Academies: Indicators of potential fraud and cyber crime

Published by Phil Reynolds on 30 August 2019

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The ESFA have published an update to the Indicators for potential fraud: education providers section of their website.

This information is aimed at academies, colleges, private training providers and employer providers on receipt of ESFA funding to help them identify potential fraud. The guidance can be found here.

In this release, the ESFA have updated the guidance and the checklist for indicators of potential fraud, to help education providers protect themselves and fraud. The ESFA have also released guidance on cyber crime and cyber security with a guide for education providers.

The checklist for potential fraud indicators is of particular importance for Academy Trusts following Lord Agnew’s recent Dear Accounting Officer letters, regarding the need for a tightening of regular internal scrutiny and effective governance arrangements. We are all so aware of the Academy Trust scandals to hit the headlines about poor internal scrutiny and controls.

The completion of this checklist could provide a reference document for indicators and/or risk factors associated with potential fraud and could prove a useful tool in highlighting weaknesses in internal and motives for fraud in your Trusts.

It can also highlight where safeguards and controls could be needed and can highlight a potential risk that may not currently be included on your Trust’s risk register; which could be in an area other than finance! Any indicators can signpost you to important conversations and decisions for the key management to be held.

The cyber crime and cyber security update from the ESFA provides a definitive list of what Trusts should be doing as a minimum to address the risk of fraud online, which we would recommend that all your staff are made aware of and can be found here.

The guidance provides a helpful set of detailed questions which could be utilised to assess and gain assurance that cyber security good practice is in place within your Trust.

If upon reading this article you feel that you have some questions regarding your Trust’s internal controls and processes, then please do get in contact with one of the Kreston Reeves’ academy team who will be happy to help.

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