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Administration and finance

Financial Intervention Panel, Schools (FIPS)

Here we will provide information, guidance and links to assist you through the FIPS Process.
FIPS meets regularly (weekly to fortnightly) to consider submissions. Schools are strongly encouraged to have explored the various support and development options available via the FIPS page before making a submission to the panel.

A soft copy is available for download (PDF).


These are indicative minimum timescales for the FIPS submission:

Name Timescale
Request forms Two weeks prior to submission
Return date Two weeks prior to panel date
Panel date 48 hours from panel meeting

All licensed deficit requests must be submitted prior to the end of the financial year that the licensed deficit pertains to, for example: School A is forecasting an end of year deficit of £25,000, therefore, School A must complete and submit all FIPS paperwork prior to the start of the Easter Holidays. Failure to comply and request a licensed deficit on time will result in a notice of concern from the Local Authority and the DfE being informed.

Roles, Responsibilities and Terms of Reference

Governing bodies are responsible for:

  • Monitoring the school performance, including financial aspects
  • Taking any remedial action required to secure an in-year balanced budget.
  • Having a 3-5 year strategic plan to secure high quality education provision for children with a balanced budget.
  • Taking timely remedial action when three year budget plan does not balance.
  • Implementing appropriate action wherever possible to prevent redundancy and retain employment.
  • Following guidance in this document to ensure that plans submitted to FIPS are correct, robust and deliverable.
  • Implementation of agreed actions following FIPS decisions
  • Ensuring the school participates in the Active Redeployment programme when future budget difficulties are identified. This includes working proactively with the HR Direct Redeployment team at an early stage to place staff at risk of redundancy wherever possible (thereby retaining experienced staff in Devon and minimising any impact on the redundancy fund).

Purpose of FIPS

  • FIPS is an officer constituted group that has the function of scrutinising budgets and recovery plans of schools at financial risk.
  • FIPS may signpost schools to appropriate strategies to support them in planning for long-term financial viability and school effectiveness.

As part of these responsibilities FIPS may:

  • Request completion of a recovery plan.
  • Request completion of an ICFP.
  • Place a school on monthly monitoring or period review.
  • Advise Devon County Council to issue a Notice of Concern of a School Financial Warning Notice (SFWN) or to withdraw delegation.
  • Instigate an Individual School Review (ISR).
  • Instigate a formal audit of the school’s financial processes and/or financial review.
  • Where applicable, use this information to inform the Regions group.

Structure of FIPS

Composition of FIPS panel

Title Role
Head of Education & Learning (Chair) Decision maker
EAL Finance Representative(s) Advisory
HR Business Partner(s) Advisory
Administrator/Coordinator Minute taker
Schools Improvement Officer Advisory
Finance Consultant Advisory
[Other officers and representatives with expertise as required] Advisory

Operational Procedures

  1. FIPS will meet as per ‘Panel Dates’ section below.
  2. In addition FIPS will monitor budget plans from all schools on an annual basis (May), FRS returns on a termly basis and those schools on monthly monitor each month. Licensed deficits will be reviewed quarterly as per the terms of the agreement. Schools may be placed on a review cycle by FIPS and will therefore be looked at periodically.
  3. If appropriate the school will need to conduct a workforce and budget/curriculum review prior to making a FIPS submission. Financial Planning/Audit Tools are available to support this process along with advice and support on schools finance, planning and workforce remodelling.
  4. The school must contact Treasurers and schedule their submission to FIPS in line with requirements.
  5. It will be the responsibility of the submitting school to complete the correct form and co-ordinate the additional reports and data required for their individual submission. The school will be responsible for ensuring its submission meets format and content requirements seeking support from the Finance Officer, SIO and HR as appropriate.
  6. Failure to meet the submission deadline may lead to the delay of the school’s submission.
  7. If the school making the submission is operating on a Federation Budget any submission made should be based upon the Federation’s financial position.
  8. Schools should, as part of their preparation of a FIPS submission, use benchmarking data to ensure they are providing optimum value for money and to bring out the salient points in the submission.
  9. The initial FIPS submission will be routed via a Finance Quality Assurance process as part of the scheduled arrangements before it reaches FIPS. Should further information be required as a result of this process then the submission may not be presented at the original FIPS scheduled date in which case submission will be re-scheduled for the next most appropriate FIPS meeting.
  10. Any schools in the Keys to Success  Programme making a submission to FIPS should consult their link adviser on the FIPS submission and must attach a link adviser report to their submission.
  11. An annual report will be provided to DEF on the numbers of schools making submissions (analysed by phase), the contingency allocations approved, the total budget impact on DSG cost of redundancies and the numbers of staff affected. This may also be shared with Corporate Forum Education and other interested groups, e.g. Heads Liaison Group (HLG) and elected members – where applicable.

Process for dealing with deficit budgets

Dealing with deficit budgets.pdf

Redundancy for School Based Staff

FIPS Processes

Redundancy/Contingency/Licensed Deficit Submission Forms

Vulnerable budget

Recovery Plan

Primary Schools

Independent and Multiple Budget Federation – Member Schools

Single Budget Federations

Secondary Schools

Special Schools

Compromise agreements

Ending fixed term contracts

Minor Re-Organisation Grant

  • Minor re-organisation grants are currently unavailable

Panel Dates

Meetings are held on Thursday mornings.
Jan – Apr
Panel meets: weekly
May – Dec
Panel meets: fortnightly
(Meeting dates may be cancelled when there are no submissions)

Other Useful Documents

This Sixth Form Costings spreadsheet (Excel) has been devised to allow a school to separate their sixth form costs from their main school budget.

Contact Us

Book a FIPS submission