Guidance for sixth-form and further education colleges on preparing and submitting their financial plan and supporting commentary.

Documents

College Financial Forecasting Return (CFFR)

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 2.25MB

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College financial planning handbook 2021: financial outturn requirements for the year 2020 to 2021 and financial planning requirements for the years 2021 to 2022 and 2022 to 2023 for sixth-form and further education college corporations

PDF, 259KB, 24 pages

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College financial planning handbook 2019: financial outturn requirements for the year 2019 to 2020 and financial planning requirements for the year 2020 to 2021 for sixth-form and further education colleges

Ref: Version 3 (December 2020)PDF, 154KB, 20 pages

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College financial planning handbook 2019: financial outturn requirements for the year 2019 to 2020 and financial planning requirements for the year 2020 to 2021 for sixth-form and further education colleges (web accessible version)

Ref: Version 3 (December 2020)HTML

Proposed timeline for college financial returns during 2020 to 2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/college-accounts-direction/proposed-timeline-for-college-financial-returns-during-2020-to-2021

Commentary requirements for updated cashflow forecast returns: April 2021

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Standard cashflow template

Ref: Version 1.6MS Excel Spreadsheet, 172KB

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Integrated financial model for colleges

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 1.93MB

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Integrated financial model for colleges: unprotected version

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 1.93MB

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Integrated financial model for colleges: completed example

MS Excel Spreadsheet, 2.11MB

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Integrated financial model guidance for colleges

PDF, 215KB, 23 pages

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Integrated financial model for colleges (web accessible version)

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Common issues with the integrated financial model for colleges (IFMC)

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Details

College financial planning handbook

The college financial planning handbook sets out ESFA’s financial planning framework for sixth-form and further education colleges. Colleges must refer to this document when preparing their Finance Record.

ESFA has launched an updated version of the finance record for colleges for colleges to complete and return to ESFA together with the audited annual report and accounts. This new finance record is a two-year return combining the financial outturn for the year 2019 to 2020 and the budget forecast for the year 2020 to 2021.

To accompany this new finance record, ESFA has also published an updated version of the College Financial Planning Handbook which provides guidance on how the finance record should be completed as well as some minor changes to our approach to assessing and moderating college financial health.

The deadline for submission of the finance record is the same as that for the audited annual report and accounts, 31 January 2021.

College Financial Forecasting Return (CFFR)

ESFA has issued a new template for a July 2021 return for colleges. We are asking for a return from all colleges as part of the ESFA’s on-going financial risk-assessment process.

This is a statutory return, and all colleges must make a return by the 31 July 2021.

The documents required to be submitted are:

  1. College financial forecasting return for colleges (CFFR) – Formal assessment of financial health and review of college budget forecasting.
  2. Commentary – A supporting document that explains the assumptions upon which the forecast years have been completed in the CFFR return. Please refer to the updated Financial Planning Handbook for further information

Please ensure that you use the version of the CFFR published on the 14 May 2021, or subsequent releases that might include fixes and the monitoring worksheets. Submission of information in draft or test versions of the CFFR will not be accepted.

The Chief financial officer must sign this return which confirms the review and approval of the 2021 to 2022 budget by the Governing Body.

We are conscious of the pressure of the current pandemic and have therefore continued to work with the Association of Colleges and its College Finance Directors Group, and the Sixth Form College Association in the creation of the CFFR to reduce the burden of financial returns.

We will provide guidance and support through the ESFA Bulletin, the ESFA helpdesk via the ESFA enquiry form, the delivery of webinars and your ESFA Territorial Team caseworker.

Submission arrangements for the CFFR

Colleges must submit these documents to ESFA by 31 July 2021.

Colleges must submit their documents via the IDAMS (Identity and Access Management System) online portal.

Both documents (CFFR and Commentary) must initially be uploaded at the same time by colleges but can subsequently be resubmitted separately, if required. Colleges will receive an email confirmation that their upload has been successful.

Further details are available within the online portal.

If the person responsible for submitting these documents does not have access to the IDAMS system they can request an account using the ‘I don’t have an account’ link on the login page. Please complete ESFA’s online form if you have any questions about your submission.

Ongoing monitoring

Colleges under ongoing ESFA monitoring arrangements should continue to submit management accounts and other information as required to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (in addition to submitting these templates).

Published 13 May 2013
Last updated 14 May 2021 + show all updates

  1. College Financial Forecasting Return (CFFR) excel document added to the page.

  2. We have published details of the college financial forecasting return (CFFR). The deadline to make a return is 31 July 2021.

  3. We have published guidance and a cash flow template for colleges to complete as part of the April cashflow financial return.

  4. We have updated the integrated financial model for colleges guidance.

  5. We have published an updated version of the College Financial Planning Handbook which provides guidance on how the new finance record should be completed, as well as some minor changes to our approach to assessing and moderating college financial health. The changes to the document are outlined in the document.

  6. We have published information and a template for the COVID-19 November financial return.

  7. We have published information for colleges on completing the COVID-19 July financial return, along with a financial health calculator, a standard cashflow template, and completed examples of both.

  8. We have updated the common issues with the integrated financial model for colleges (IFMC) document, to provide further help for colleges completing the IFMC.

  9. We have published an example version of the IFMC to show colleges what a completed version looks like.

  10. We have updated the submission arrangements for the integrated financial model for colleges (IFMC).

  11. We have published the latest version of the integrated financial model for colleges (IFMC).

  12. We have published a guide outlining common issues with the integrated financial model for colleges (IFMC).

  13. We have updated the college financial planning handbook and published details of the integrated financial model for colleges.

  14. We have updated the cash flow forecast template.

  15. We have published the submission arrangements for colleges to submit their financial plan and supporting commentary.

  16. We have updated the college financial planning template and the cash flow forecast template.

  17. We have updated the college financial planning template. The changes are detailed in the 'Contents' tab.

  18. We have published the college financial planning handbook 2019: financial planning requirements for sixth-form and further education colleges.

  19. We have made minor amendments in the college financial plan template, details of which can be found on the contents tab of the template

  20. Updated College financial planning handbook 2018 and template have been added for 2018.

  21. New versions of the Financial planning handbook, College financial planning template and Financial planning template guidance uploaded on 14 June 2017.

  22. Revised version of College Financial Planning template uploaded on 17 June 2016.

  23. New version of College Financial Plan Template uploaded on 13 June 2016.

  24. New files titled College financial plan template and Financial planning template guidance uploaded on 13 May 2016.

  25. Financial planning handbook for 2016 to 2018 published.

  26. Published June 2015: Financial planning template

  27. Published June 2015: Financial Planning Handbook 2015 to 2017

  28. First published.

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