Since the Government imposed the lockdown on 23rd March 2020, schools and academies have been at the forefront of managing the impact of this on the children of key-workers and vulnerable students. This situation is unprecedented and has presented many difficulties that need to be effectively managed.
The ESFA sees strong governance, financial management and decision-making as essential to help academies deal with the current challenging circumstances, but also advises not surprisingly that face-to-face review visits would not be appropriate at this time.
So how are academies managing and reviewing risk during this period of lockdown?
We continue to support clients during this period. When lockdown was announced it was clear that our normal approach to carrying out the audit work programme would not be possible. In discussions with our clients however, we agreed an approach of carrying out the essential work remotely. This meant using electronic communications more extensively and also developing effective ways to securely exchange information necessary for the audit. This ensured that the work could still be done safely, staying in line with current audit standards and satisfying the requirements of the Academies' Financial Handbook.
Feedback from clients has been positive. Clients are satisfied that the quality of the internal audit process has remained high, that the level of scrutiny has not been greatly compromised and that this has been completed with minimal disruption.