In 2013 Mr Dwan made a decision to fund by way of sponsorship the formation of initially one, but later two multi-academy trusts (MATs).
The first Trust, Bright Tribe converted its first school in January 2014. Over the next twelve months Mr Dwan supported the activities of Bright Tribe and Adventure Learning Academy Trust (ALAT) and with his support the two Trusts were able to convert 12 schools.
The resources required to create an organisation capable of properly resourcing and managing such an operation in such a short space of time are considerable.
In addition, 11 of these schools were amongst the poorest performers in England and all required intensive activity to create a stable and improving educational offer for each community.
Most schools were also operating in deficit and this created an additional challenge as a MAT must balance the books on an annual basis.
Mr Dwan made clear his purpose from the outset. He has fully declared all the resources he has made available and he is immensely proud of the outcome to date.
The Accounts for 2014/15 for both Bright Tribe and ALAT record in some considerable detail the support that has been provided by Mr Dwan.
These accounts were submitted once and have not been amended or revised.
These accounts are audited and have the approval of the Education Funding Agency, they are the accepted true and fair record.
Mr Dwan sought to enhance the disclosure relating to his support to ensure there was no misunderstanding, the disclosures made exceed the statutory requirements.
We would draw your attention to the last line on page 5 of each set of accounts.
Bright Tribe page 5
“This means that Dr Dwan’s connected organisations received £107k of service fees during the year, but Dr Dwan has made donations, directly or indirectly of £2,291k during the same period.”
ALAT page 5
“This means that Dr Dwan’s connected organisations received £85k of service fees during the year, but Dr Dwan has made donations, directly or indirectly of £411k during the same period”
Mr Dwan set out to support the establishment and formation stage of both Trusts. By making resource and cash available, in full compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook he has enabled this phase to be completed successfully.
Both Trusts now operate using an in-house resource and no longer need or receive substantial support from Mr Dwan or any of his companies.
This model was adopted from January 2016.
Mr Dwan has been disappointed by the tenor of the reporting that has taken place. He has however learnt that there are some who seek to question his motives, who question why such philanthropic giving would take place and who for their own purposes seek to discredit what has been a very generous programme of support.
Mr Dwan believes he is extremely fortunate to be in a position to support such activity.
This document responds to queries received in relation to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) Audit Summary.
The report was produced as a result of a standard EFA process where they audit financial matters and governance arrangements in multi-academy trusts.
The Trust welcomed the EFA Audit in order to answer any uncertainties regarding the operation of the Trust.
The report focuses on compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook (AFH). This is a technical document updated annually. The update process can mean that academies are compliant in one year and not in the next.
Whilst we do not agree with all of the findings of the report, we are continuing to work with the EFA to understand why they have interpreted information we provided them in the way that they have.
The EFA acknowledge that the Trust and its sponsors have been helpful and supportive during the reviews and cooperated with requests they have made. (Para 6)
The EFA also acknowledges the support provided by the sponsors for the academy programme. (Para 6)
The EFA confirms that the issues identified at the Trusts in 2015 – on which we continue to engage and develop – did not merit a Financial Notice to Improve. (Para5)
We are pleased with these comments as they demonstrate that the technical non-compliance matters have not been viewed as material.
In addition, the report states that it is accepted that the Auditors have given a true and fair opinion on the accounts submitted for 2013/14 and 2014/15. It is also stated that the Auditors concluded that, in all material respects, nothing had come to their attention that would indicate funds had not been applied to purposes intended by Parliament. (Para 14)
The EFA have accepted the accounts and the notes contained therein as a true and fair record.
There are three main elements that the report focuses on. Related Party Transactions, Procurement and Payment to Trustees.