Thursday, 2nd March 2017 at 6.30pm

Name / Governor Type / Present / Apologies / Absent
Al-Rasheed Amzart (RA) / Appointed / X
Karen Dugan (KD) / Staff / X
Michael George (MG) / Appointed – vice Chair / X
Georgina Harvey (GH) / Appoined / X
Sherelle Lauder (SL) / Appointed / X
Di Pumphrey (DP) / HofS / X
Sarah Rowe (SR)S / Appointed – Chair / X
Astrid Soiza (AS) / Appointed / X
Annabel Thomas (AT) / Appointed / X
Femi Yusoof (FY) / Parent / X
Keith Robinson / Appointed / X
In Attendance
Julie Newman / Clerk / X
Suresh Shan / Business Manager / X
Action 1 /
  • Apologies
    Governors received apologies of absence from Annabel Thomas due to a hold-up with travel, governors accepted her apology. Rasheed Amzart was absent and the clerk was asked to send him a copy of the amendment on commitment to attending meetings and remind him of the date of the next FGB.
  • Declaration of Interest – All Governors confirmed they did not have any business interests in any of the agenda items for this meeting.
  • Pecuniary Interests - All Governors attending the meeting agreed that there had been no changes to their circumstance that would affect the Register of Pecuniary Interests completed and signed at the Raising Achievement meeting on 20th October 2016.
The Clerk to send Al-Rasheed Amazart text on attendance at meetings.
The minutes of the meeting held on 6th February 2017 were agreed as a true and accurate record and signed by the Chair.
Matters arising:
  • Governors agreed any actions from Item 3 (from the meeting held on 10th November 2016) would be held over to the meeting on the 29th March 2017.
  • Action 1: To be completed at the 29th March 2017 meeting.
  • Action 2: Actions from the Audit Letter to be discussed in item 3.
  • Action 3: To be completed at the 29th March 2017.
  • Action 4: To be completed at FGB.
  • Action 5: Completed: AT attended the interviews.

Action 2
Action 3
Action 4 / SR invited Suresh Shan to update governors on the progress madesince the meeting on 6th February. SS said they had been concentrating on paying overdue invoices and chasing up unpaid invoices. They had been very busy working to identify the financial errors so the team could start to put them right. AT suggested they enlist temporary staff to cope with the work load and KR suggested we ask Strictly Education our HR provider to help with the HR work load. SS said they were well covered as he now had a very competent finance administrator helping him plus DP had released a member of the office team to help with the finance administration work load. The assistant business managers from other academies were helping to sort through HR processing errors. He said by the middle of next week he will know if there is a need for extra resources.
SS presented the Management Accounts and the Accounts Summary Report.
He advised the Teaching School was outstanding £43,730 from last year’s age debtors report 2015/16 and £85,700 outstanding from the age debtors report 2016/17 totalling monies owed to date £129,430.
KR asked who the Teaching School debtors were.SS said mainly LA schools who were priority because their year-end is 31st March and as some invoices are two or three financial years old we needed to ensure invoices were sent as soon as possible. Academies within the Trust were also outstanding payment of courses.
GH said she was concerned the reputation of the Teaching School may be affected due to the late issue of invoices as this does not look professional. She suggested we offer a good will gesture and SR said an apologetic email should also be sent to schoolseffected by the late invoicing. KD said any good will gestures should be looked at on an individual basis.
KR said he was concerned the invoice processing errors had continued for so longand questioned why it was not detected by the auditors. He said he would discuss this with the CEO as processes needed to be put in place in all academies to ensure this did not happened again.
DP and KD to consider offering a good will gesture to existing clients who have been impacted by late invoicing.
DP to draft an email apologising to clients affected by the late invoices.
SS said the budgeted incomefor the Teaching School was £43,800 but the funding from Roehampton was going to be lower than originally anticipated because we took on fewer students.The difference between forecast and budget is £26,900 therefore this budget needs to be reassessed. SS to update the budgeted income for the Teaching School to show actual income.
We are still reviewing the financial processesand all invoices in the Teaching School are being check and correctly processed. He said he will be in a position to give an update of the financial positonof the Teaching School at the next Operations meeting. KD said the Teaching School makes a profit. In previousOperations meetings she presented the income and expenditure figures for the Teaching School which showed the Teaching School was profitable.
Management Report
SS said the accounts were not up to date for a number of reasons; bank reconciliation from December needed to be completed and Synaptic Trust salaries need to be journaled. SS said to give a more accurate picture to date commitments totalling £87,900 had been cancelled. Duplicate purchase orders had been found on the system and these were being checked. He still needed to work on staffing expenditure and was currently using payroll trend data.
Maintenance building works budgetspend wasaround £500k broken down £315k for the boiler (paid by Condition Improvement Fund), £162k for year 3 studio, £23k for Staff room refurbishment, £1,300 for the gate; £1,300 for the doors (LA to pay this) and £2,000 for Canterbury Road removals (LA to pay this). SR asked if the Condition Improvement Fund showed as income and suggested this was put with ‘Capital funds’ so all the building project money was in the same place.
SS to move the Condition Improvement Fund to the Maintenance budget.
KR asked if the carry forward for the year was include in the accounts report. SS said the accounts as of today reported a carry forward for the financial year 2015/16 of £682,000 and an in-year underspend of £550,924. Governors commented this was a large carry forward. DP said the carry forward was already committed to projects outlined in the 5-year premises plan approximately totalling £500k. The cost of the building project work had already been approved by governors.
The maintenance premises budget – SS said the electricity budget was £9k for the whole year. SS said for a school this size the budget would normally be around £34k for the year. He would amend this budget. Governors showed concern that this error may have happened to the Gas budget and asked SS to check it. SS said he had reviewed the gas budget and it was about right. Governors asked what the audit process was as they thought someone should have noticed the electric budget was low for a school of our size. DP said she presents the budget to Helena Walbrook and Stuart Roberts and it is reviewed line by line. SS said normally utility budgets rolled over from previous year’s data, so it is curious why the electric budget was reduced toan annual budget of £9k.
SS gave explanations on the some of the cost centreswhich were currently over budget.
  • Academy CPD – software subscription for pupils SATs support that cost £7,960 and is an overspend Governors said this was a large cost that had not been budgeted. DP said this has been a worthwhile purchase and will help teachers with the SATs.
  • Curriculum SEN - Expenditure also included for explorer zone. Large purchases made for Dyslexia exercise books for thekite mark.
  • Curriculum Year 6 – Expenditure incorrectly added to budget for furniture and IT equipment.
  • Teaching School (income) – SS said he would report back on the income of the Teaching School at the next Operations meeting as they were still investigating the financial processes.
  • Out of Hours Clubs – SS said they were still investigating this cost centre and would aim to report back at the next Operations meeting.
  • Photocopying - the new machines have inflated this cost and invoices have been paid covering the period to June. SS said the photocopying budget or the usage of the photocopier needs to be revised.
  • Indirect staff costs – a Schools Direct salary has been added to this cost centre in error.
  • Swimming - overspend on transport and hire fees and this needs a budget review. DP said this is an expense but it is on the curriculum and governors have agreed swimming is an important skill to offer children. We do ask for a small financial contribution. Governors suggested more economical forms of transport and looking as more cost effective venues. DP said these have been looked at in the past but on transport coach hire although expensive itis the best form of transport.
  • Teaching School (expenditure) – SS said he would report back on the expenditure of the Teaching School at the next Operations meeting as they were still investigating the financial processes.
  • Governors noted the low expenditure on the mini bus cost centre and asked why it was so low. SS said it’s low because we still need to be invoiced. The lease finishes at the end of the month and we are starting to receive quotes.

At the Operations meeting on 29th March discuss how swimming should be run.
SB asked what the £9k for Staff Wellbeing covered. DP said this is a Trust wide initiative and at WTA it covers the cost of hot beverages for all staff, exercise classes and the cost of the Health Care benefit.
SS said audit covered the period 1st September to 16thJanuarywhereby he found 561 errors from 317 invoices. Errors included unsigned purchase orders, no deliver notes, incorrect invoice numbers used, incorrect purchase orders used against invoices and duplicated payments.
SS gave a summary of the other errors that had been found. There were £6,780 duplicated payments. £12,000 invoices wrongly charged. The dispute with PHS continues and they will not be paid until the dispute is reconciled.
FY asked if there were any penalties for the non-payment of outstanding invoices. SS said no and now invoices are paid within 5 working days. FY asked if Suresh had completed the PS financials training as there seemed to be a skills gap and it would be more efficient if Suresh could do all the PS Financials work. SS said now new how to do most procedures on PS financials but still need to be shown how to journal.
Staff expenses – the WTA credit card reached its maximum spend and therefore the SLT made payments using their own cards as a result £2,321 was refunded back to staff whichalso covered historic payments from 2015/16. Governors asked how the credit card reached the maximum spend. DP said a member of the office staff had used it to pay for theatre tickets and had not informed DP. Governors asked how this can be prevented in future. SS said now all staff are aware of the credit card processes and DP will need to approve the use of the credit card before it is used. The credit card has now been reconciled and DP has printed out all the relevant paper work printed out and filed.
An update on the audit
VAT numbers – they have all been checked and amended to meet the format required for VAT submission.
Number of school meal numbers have been resolved and meetings with the kitchen staff continue which has reduced errors.
KR asked when the finances will be completely up to date. SS said he would expect all errors to berectified by the end of March but this depends on whether more errors are identified during the next few weeks.
A number of leave of absence and sickness forms errors have been identified. If we need to move to capability these errors will make it difficult because there is no record of absences recorded on SIMS. Governors asked why this error happened. SS said human error and a lapse in following thecorrect procedure. In future the right processes and checks will be in place. The SLT now email absence daily. Individuals need to complete the absence or sickness form in order to be receive sick pay.
Errors to hourly contracts have been identified by SIMS with staff not being paid for their full hours this is a small amount of money the individuals have been informed and will be reimbursed.
Two new staff members have been overpaid from the start of their contract. They are new and the overpayment is only a small amount so we would not expect them to notice. We are giving them until end of August to pay this back. We have identified 27 contracts that have been under paid by around £100 each, this was due to imputing incorrect hours. SS said this should not happened as the payroll software flags up hours changed. DP and SS will be working together to ensure that these errors don’t occur in future. In the past the finance team had not spoken to the HofS about hours and contracts.
Governors expressed concerned the annual audit and termly audits had not identified some of these errors. SR said that audits tended to be drill down following a process, but not a check of all aspects. SS said he had uncovered so many errors because he was looking for them and had the time to investigate all the areas and the financial procedures were now transparent.
GH said she was concerned because if we had an Ofsted inspection our Outstanding grade could be jeopardised. SS said our safeguarding process now completely meets Safer Recruitment processes. Recently three candidates were interviewed and all the processes were followed.
Governors said they were fortunate to have someone in post with the skills, knowledge and the capacity to follow through and tidy up the financial and HR errors.
KR said Trust wise he would discuss this with the CEO and the Director of Business and Finance and would propose the termly audits were more rigorous as we needed to be sure this would not happen to any academy in the Trust.
Occupational Health – SS wanted governors to be aware there would be a number of Occupational Health referrals in March.
The chair on behalf of governors thanked Suresh and the finance team and all the other members of staff that have worked hard to help correct the finances and HR errors.
SR said the risk register which was mainly financial was now up to date. She asked if governors had any questions. There were no questions.
Governors formerly approved the Risk Register.
Governors gave SS the responsibility of monitoring and keeping the register up to date and suggested it is reviewed termly.
SS said there was a problem with the hot water supply to the dishwasher in the kitchen and they need to install an industrial combination boiler. He will get three quotes for the next meeting the expected cost is in the region of £5k to £6k.
Paper for meetings – Governors requested that papers be distributed 5 working days before the meeting. SS said going forward he will have paper ready to send to governors 5 days before the meeting.
There were no confidential issues discussed.
Spring Term
  • Thursday, 16th March 6.30pm - FGB
  • Wednesday, 29th March 6.30pm - Operations (if required)
  • Date to be agreed - Governors morning
Summer term
  • 14th June at 6.30pm - Operations followed by Raising Achievements Thursday 8th June
  • 22nd June 6.30pm - FGB
  • 13th July 6.30pm – Operations (if required)
The Chair thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 7.35

Signed ______Date ______