Academy trusts are educating increasing numbers of children and handling large amounts of public money. The cost to pupils and the taxpayer of failure are particularly high for multi-academy trusts. It is therefore crucial that they show the highest standards of governance, accountability and financial management. Too often academy trusts are falling short of these standards and the Department for Education (the Department) is too slow to react. The publication of the first Academy Sector Annual Report and Accounts is a welcome step forward in improving transparency and accountability in the sector. Yet the report was not published until nearly fourteen months after the end of academies’ financial year. The Department now needs to make the Annual Report and Accounts more timely so that it can be used more effectively by stakeholders, including Parliament and parents, to hold the Department and academy trusts to account.
30 March 2018