The ESFA are launching a new resource for FE and sixth-form college corporations that want to adopt good practice in certain areas of their financial management. The college corporation financial management good practice page is now available on GOV.UK.The good practice guides will be developed in consultation with sector representatives and other expert specialists. The concept mirrors that which ESFA has developed with the academies sector and which has been well received.
The factsheets themselves do not introduce any new requirements, but rather build on aspects of the existing framework for financial management and governance and provide suggestions and models for how they may be best fulfilled. It is for college corporations themselves to decide how much of the practice set out in each of the guides is adopted.
The first of the good practice guides sets out how college corporations might best adopt, on a voluntary basis, the reporting requirements for Streamlined Environmental and Carbon Reporting (SECR) set out in The Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018. Whilst corporations are outside of the scope of the 2018 Regulations, the college accounts direction encourages them to make equivalent disclosures on their website. This guidance aims to support corporations by providing an overview of the 2018 Regulations.
The ESFA encourages all corporations to report for the first time in relation to the 2019 to 2020 reporting period by publishing the information set out below on the corporation’s website before 31 March 2021. In future years, the prior year equivalent figures should also be reported for comparison, but this does not apply in the first year. The Guidelines acknowledge that in some circumstances, an element of the required energy and carbon information may not be practical to calculate. Where this is the case, this fact should be reported, and the corporation should explain what is omitted and what steps it is taking to acquire this information in future.
Other guides are currently under development and will be launched in due course.