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Dedicated schools grant assurance: guidance for local authorities


Local authorities have continuing responsibility for financial regularity in schools. The chief financial officer (CFO) of the local authority is responsible for making the necessary arrangements for local financial and management controls, under section 151 of the Local Government Act 1972.

Under these arrangements, the CFO must ensure that the grant monies for the dedicated schools grant (DSG) are used for the purpose for which they are intended. They must confirm this to ESFA by submitting a signed assurance statement that confirms the deployment of the DSG, along with a note to the accounts.

The conditions of grant for 2020 to 2021 set out the formal terms of grant given by the Secretary of State under section 16 of the Education Act 2002.

The deadline for submitting the assurance statement and note to the accounts for 2020 to 2021 is 12 November 2021. They should still be submitted even if the audit of the local authority’s accounts has not been completed by this date.

You will need to download the templates, and then submit completed returns, through Document exchange.

Login to DfE Sign In.
Select ‘Document exchange’ from the list of services.
Navigate to ‘Documents sent by ESFA’.
Download the DSG assurance statement and DSG note to the accounts template.
Print a copy of the DSG statement for the CFO to sign and scan in as a PDF.
Populate the table in the note to the accounts spreadsheet.

There are 2 documents on Document exchange:

DSG assurance statement

The CFO must complete this document DSG assurance statement 2020 to 2021 (MS Word Document, 76KB) to:

confirm the DSG received by the local authority in 2020 to 2021 was fully deployed in support of the schools budget, in accordance with the conditions of grant and The School and Early Years Finance (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2020

report details of any fraud cases in maintained schools, and confirm what action has been taken to address the issue
report the numbers of schools with suspended budgets, notices of financial concern or recovery plans during 2020 to 2021, as proposed in the 2019 consultation on increasing transparency in relation to maintained schools

The fraud section of the statement improves the transparency of information that local authorities already collect from maintained schools through the schools financial value standard (SFVS). We have added a footnote to the statement explaining the meaning of fraud in this context.

There is no requirement for the assurance statement to be audited, but the return may be subject to review by external auditors, at their discretion.

DSG note to the accounts template

Please fill in the table and upload the completed DSG note to the accounts 2020 to 2021 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 23.9KB) template to the Document Exchange portal following the steps below. The data is required in Excel format to enable data manipulation.

We use the information you provide in this return to populate a national spreadsheet. Please do not change the format of the DSG assurance statement or note to the accounts spreadsheet, as this will affect our validation processes.

Navigate to the ‘Send a new document’ section
Select ‘DSG assurance statement’ as the document type
Browse for the signed PDF of the DSG assurance statement
Follow the instructions to upload your first return.
Repeat the process by selecting ‘DSG Note to the accounts’ as your document type, and then browse for the DSG note to the accounts

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with ESFA Document exchange, view the ESFA Document exchange user guide.

The signature on the statement will be checked against our records of specimen signatures for the local authority. If the person signing the statement has not previously supplied a specimen signature to ESFA, they should contact [email protected] to request a specimen signature template.

If you are unable to access the DSG note to the account document, or have any questions about your return or the process, please email us at [email protected].

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