FusionHR Blog

HR news, updates and tips to help manage your people.

MAT Challenges!

The latest version of the Academies Financial Handbook sets out the financial management, control and reporting requirements that apply to all academy trusts. It describes a financial framework for trusts that focuses on principles rather than detailed guidance and reflects their accountability to Parliament and to the public.

Compliance with the handbook is a condition of each trust’s funding agreement.

The 2018 edition of the handbook is effective from 1 September 2018. It strengthens expectations about the process for setting executive pay and explains new requirements for related party transactions. The main changes are listed on pages 6 and 7 of the handbook.

As well as the financial complexities of running a MAT there are other factors which bring challenges to even the strongest of leaders when establishing a Trust. We’ve summarised some of our experiences below in a bid to prepare you for what may come in your direction.

Autonomy brings Accountability – You are the employer and responsible for all aspects of finance, HR, premises, health and safety in each individual Academy. Your leadership teams need to have the right skills and capacity to embrace this opportunity whilst still delivering excellent student outcomes.

Collaboration and Networking - the most successful academies and Trusts collaborate with external partners/ professionals and other schools and Trusts. The variety of expert skills and knowledge required to meet the continuing regulation and demands in running an Academy is now bigger than ever. Be open to suggestions to work smarter or more effectively. Share your experience with those who have done it previously to identify your success barriers and grow in the right way.

Economies of Scale –Staff in different schools will have different methods, approaches and resources. You want staff to work together in a way that’s makes the whole organisation more efficient. Don’t presume all staff will be happy to just be part of a Trust, there may be resilience to change and sharing. Linking people and systems is a huge task requiring strong leadership and an effective change management strategy. What works for one may not work for all.

Identity – a strong identity under a Multi-Academy Trust is a great opportunity. Ensure that you spend time on the scheme of delegation to allow individual schools to retain their values and culture whilst still being accountable to the Trust. This can be a difficult balance so involve Governors, parents and stakeholders in discussions along the way.

FusionHR are offering a 10-part training session focused on working in a Multi-Academy Trust. Give one of the team a call on 01924 827869 to find out more or take a look at our upcoming events on the website. We also offer a flexible approach to HR support for MATS, so call us to discuss your needs.

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