VFM Statement - Oasis Community Learning

Value for Money Statement
Academy trust name: Oasis Community Learning
Academy trust company number: 05398529
Year ended 31 August 2013
I accept that, as Accounting Officer of Oasis Community Learning, I am responsible and
accountable for ensuring that the Academy Trust delivers good value in the use of public
resources. I am aware of the guide to academy value for money statements published by the
Education Funding Agency and understand that value for money refers to the educational and
wider societal outcomes achieved in return for the taxpayer resources received.
I set out below how I have ensured that the Academy Trust’s use of its resources has provided
good value for money during the academic year.
‘The Oasis Community Learning (OCL) Board and all employees seek to achieve the best
outcomes for young people’s lives and in doing so, it aims to secure the best value for the money
that it spends. A large proportion of purchases will be paid for with public funds and all academies
and national department budget holders are required to maintain the integrity of these funds by
following the general principles of:
 Probity: it must be demonstrable that there is no corruption or private gain involved in the
contractual relationships of OCL;
 Accountability: OCL is publicly accountable for its expenditure and the conduct of its affairs;
 Fairness: that all those dealt with by OCL are dealt with on a fair and equitable basis.
A key part of my governance of value for public money is achieved through the governance
model of OCL. Every academy, and thus is decisions on spend and procurement, is directly
accountable to the OCL board, through the line management of the Principal, by national staff.
The OCL Board act as stewards in upholding these principles and has delegated the authority to
manage these on a day to day basis to the national executive team and the sub-committees of
the board. These responsibilities are included in the OCL Annual Report and Financial
Statements at 31 August 2013.
OCL has adopted a recognised group procurement and financial process in line with the EFA
Academies Financial Handbook and these policies and procedures outline authority limits
for quotes, tenders and invoice approvals. OCL and the academies seek to be effective procurers
of goods and services and aim to satisfy each of the following five ‘rights’:
Procure the right Goods or Service.
Buy the right Quantity – often the more one buys of an item the better the price.
Purchase items of the right Quality
Purchase at the right Price – considering up-front cost of the item; and lifecycle costs
The right Location – ensure that the supplier knows where the goods are to be delivered.
Before sanctioning any procurement, all budget holders are expected to be satisfied that the
money to be spent should follow the rights and value for money principles outlined above.
OCL monitors the best use of its resources by benchmarking all cost categories on an
annual basis. This is achieved through the budget setting process which challenges
all academies to work within an understood set of KPIs, including pupil to teacher and
pupil to support ratios and a range of budget based financial indicators.
Management Information for all individual academy budgets is provided to the OCL finance subcommittee, including the National Director of Oasis Community Learning and the Regional
Academy Directors (RADs) who hold the Principals to account within all areas of academy
performance, including financial management and compliance.
Direct Teaching and Learning costs form up to 70% of total academy annual revenue cost
including teaching and educational support staff, learning and curriculum resources, educational
visits, exam fees and educational consultancy.
The National Director and the RADs continually assess the quality and efficiency of teaching and
learning within each academy, in line with the funding available. Review of staff structures are
common and these structures will be changed, as appropriate in order to achieve the best and
most effective outcomes for the young people under the care of OCL.
Premises running costs are the next significant proportion of total academy annual revenue costs,
including premises staff, maintenance, contributions to sinking funds and other contract related
costs. A number of buildings have been inherited in a poor state of repair from local authorities
within the OCL estate. Budgets include urgent requirements in this regards and sinking funds for
all of its academy buildings in a long term plan.
OCL appointed an external facilities management provider three years ago after a competitive
tender for the majority of its estate. A Head of Property and Estates (HoP&E) has recently been
appointed and the provisions of services in this area are currently undergoing a significant review
for performance and value for money principles.
The HoP&E works closely with our academies and the DfE to secure ACMF and other capital
bids, targeting the most urgent and prioritised needs in the estate. All academies are required to
seek approval for procurement of services from the HOP&E for major premises capital works.
Energy supplies have been reviewed across the organisation and Zenergi appointed as advisors
with our academies to obtain the best provide across a range of suppliers
Administration costs include local academy on-site finance staff, HR, office and other
administration staff, training and development, recruitment, insurance and other bought in
services costs. These areas are reviewed in line with available funding and benchmarked across
the OCL academies. Administration arrangements are reviewed for efficiency across the group in
line with the development of the regional hub strategy and this has already resulted in shared
appointments for positions across more than one academy.
OCL manages its ICT provision on a national basis, with a Head of ICT services (HoICT) and a
regional service delivery management structure. This takes significant advantage of the principles
of bulk purchasing and economies of scale across such a wide estate and this has established a
more cost effective service provision, compared to external ICT providers.
ICT costs include all managed services, software, hardware and licensing and contributions to
ICT refresh funds to all academies. All significant ICT capital and refresh project purchases at
academies must have the approval of the HoICT.
National Governance and Support costs form around 4.5% of the total academy annual revenue
cost base, including Governance Services , Educational Management and Support, Human
Resources, Financial Management, Property and Estates, Communication and Marketing,
Community Services, ICT and Executive leadership. This structure is an integral part of the OCL
Academies’ mission to improve the lives of our young people and best served through the
national office and a regional management presence.
Catering running costs include catering staff, consumables and other contract related costs. OCL
seeks to cover the cost of catering with charges to pupils and staff alongside the funding
available for free school meals.
An external provider was appointed the catering contractor for the majority of the estate after a
competitive tendering process. Again, the HoP&E is undertaking a review of the performance and
the quality of services and food provided, holding the contractors to account on value for money
Purchases in connection with the original construction and fit out of the new academy are tightly
controlled and monitored by DfE approved consultants for value for money as well as compliance
with procurement law
As OCL has grown from 14 academies to 40 academies within two years and it remains
committed to the best outcomes for young people and in doing so, seeks to ensure that value for
money principles are observed and complied with on a larger scale.
To assist with this, the Finance Committee have commissioned an independent review to be
carried out this year by the Responsible Officer, in partnership with a procurement advisory
organisation. This will review OCL’s scheme of delegation, its procurement and expenses policies
and identify any potential areas that may need to be considered for a larger Multi-Academy Trust.
Any recommended changes will be reported by the Director of Finance to the Finance
Committee, and thus to the CEO and OCL board, for consideration.
Signed: Joy Madeiros
Academy Trust Accounting Officer and Chief Executive
24 February 2014