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24 April 2020
By Schools Financial Services (SFS)

Schools Financial Services Newsletter - April 2020

3 Year Budget Plan submission deadline date

Alongside this year’s 3 Year Budget Plan submission you will be asked to submit a pro-forma detailing any potential budgetary issues caused by the effects of COVID-19 for this financial year.  The pro-forma will be available shortly along with guidance on it’s completion. 

The deadline for submission of your Three Year Budget Plan and the pro-forma is 31 May 2020. 

If you have any concerns with being able to meet this deadline, please email Schools Financial Services using the Statutory Returns email address:

schoolfinancereturns@theeducationpeople.org

Updated Funding Template

We can confirm that there is an updated Primary and Secondary School Funding Template now available on Kelsi. The change on this template is on the Year 2 and Year 3 tab in that there is additional information on the MPPFL to aid in completing the MFL adjustment. If you have already completed a Kelsi budget template, then you don’t need to transfer all the information from that into the new one, you can use the new one to inform what you will put in the one you already have.  

The Schools’ Budget Team have also released some additional information to aid in completing Year 2 and Year 3 of the budget plan. This document is called “Three Year Plan – advice to schools” and can be found at the bottom of the Local Funding Guidance section, Both of these documents can be found here.

Cyber Crime & Scam Alerts

Cybercrime is an increasing risk to all businesses, including the education sector, and is a paticularly vulnerable area in the current situation. The ESFA have published a guide on cybercrime and cyber security to help raise education providers' awareness. Further guidance on reducing fraud risks is also available.

We have also been informed that some parents have received an email stating the following: 'As schools will be closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported'.

The ESFA can confirm that this is a scam email and is not official. We urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately

Finance Policy and Corporate Card Limits

Over the last two weeks we have had several school requests for increasing corporate card transaction limits due to the requirement for additional FSM Vouchers.

Normally any change to the Finance Policy would have to be agreed at Governor Board level, but in the current climate that is not obviously practical. Therefore, it is acceptable to make a temporary adjustment to the corporate card limits in the Finance Policy in line with the agreed increase on an appendix to the Finance Policy signed by the Headteacher.

Whilst ensuring the controls and all transactions remain compliant with KCC’s Finance Controls and Scheme for Financing Schools.

Kent Music Funding

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic Kent Music had hoped to be able to continue funding schools as per the usual planned schedule, but in light of the nationwide closure of schools which took effect on the 20th April 2020 Kent Music have had to make the decision to not fund mainstream schools at KS1, KS3 or KS4 until September.

In September you will continue to receive the same monthly payments that you had last financial year unless your Schools Annual Survey is not returned to Kent Music in June.

Insurance Premiums

Emails were supplied to all schools insured under KCC arrangements in January and again in March concerning school insurance arrangements, and charges identified that a change in pricing structure would be introduced this year.

This has meant a significant saving in premium for many schools.” So when budget setting and you notice the amount is less than last year, this is what we would expect.

FMS Spring 2020 Upgrade

Due to the current situation EiS have taken the decision not to release the FMS Spring 2020 upgrade to all Schools or upgrade EiS Hosted Schools to this new release until further notice. 

As many schools are using VPN and Remote Apps connection to access FMS from home, EiS don’t want to release the files and upgrade EiS hosted servers as this may cause any disruption to your remote connections if you are working from home.

In This Issue
  • 3 Year Budget Plan submission deadline date
  • Updated Funding Template
  • Training Course Information for Budget Setting
  • BPS Budget Guidance
  • Academies Budget Forecast Return Outturn 2020
  • Corporate Card Updates
  • Cyber Crime & Scam Alerts
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) financial support for schools

And much more!

Training Course Information for Budget Setting

A series of webinars on Budget Setting for Schools have been organised by the SFS Training Team.  If you are a Maintained School, the Finance Contact at the school would have received an email inviting them to request a place on the webinar. If you did not receive the email please contact the Training Team using SFSTraining@theeducationpeople.org

BPS Budget Guidance

BPS Budget Guidance is now available for Kent schools on the BPS and the Budget Template guidance has been uploaded to the Help & User Guidance section on the BPS for schools and academies.

Accessing Corporate Card statements

If you unable to access corporate card statements that are sent by post to your school, you may want to ask your cardholders to register for Cards OnLine so that they can access their own statements online and forward them securely on to you. 

Each paper card statement has the following wording on the 2nd page: "Stay up to date by viewing your card statement on the day it’s produced - sign up at rbs.co.uk/cardsonline by clicking on the ‘Log in or register for Cards OnLine’ link".

An authentication code is usually sent to the cardholder by post to the schools address but, due to the current circumstances, if the cardholder phones RBS using the number on the back of their card they will be given the code over the phone once they have answered the relevant security questions. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) financial support for schools

On Tuesday 7 April 2020 the Department for Education announced financial support for schools to cover exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) for the period March to July 2020.

We will publish guidance in June with details of the claims process, also further information can be found on the Kelsi website under the Financial Controls.

Accounting for Exceptional costs on FMS

Records must be kept for all Exceptional Costs and these must be easily identified in the school accounts.  We advise that 2 new cost centres are created in FMS for this purpose should the school incur such costs.  One for expenditure called ‘COVIDEXP’ and one for the Government reimbursement called ‘COVIDINC’.  The COVIDEXP will need to be linked to the appropriate expenditure ledger code according to the nature of the expense following published CFR coding.  E.g. FSM voucher additional costs to be coded to COVIDEXP – E25-01.  The COVIDINC should be coded to I07.  If on receipt, the coding shown on the Advance differs from I07 please amend to match the same Ledger code shown. 

Procedure Note 78 Creating and Linking a new cost centres on FMS is available from SFS helpdesk. 

Remember that any new cost centres and links created in FMS must be replicated in BPS.

Academies Budget Forecast Return Outturn 2020

Please note that the BFRO will not be required this year and the next scheduled financial return for academy trusts will be the BFR3Y in June (see link below for confirmation of information): 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academies-budget-forecast-return

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