Academy Trustees face automatic disqualification under tighter rules

Published on 24 September 2018

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Academy trustees will now face automatic disqualification under tighter rules brought in from 1 August 2018. These include where trustees have been in contempt of court, are named under anti-terrorism laws or are on the sex offenders register.

These new rules will also effect relevant senior manager positions. Therefore the roles of Chief Executive (or equivalent) and Chief Finance Officer (or equivalent) will be affected.

The updated guidance released by the Charity Commission provides plenty of relevant points including:

  • The automatic disqualification rules
  • What your academy trust needs to do
  • What academy trusts need to know about waivers
  • What official registers can be checked

If you will be disqualified, you can apply to get your disqualification waived. Otherwise, from 1 August you must resign if you are a senior manager. Trustees will also have to stop acting in that role.

So what can your academy trust do? First of all re-visit your recruitment/appointment procedures. There should be a system in place which ensures persons are checked to see if they are disqualified or not prior to an appointment.
Secondly, review the procedures that were conducted for those currently in post and ensure they have not become disqualified since. Finally, employment contracts should be reviewed to ensure they are protected.

The updated guidance which has been released includes sample declarations for senior managers and trustees to state that they won’t be disqualified from acting in these positions after 1 August.

Any individuals who have applied for a waiver before 1 August won’t be disqualified until they receive a decision from Charity Commission or the tribunal if there is an appeal against the Commission’s decision.

Finally, a reminder that academy trustees can be disqualified under other legislation. Therefore you should ensure that systems are in place for regularly checking that trustees and staff are eligible to act. A typical example is carrying out the appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service checks relevant to working or volunteering with children.

Whilst hopefully this won’t be an issue for most academy trusts, it is a risk that should be taken into consideration and therefore appropriate action is necessary.

Make sure you download your complimentary copy of Kreston’s Academies Benchmark Report 2019 here:

This year the report includes over 350 Trusts representing nearly 1000 schools and is based on those Academies that prepared financial statements for the period ended 31 August 2018 and which were audited by member firms of Kreston UK.

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