Academy trusts should be aware of their duty under their funding agreements to comply with Charity Commission guidance on the reporting of serious incidents to the ESFA.
On 3 June 2020, the Commission published supplementary guidance for trustees on what matters might need to be reported during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission's key messages which apply to academies are that:
Action to meet government rules (such as closing premises) is not in itself a significant incident. Trustees must consider whether the impact of such action merits a report.
The thresholds relating to financial losses that don’t involve a crime are suspended. Trustees should focus on the significance of the impact of loss, not the amount.
Trustees remain ultimately responsible for the decision to report or not report an incident. If that is delegated, it must be reported back to the trustees.
Where trustees have considered whether an incident is reportable and determined it is not, a record of this decision and the trustees' reasons for it should be made.
The supplementary guidance includes a useful supplementary examples table which we recommend all trustees and senior leaders review. Of particular note is that all of the following are to be reported to the ESFA:
outbreaks of coronavirus
the closure of school (other than in accordance with the government's expectations)
the loss of a substantial proportion of income.
For further coverage on this guidance, please see our previous articles: