Monthly Archives: May 2013

Annal Nayyar – Reports on article that suggests Council leaders call for ring-fencing of budgets to be widened

 

Informative article from LGA states:

The Government should widen the ring-fencing of health and schools budget to include other frontline services, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Yesterday, the Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed local government would not be impacted by the announcement seven departments have agreed to cut their budgets by 10% in 2015.

However, the LGA is warning councils have already taken the biggest cuts to funding in the public sector and should be more directly involved in negotiating the settlement.

It is calling for the ring-fencing of school and health budgets to be relaxed to include other services that would reduce the pressure of these sectors.

Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the LGA, said: ‘Local government’s financial sustainability is on a knife edge in many areas and significant new cuts would pose a real threat to valued local services. The end result would be the further tightening of eligibility criteria for care and support and cuts to services such as road maintenance, leisure facilities and economic regeneration projects. It is inevitable that it would lead to a significant reduction in, and in some cases even loss of, important local services.

‘The Government must examine how the health and schools budgets could be most effectively used. It should widen the ringfence to incorporate the local services which help the elderly stay independent longer and ensure children are ready for school. This will ultimately save money by reducing pressure on our hospitals, police and prisons.

Annal Nayyar- Memorandum of Understanding relates exempt charities – including Academy Trusts

The Charity Commission (the ‘Commission’) and the Department for Education (the ‘DfE’) have established a Memorandum of Understanding. Its purpose is to set out how they propose to work together in the regulation of the exempt charities for which the Secretary of State is the Principal Regulator.

The Memorandum of Understanding relates exempt charities – including    Academy Trusts.

Annal Nayyar provides a 5 year planning tool to meet your schools financial planning objective

Medium Term Financial Planning. We will help place you on a stable financial footing by support in the production of a 5 year budget plan.  This will take account of all factors that influence the financial position of you school.

Annal Nayyar provides training to stakeholders- and what do teachers think of the service provided ?

Training. We can provide training for all aspects of financial management in schools. We recognise the evolving training needs of schools and can provide proactive training solutions for you.

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Annal Nayyar blogs- reminder for Academies to submit Budget Forecast return

Annal Nayyar blogs- reminder for Academies to submit Budget Forecast return

Deadline for academies open by 31 March 2013 to supply their budget forecast for the 2013/14 academic year. For academies opening from 1 April 2013, the deadline is six weeks after issue of their final funding letter-31st July 2013

Annal Nayyar blogs- reminder for Academies to submit March accounts return

Annal Nayyar blogs- reminder for Academies to submit March accounts return

Deadline for academy trusts to submit their March accounts return if they were not required to submit an August accounts return. -30TH June 2013

Annal Nayyar – article on news on school collaboration

Schools could share their pupil premiums and work together to close the achievement gap, the Royal Society of Arts has suggested.

No school an island, published today, looked specifically at how Suffolk’s poor education record could be transformed, but the RSA said its findings could be adopted by other areas in England. Suffolk has poor aggregate levels of pupil progress and wide gaps in educational achievement between disadvantaged groups and other pupils, leading to poor participation in further education and training.

The report called on head teachers and other local leaders not to focus exclusively on a single school’s performance, but to look outward across the wider area. It recommended several ways in which schools either in one locality or in different parts of the country could work together to improve results.

As well as sharing pupil premium funds, schools with similar pupil profiles could establish ‘families’ of schools. Small schools in isolated, rural areas should form federations to establish new relationships, maximise resources and save money.

Annal Nayyar- blogs – the new free schools list 2014

Education Secretary Michael Gove today approved 102 new free school applications to open in 2014 and beyond, delivering around 50,000 new school places.

There are already 81 open free schools, with a further 109 aiming to open in September and beyond. In total, all currently approved free schools would deliver 130,000 new school places when full.

Free schools are state-funded schools independent of local authority control. They are run by teachers – not local or central government bureaucrats. They have the freedom to decide the length of the school day and term, the curriculum, and how they reward their teachers and spend their money.

Many of the free schools approved today will be based in areas of deprivation, or where there is a shortage of school places, like the schools open or approved before them:

  • 72% of all free school approvals and 91% of primary approvals will go towards meeting basic need. Ninety per cent of mainstream schools (excluding 14 to 19 schools) are in areas of basic need or deprivation
  • More than half (64%) of the mainstream schools are expected to be located in the 50% most deprived communities in the country. 44% of the mainstream schools announced today are expected to be located in the 30% most deprived communities in the country

Annal Nayyar- Article LGPS regulations published today ?

Local government minister Brandon Lewis has set out plans to undertake a ‘root-and-branch review’ of the Local Government Pension Scheme’s investment regulations. The possibility of merging schemes is also to be examined.

The review will examine the rules, which set caps on the amount funds can invest in certain assets. In March, Lewis confirmed that the limit covering infrastructure projects would be doubled to 30% of total assets.

Speaking to the National Association of Pension Funds local authority conference yesterday, he said that the government now accepted further reforms might be needed to get better returns from the £150bn invested in the 89 local government schemes.

‘I therefore want to undertake a root-and-branch review of the LGPS investment regulations. In particular, I want to know if there are any other obstacles in the regulations that prevent you from maximising your returns.’

However, Lewis said that he was not suggesting that investment regulations be removed altogether, as taxpayers’ money was being invested through the scheme. ‘We must continue to get the right balance between risk and reward,’ he added.

The move comes as a new local government pension regulatory plan is being developed to take account of the reforms that the government has made to public sector schemes. This will come into effect in April 2014.

Lewis also confirmed the Department for Communities and Local Government would issue a call for evidence into whether there should be mergers among the existing local government pension schemes.

This would lead to a consultation later this year on a number of broad principles for change, he added, which will look at reforms that could both improve investment performance and reduce fund management costs.

Ministers would not set a ‘pre-determined solution to what is undoubtedly a complex and contentious issue’, Lewis added. ‘However, the clear message from me this morning is that I am not wedded to the existing number of 89 funds in England and Wales. If it takes a smaller number of funds to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the scheme, I shall not shy away from pursuing that goal.’

Responding to the announcement, CIPFA pensions panel chair Bob Summers said funds must explore ‘every opportunity in the search for achieving the best value for money in delivering the LGPS’.

He added: ‘Fund mergers are just one end of a spectrum of measures which includes removing regulatory barriers to better fund management, developing shared services, collaborative procurement, framework agreements and the emerging collective investment initiatives, all of which can drive improvements through reduced administrative costs and increased investment returns.’

There must be a ‘sensible balance struck between the need to deliver the pensions service and the competing demands upon ever dwindling local authority resources’, he added.

‘CIPFA looks forward to working with DCLG to define the objectives required and contributing to the forthcoming call for evidence.’

NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars said council funds had ‘never been under more pressure’ as the reformed pension scheme rules were being prepared.

She added: ‘Local authority funds will have to place an even greater focus on finding efficiencies and maximising value for money. This is already happening and we have seen some good examples of collaboration, but we should ask if more can be done.

‘The minister is right to open a wider debate on what funds can be doing, and to do so with an open mind and a clear call for evidence.’

Annal Nayyar- Article suggests The schools spending ringfence should be removed, to ease up the pressure on other departments

The schools spending ringfence should be removed, to ease up the pressure on other departments. And there’s evidence that educational standards need not suffer

In five weeks’ time the government will announce its spending plans for the remainder of this Parliament. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that, due to the current squeeze, average departmental spending will fall by around 18 per cent between 2010-11 and 2017-18in real terms. However, spending on schools has so far been protected from any such reductions. That can and should end now. Over the past decade spending per pupil has risen by 86 per cent in real terms and has been protected in the current Parliament. For comparison, services such as policing and justice have seen budgets fall by 25 per cent in real terms in the 2010 Parliament alone. They expect further cuts in the 2015 Parliament. Worryingly, that increase in school spending has occurred as pupil numbers have fallen by 5 per cent. The future is less rosy with the number of English primary and
secondary school children projected to rise from 7 million to 8 million between 2012 and 2020.

Taken together, those trends spell problems for the UK’s schools. From a golden period of increasing funding and decreasing pupil numbers in the 2000s they will need to adapt to a situation of rising demand and falling funding. The ring fence has given the education system a brief reprieve and time for consolidation; however, it is clearly unsustainable when some other departments have already suffered budget cuts of 25 per cent. The question now is how schools adapt