||<p>The department has taken significant steps to further strengthen academies’ accountability.
This is reflected in the year on year updates to the Academies Financial Handbook
which strengthen accountability and transparency in the sector. The department introduced
new rules in April 2019 for the declaration or approval of related party transactions.
Our requirements are the most robust processes for related party transactions in any
sector in the country.</p><p>The level of transparency for academies is higher than
for local authority schools. The vast majority of trusts operate with a cumulative
surplus and at the same time, over half a million pupils now study in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’
sponsored academies that typically replaced underperforming local authority maintained