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At Schudio we regularly get questions from happy users of our School Website Requirements Guide asking if we have any guidance more specifically for multi academy trusts. The aim of this multi academy trust website compliance overview is to provide a useful resource for trusts to use. What are the statutory requirements for your trust website? What about statutory requirements for websites more generally?
The trust website must include the accounts information. The academy website requirements also list the annual accounts information as required content for the website. For full details on what should be included within the accounts information, and when and where it should be published see our Annual Accounts Information on Your Website blog post.
A new requirement for 2020 that is included in the Academies Financial Handbook 2020, is for all Trusts to publish information detailing staff earning over £100,000. Here's the info:
"The trust must publish on its website in a separate readily accessible form the number of employees whose benefits exceeded £100k, in £10k bandings, as an extract from the disclosure in its financial statements for the previous year ended 31 August. Benefits for this purpose include salary, other taxable benefits and termination payments, but not the trust’s own pension costs. In the case of employees who are trustees, their salary and other benefits will also be disclosed in £5k bandings in the trust’s financial statements, as set out in the model trustees’ remuneration note in the Academies Accounts Direction."
There are requirements specific for schools to publish on each of their websites. However, academy trusts must also publish details as outlined in the academies financial handbook (AFH). The specific requirements around what information should be published is listed below.
The trust must provide details of its governance arrangements in the governance statement published with its annual accounts, including what the board has delegated to its committees and, in MATs, to local governing bodies. The trust must also publish on its website up-to-date details of its governance arrangements in a readily accessible format, including:
The governance handbook adds to these requirements. It advises that, when publishing information about leaders of the trust, family relationships with material interests should also be disclosed:
It must also include any material interests arising from close family relationships between those involved in governance or between them and senior employees because such interests may increase the risk of:
As a rule, this information must be provided, with no exceptions. The DfE recommend that boards make it clear in their code of conduct that this information will be published on the website (and via the 'Get information about schools' service), and that each member of the trust leadership must provide it.
The governance handbook also requires that the board publish the overall governance arrangements they have put in place, in a 'readily accessible' form. The handbook defines 'readily accessible' as information on a webpage without the need to download or open a separate document.
Fortunately this information is likely to already be provided within the previous requirement from the academies financial handbook. However the highlight to follow here is the 'readily accessible' aspect of compliance.
For more details on writing and effective scheme of delegation for a multi-academy trust see section 5.6 of the governance handbook.
Academy trusts are usually the admission authorities for the schools within their trust. As such they must adhere to the requirements for admission authorities. There are more specific requirements for the content of the admissions arrangements, and what they must adhere to in section 6.9 of the governance handbook and the school admissions code. However, in this article we are focusing on just the website aspect of admissions compliance.
The Schudio Solution
One of the requirements for school websites is to publish the admissions information. And for almost every school website there is not a single best page to publish admissions information. But publishing the same documents in multiple places often leads to problems with the wrong document versions, or a mixture of versions being publicly available. Or at the very least additional administrative work.
The Schudio document management feature - available for all websites as part of our compliance studio software solves this problem with ease. Documents are centrally managed by the system can be displayed in multiple locations. With the trust package documents can even be displayed on multiple sites.
Compliance with data protection and the GDPR is another aspect of multi academy trust website compliance. Compliant processing of personal data is what actually achieves compliance. However demonstration of your compliance via policies, procedures and other documentation is a required step.
There are some specific requirements that companies should publish on business letters, order forms and websites. These are published as part of 'The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008'. Consequently, these requirements are for every company!
The website (and business letters, and order forms) must include the following details:
But importantly this information doesn’t need to be on every page - but it does need to be somewhere on your website to meet these requirements.
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