Local Management of Schools (LMS) sets out the financial arrangements within which Suffolk schools and the LA will work within. The majority of these arrangements have been shaped by statute, government regulations and formal advice, and the flexibility for local discretion is limited to the rules and regulations that schools are required to follow.
Delegated responsibilities for individual school financial management was introduced in the late 1980s with the implementation of LMS. Fair Funding was introduced in April 1999 and in 2006 the introduction of the School funding Settlement saw the introduction of multi-year budgets. Education policies have continued to promote the principles of freedom, responsibility and fairness and has seen maintained schools and pupil referral units taking on more responsibilities and freedoms in recent years.
Governing bodies are responsible for making decisions regarding how to secure better value for money and delegation arrangements. This requires governors to act in the best interests of the school/college in line with the Nolan Committee’s Seven Principles of Public Life:
Value for Money (VFM)
Governors and school/college staff should have proper regard for value for money and school/college performance and the governing body should be prepared to be held to account by parents and the wider public. VFM is not necessarily about the lowest price, it’s about getting the right balance between quality and cost
Scheme for the Financing of Schools
The Scheme for the Financing of Schools sets out the financial relationship between the local authority and Suffolk’s maintained schools and pupil referral units. The DfE sets out the framework within which local authorities may draft their Schemes and therefore the flexibility for local discretion is limited. The Scheme contains requirements relating to financial management and associated issues, binding on both the authority and on schools.
The local authority undertakes an annual review of the Scheme; recommendations for any changes are then taken to the Schools Forum. Amendments to the Scheme requires consultation with all maintained Suffolk schools and PRUs and the formal approval of the Schools Forum unless exempt within Section 1.4 of the Scheme.
With effect from 1 February 2015, the Scheme applies to all maintained schools and pupil referral units within Suffolk; it replaces all previous versions of the Scheme.