etc. under his control. He shall inform the Chief Finance Officer in any case where security is thought to be defective.

Keys to safes and similar receptacles shall be carried on the person of those responsible at all times; the loss of any such keys must be reported to the Chief Finance Officer forthwith.

The Authority has issued a Procedure Note which details how schools may maintain an inventory and the control and security of assets.

2.1.5 Accounting Policies (including year-end procedures)

Schools must abide by the accounting procedures and policies issued by the Authority.

  • Year-end procedures for closing the accounts are issued by the Authority to all schools during March each year; the timetable for closure is as determined by the Chief Finance Officer.
  • The financial information system of the County Council shall be the statutory accounts for each school and will be used to assess financial performance.
  • All official accounting procedures and the form and content of official financial records shall be as agreed by the Chief Finance Officer in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
  • Headteachers shall ensure that accounting procedures and financial records are maintained accurately and kept up to date.
  • The following principles shall be observed in the allocation of accounting duties:-

a)The duties of authorising payments out and issuing demands for payments to the County Council shall be separated as completely as practicable from the duties of making the payments out and collecting the payments in.