Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers
Can you confirm the Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Pension is not available to Academies that use Bucks Payroll?
The Shared Cost AVC scheme is available to Academies that use the Buckinghamshire Council payroll, provided the Academy sets up an agreement with AVC Wise and also liaises with the BC Payroll team prior to signing the AVC Wise agreement. AVC Wise is currently the only organisation offering this type of AVC. A small monthly administration fee will be payable.
Regarding the National Insurance decrease in July 22, does this mean the Employers' National Insurance contribution will decrease and if so is this built into the salary modeller?
Whilst the threshold at which employees start to pay National Insurance is increasing from July 22 it remains the same for Employers. Employers will therefore not benefit from the change in thresholds form July 22.
How statutory are the social media checks as most schools block social media?
The KCSiE regulations recommend that schools should consider these, the wording says “220. In addition, as part of the shortlisting process schools and colleges should consider carrying out an online search as part of their due diligence on the shortlisted candidates. This may help identify any incidents or issues that have happened, and are publicly available online, which the school or college might want to explore with the applicant at the interview.” We would encourage schools to consider this as part of their recruitment and selection process, but it is not a statutory/mandatory requirement. The search could be something basic like a search on google or could involve searching on specific platforms such as Linked-in, Facebook, Instagram etc, schools will need to consider who carries this out, what checks are done, and any barriers.
Regarding the social media checks for candidates, we were told NOT to do this as some candidates don’t use it, therefore those that do may be at a disadvantage?
The reason for carrying out a social media search is not to give advantage or disadvantage, but to understand if there are any potential risks with applicants. In the same way that carrying out a DBS check does not give an advantage or disadvantage, but shows any potential risks. Historically, the advice was that social media checks were not recommended, but the advice has changed under KCSiE 2022. We obviously need to be careful when carrying out any check that we are looking at the right person.
I am not prepared to use my social media account for work.
We recognise that not everyone has a social media account and that some people will want to keep their private accounts for personal use. We would encourage schools to consider the new KCSiE recommendations and to consider how this is carried out and what checks are done.
ICT Schools Team
Where can I find details of my school's support package and exactly what is included?
You can contact the ICT Schools Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will advise on your currently purchased package. The school business manager/bursar can also log into the shop view the 'my orders' page where they will find all purchasing history.
Does the SIMS package cover all options mentioned provided by IT/Technical support e.g. sourcing new equipment?
Yes! We can source and supply equipment for any school.
The below questions will be covered in the Imprest/Petty cash review that we will be undertaking this term. We are checking with the HR team about the possibility of adding more codes to the expenses form for staff to make claims. Schools should continue to use their Imprest account until we advise otherwise. Expenses should include the gross amount and be supported with a valid VAT receipt.
- Please can you clarify the expenses scheme for paying staff?
- Should all staff expenses be claimed via an expense form, including if they purchase class resources etc?
- I thought it was only mileage and parking/travel tickets which had to go on expense claim form for HR?
- Hi, how will we reimburse staff with small petty cash claims if we close Imprest?
- Second advice on expenses as I've not used it. Do you put net or gross amount for instance?
- Is there any update on getting a deposit card for paying cash into the post office?
- We currently use Petty Cash to reimburse teachers for small classroom resources. can we no longer do. If not the expenses form does not have an area to do this, how do we do it?
Guidance on budget monitoring would be really useful.
We will be creating a section on how to use the Salary Modeller for budget monitoring which will published on the Budget section on the finance zone/schoolsweb later this term.
How do I know how many credits I have, and how many credits things cost?
A statement is usually issued in the Autumn term to advise credit usage. The cost of training & workshops is included on the schools bulletin, Eventbrite, and training page on finance zone/schoolsweb. Schools can contact us via the portal anytime to check the remaining credits.
Any update on funding for Ukrainian Children?
We are still waiting for Government confirmation of funding allocation and how this will be paid to schools. The relevant team will publish the information on schoolsweb as soon as it is available.
Who's main contact for ECHP funding questions as phone number of letters coming through is a dead number?
Please contact the SEND Team via email address SENDFinance@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
Who do I need to raise questions about mobility in the school budget share? Service Now doesn't have a relative area, who do I email?
Any questions about school budget share contact the School Accountancy Support Team using the School funding & grants query portal form on Service Now- Schools Finance.
Are there any discounts for small schools?
Small schools, with under 150 pupils on roll, will benefit from a 10% discount on all of the following services:
- School Improvement and Development Days
- School Improvement Reviews
- Headteacher Performance Management
- 1:1 Coaching for Headteachers
- Places at BESST conferences
Pupil numbers are based on the census.
Do you offer Governor Hub?
BESST has just launched an offer for Governor Hub
Is there an overlap between the governor services offered by BESST and what Bucks Education Partnership Offer?
The BESST team are building a service to provide advice, information, and training opportunities to schools and governing boards to enable them to work effectively and efficiently to promote high standards, fulfil their statutory responsibilities and raise achievement in schools. BESST aims to deliver against identified needs in Buckinghamshire schools and will ensure that our capacity is directed to those areas which school leaders and governors have told us are the areas of greatest need.
Do you cover water supply as well as energy? do you have any advice on this?
There is not currently a Buckinghamshire Council water contract available to join, we will be reviewing the councils water supply contracts in the next 12 months. The potential for a contract that can be joined will considered as part of this review.
We have moved away from Bucks Energy and find we are penalised when looking at new contracts for not being able to pay by Direct Debit as finance won't allow this. We are looking to opt into the new service from Beond. Will this still be the case or is the new supplier aware of this limitation in Bucks Schools?
The Energy Team is currently working with Finance to resolve this issue with regard to the new contract.
What is Green and Brown Energy? What is the difference between the two?
Green electricity is from 100% renewable sources, such as solar or wind. We will confirm this using Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme which provides transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation.
Brown electricity is generated using fossil fuels such as gas, coal, and oil.
If we are already with Npower, will that change be managed for us?
Yes Buckinghamshire Council and Beond will manage all changes for you.
Can Bucks help with billing issues as the current suppliers do no not bill on a regular basis?
Yes if you are currently part of the Buckinghamshire contract (supplied via Laser), please contact the energy team via the energy team mailbox for support email@example.com