So you’ve had your internal scrutiny report, what next?
Internal scrutiny is a powerful tool for trust improvement, but only if you read the reports and act on the recommendations made.
Once you've had your report from your internal scrutiny partner, it's time to take a look at what they found. It might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how often this step gets skipped! According to the Academy Trust Handbook, your internal scrutiny partner should have checked out their findings and given you some advice on how to tweak your processes or make sure you're following the rules, based on their audit. Those findings and recommendations should be reviewed with your risk and audit committee and, later on, with your board. Don't forget to update your risk register based on what they found.
Now, let's talk about the advice and recommendations. It's essential to think about whether they actually make sense for your school or trust. Your internal scrutiny partner should have a good grasp of what you're dealing with, but that's not always the case. So, it's more of a "consider this" than a "follow blindly" situation. There's often more than one way to achieve the desired results, so pick the one that works best for your setting.
Here's the thing to keep in mind: those recommendations aren't meant to point fingers at mistakes. Your internal scrutiny partner is like a helpful friend who's just there to say, "Hey, you could do this a bit better." They genuinely want what's best for your trust.
Now, let's move on to putting those recommendations into action. After you've had a good look at them, it's time to make a plan. Assign responsibilities, set some deadlines, and keep track of what you're doing. That way, you can see the improvements happening in real life, not just on paper.
Your internal scrutiny partner will probably rate the risk level of their findings, and that will determine how quickly you should act. If they uncover some major financial processing flaws that make fraud easy to commit, that's high risk and needs fixing pronto. But if it's just a small hiccup, like some records not being uploaded on time, it's not as urgent.
Last but not least, you've got to check if all the changes you made actually did the trick. Review your new and improved processes, update your risk register, and see how things have changed. This information will help you plan for the next round of internal scrutiny.
Keystone Knowledge's team of school experts is here to help you plan your internal scrutiny and make it a useful tool for your school or trust. Find out more here
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