The Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) is a self-assessment that should be undertaken by schools to ensure the effective financial management of their resources. It is a statutory requirement that all maintained schools complete and submit the SFVS to the local authority (LA) on an annual basis. The SFVS is not externally assessed but may be subject to an interval review or audit. Any major discrepancies between the self-assessment and the audit assessment will be communicated to schools, Governors and the necessary local authority representative. A good School Asset Management system can help schools address many key requirements of the SFVS.
Does the school have a realistic, sustainable and flexible financial strategy in place for at least 3 years, based on realistic assumptions about future funding, pupil numbers and pressures?
Section B : Strategy , Question 6
Schools are advised to make forward plans on the basis of the best available information, using a set of criteria including the procurement and maintenance of, for example, fabric and fittings, information and communications technology (ICT) equipment and whiteboards.
How do you begin to plan and forecast the budget if you haven’t got good information on your assets. An asset management system can give you detailed information on your school assets including value, maintenance history and depreciation.
Does the school have an appropriate business continuity or disaster recovery plan, including an up-to-date asset register and adequate insurance?
Section B : Strategy , Question 8
All schools are required to ensure they have an appropriate plan, which includes an asset register of items in the school that need to be recorded for insurance purposes, to be kept where it would not be vulnerable to a disaster in the school. The plan must be kept up-to-date. Any element of it that has become out of date is likely to be of no use in an emergency.
In the event of major incident such as fire or flood, an asset management system will give schools an accurate, detailed asset list with the right insurance cover and supporting paperwork - all the information you need to quickly make a claim and access the funds you need to get back up and running. With a cloud-based solution, accessed by any web browser, this is all safely hosted offsite.
Is the governing body given the opportunity to challenge the school’s plans for replacing contracts for goods and services that are due to expire shortly?
Section E : Value for Money , Question 21
This question is all about managing contracts so that schools can get the most out of procurement tender exercises. It is good practice for a school to maintain a contract register, which should include:
Asset details will be held in a flexible database which can include data fields, notes and alerts around contractual milestones. You can also attach relevant supporting documentation such as service level agreements and purchase contracts.
Does the School consider collaboration with others, for example, on sharing staff or joint purchasing, where that would improve value for money?
Section : Value for Money , Question 22
Collaboration is the process of working together with other schools or other local organisations to achieve better value overall than is possible by working separately. This can mean collaborating to buy goods, works or services or sharing costly resources such as specialist science or maintenance equipment.
An asset management system can help on both these counts, as you will have an accurate view of your asset portfolio, your purchase history, cost of ownership and a robust forecast of future requirements. As part of your supporting asset information, you can assign detailed notes or documentation covering a joint purchase or shared maintenance contract. If several schools have agreed a ‘rota’ to use, for example, specialist science or maintenance equipment, an asset database can track and schedule the shared resource.
Does the school maintain its premises and other assets to an adequate standard and make best use of capital monies for this purpose?
Section : Value for Money , Question 24
This will depend on the life-cycle and maintenance requirements of the materials used to construct the premises, for example, the roof coverings, the floor finishings, and the mechanical and electrical plant. It is important to know your buildings and to have an asset management plan, which reflects the performance and maintenance requirements of the elements referring to suppliers and manufacturers’ guidance. Schools should develop a process that enables them to prioritise work appropriately.
As previously discussed, an asset management system has the flexibility to hold detailed information on assets - their lifecycle, any safety certifications, maintenance schedules/ history and service contracts as well as important contractual milestones. These features can help a school plan and monitor its facilities and estate. The software also has an asset depreciation function that can feed into budgeting.
Are there adequate arrangements in place to guard against fraud and theft by staff, contractors and suppliers?
Section E : Value for Money , Question 27
Schools need a robust system of controls to safeguard themselves against fraudulent or improper use of public money and assets. Arrangements should both prevent malpractice, and enable prompt detection should it nonetheless occur. One suggestion is the practice of spot checks on systems and transactions – this will help identify new risks and measure the effectiveness of existing controls.
With an asset management system, you have your up-to-date inventory to hand to quickly identify the location, owner and physical location of all school assets. A label tagging system also signals to staff and students that asset locations are being pro-actively tracked.
Does the school have an accounting system that is adequate and properly run and delivers accurate reports, including the consistent financial reporting return?
Section E : Value for Money , Question 29
One of the key characteristics of an adequate accounting system are that it contains adequate internal control measures to ensure the protection of assets and the provision of reliable information. Accurate budget-monitoring reports will provide important information about spending patterns that help schools to make realistic forecasts of year-end under or overspends.
With an asset management system, Accounts can be confident that they have detailed, up-to-date asset inventory to support the school budgeting process, investment decisions and procurement strategies.