Section 52/251 statements
Local Authorities (LA) are required under Section 52 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 to prepare a budget statement by the 31 March each year for the following financial year (e.g. by 31 March 2008 the LA should have prepared a Section 52 Budget Statement for 2009/2010 financial year).
After the end of that financial year LAs are also required to prepare an outturn statement, which provides details of expenditure for the financial year.
For both the budget and outturn statements, regulations and guidance are published each year, which prescribe the form and content of the statements. These are prescribed by the Secretary of State.
It is a statutory duty that LAs publish their budget and outturn statements. Under the regulations this is fulfilled by making a copy available for inspection at all times free of charge at each principal office of the LA and publication on a website maintained by the LA and accessible to the public.
The Department for Education maintains a website covering combined information for all LAs going back over several years.
The budget statement description
The size of the Schools budget and the amounts to be allocated to each factor depend on decisions taken by the LA before the prescribed period and the budget statements provide a means with which to inform schools and the public in general about the funding plans of the LA. The copy received by schools is intended to provide a clear picture of the authority's planned spending:
- how much the authority intends to spend outside the schools budget,
- how much the LA is proposing to retain centrally within the schools budget for school services and
- how the formula is working to produce budget shares for each school within the LAs area.
The outturn statement description
It is intended to:
- provide details about schools and LA funding and expenditure to schools, parents and others with an interest in education;
- provide data for the Departmental Annual Report
- inform policy making
- inform the Treasury for monitoring purposes
- inform parliament in its role of monitoring the department's accountability for public funds. MPs ask about school and authority expenditure via the mechanisms of Parliamentary Questions or through the Education Select Committee.
Finance - Corporate