New partnership between regulators enables greater scrutiny of academy trustees

The Insolvency Service will work alongside the Department for Education (DfE) in cracking down on academy trustees who behave financially irresponsibly.

The agreement forms part of a new memorandum of understanding (MoU), setting out a new partnership in which both regulatory bodies can “facilitate the regular exchange of information relating to misconduct, investigations and enforcement within their respective remits”.

According to the MoU, “the DFE and the Insolvency Service will ensure timely and focussed exchange of relevant information that enables effective co-ordination and co-operation in the areas outlined in this MoU”.

It continues: “Information available to one organisation that is relevant to the responsibilities of the other organisation will be shared when requested. Additionally, if one organisation considers that information it has gathered will be materially relevant to the other, it will proactively disclose such information to the other.”

The news, published this week by education publication Schools Week, means that the DfE will now be able to investigate academy trustees or school governors beyond their work in the education sector.

It also means that academy trustees or governors who have financially misbehaved in the education sector can now be referred to the Insolvency Service, who have the power to ban such individuals from managing further organisations both in the public and private sector.

Commenting on the partnership, Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) head Eileen Milner said the regulator was seeking “to uncover in a systematic way the names of people who under their watch irresponsible things happen” and prevent them from causing further disruption.

The MoU can be accessed in full here.

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