It is important that adequate arrangements are made at schools for proper control to be exercised over the payment of invoices. These instructions seek to provide a consistent framework throughout schools, for the payment of invoices for goods & services received and the certification of invoices. The need to ensure that, as far as possible, different people are involved in authorising orders, checking deliveries and checking and authorising invoices, in order to reduce the risk of fraud.
3.1 In accordance with directions to be specified on the orders, the supplier shall be asked to quote the name of the school site where the work was done or goods delivered, together with a reference to the order number and delivery note. Where suppliers render accounts in non-paper format the Head of Finance shall approve the procedure for requesting supplies from such suppliers and for the payment of such accounts.
3.2 Only invoices in the name of the County Council or the school must be paid from the official budget. Invoices shall not be made out by employees of the school, nor shall an employee of the school add any additional items to an invoice rendered by a supplier. Invoices shall not be accepted in which the details are not written in ink or typewritten.
3.3 No amendments shall be made to Value Added Tax invoices. All Value Added Tax invoices shall be returned to the creditor for any amendment necessary in accordance with Value Added Tax regulations. All amendments to other invoices shall be agreed with the creditor, shall be made in ink and shall be signed in his/her own name by the employee making the amendment and the reasons, if not self-evident, shall be briefly stated on the invoice.
3.4 The examination, verification, certification and expenditure coding of an invoice for payment will be the responsibility of the Governing Body or member(s) of the school staff nominated by it. All expenditure must be supported by suitable documentation.
3.5 The matters to be certified by the Headteacher or his/her authorised representative shall include:
(a) that the goods have been received, examined and approved as to quality and quantity, or services rendered or work done satisfactorily;
(b) conformity with the order;
(c) any specific authorisation e.g. Governing Body minutes;
(d) that the price(s) charged and the arithmetic are correct;
(e) that the expenditure is covered by an approved budget;
(f) that the invoice has not previously been passed for payment; (see instruction 3.8)
(g) that the allocation of the expenditure and relevant VAT classification code(s) are correct.
The Finance Service Director, in consultation with the Headteacher, may agree in writing that for some invoices certain of the conditions shown above may be waived.
3.6 The employee certifying each of the foregoing matters shall sign in his/her own name or initial with his/her own initials the appropriate section of the certificate and the Headteacher, or his/her authorised representative shall then certify the invoice by signing his/her own name in ink on the certificate.
3.7 Wherever possible ordering the item, certifying its receipt and certifying the invoice as correct for payment shall be performed by different employees. As a minimum, the employee who certifies the invoice as correct shall not be the person who has authorised the order.
3.8 The Headteacher shall ensure that appropriate controls are in place to prevent duplicate payment of invoices. Where the Headteacher or his/her authorised representative wishes to make payment on a copy invoice he/she should ensure that there is no previous record of the invoice having been passed for payment. Should the original invoice appear at a later date, internal controls should exist to ensure that the invoice will not be passed for payment again.
3.9 Under no circumstances should payment be made against statements.
3.10 As part of the end of year procedures each Headteacher shall provide the Head of Finance Service Director with details of all outstanding items of expenditure and income relating to goods received or services rendered in the previous financial year. The end of year procedures, forms and timetable are issued each year.
3.11 The Head of Finance shall examine so far as he/she considers necessary invoices passed to him/her for payment and shall be entitled to make all such enquiries and to receive such information and explanation as may be required. If, after such examination and enquiries, the Head of Finance is not satisfied that the invoice is in order, he/she shall be entitled to refuse to pay the invoice and in such cases the Head of Finance after notifying the Headteacher and Governing Body concerned of the reasons shall report the matter to the appropriate committee or sub-committee.
3.12 Timely processing of invoices must be undertaken by paying within the terms of the payment i.e. 30 days of date of invoice.