Watford UTC hit with financial notice to improve

A University Technical College has been issued with a financial notice to improve after it failed to set a balanced budget.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has written to Watford UTC, a technical school for 14 to 19-year-olds in Hertfordshire, over concerns about “failures in governance and financial management”. The intervention follows several requests from the UTC for financial support from the government, the ESFA said.

According to academy funding rules, which UTCs have to follow, all schools must set a balanced budget. Having broken the rules, Watford UTC has now had most of its spending powers suspended and must run financial decisions past the government until the notice is lifted.

The school must now carry out an “integrated curriculum financial review” to identify savings and produce a new recovery plan, which must be sent to government funding bosses.

The plan must demonstrate a balanced budget from 2019-20, growth in pupil numbers and that outstanding debts have been repaid. It must also audit the skills of its governors and staff, particularly those with financial responsibility, and commission an independent review of its financial systems, among other conditions.

The UTC was approached for comment.