30th September 2021
On 15 June 2020 the ESFA confirmed in its guidance note that Academy Trusts fall within the scope of the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting requirements of The Companies (Directors' Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018.
Many trusts are now looking at reporting for the second year.
This briefing note provides answers to some key concerns and provides guidance on how to efficiently capture and report your energy usage and carbon output.
Barker hosted a webinar on SECR to outline this process and introduce our FREE SECR reporting tool.
What is new for 2021?
The reporting requirements are the same for last year, with the exception that you are now expected to report historical data (i.e., last year’s figures) to start showing trends and demonstrating impact of any interventions made.
Why are we having to report on our Carbon Footprint?
Academy Trusts are not the only organisations impacted by Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting. The legislation is designed to encourage all public sector bodies and private sector company boards to think about their carbon footprint and make changes to their operations it in order support the UK in achieving its target of “Net Zero” by 2050.
Does this apply to my Trust?
From our assessment of the guidelines, 590 Trusts and 5,815 Academies will be impacted by the reporting requirements in 2020. The “rule of thumb” is if you are a Trust with over 2 secondary phase academies or 5 primary phase academies you will need to report in your accounts on your carbon footprint as you will have assets worth of £18 million and have a headcount of over 250 staff. Every Trust will have to confirm this based on their own circumstances.
When do I have to submit the report?
There is no separate report to submit. Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting is part of your audited accounts submission. It will need to be completed in time to submit with your account to the ESFA on the 31 December 2021 as detailed in the Academies Accounts Direction.
How do we capture energy consumption data?
In many ways this is very simple. For gas and electricity, you can take a meter reading at the start of the year on 1 September and again at the end of the year on 31 August. And multiply the kWh reading by the relevant amount of CO2 per kwh.
However, in our experience some Trusts will have over 150 separate energy meters so, to capture data can take a lot of time and resource. Smart metering will help with this especially if you have all your gas and electricity with a single supplier. There are alternative tools available to help with this such as the eoPortal, which automatically capture and summarise data for reporting purposes.
Capturing Staff Travel Mileage
This is the more complex area from a data collection point of view. Hopefully many Trusts will be in their second year of SECR and thus have started recording mileage with SECR in mind.
If not done already, you may want to start capturing the data by creating some new nominal codes in your chart of accounts, for example you may want to add the ESFA standard template the following codes:
This would allow you to simply divide the cost of the staff travel by the rate your pay, for example, if you use the standard HMRC rate for mileage under 10,000 of £0.45 and your end of year expenditure was £4,500 you would able to calculate the mileage travelled in the year as 10,000 miles.
More technical solutions are available for Trust staff who do a lot of traveling such as Microsoft mile IQ app and the Tripcatcher app.
What about Trust owned vehicles?
We are aware a number of Trusts use fuel cards for minibuses. In this instance data should be available from your fuel card account summary. Again, doing this retrospectively may be difficult but you may currently have a simple mileage log you get staff to fill in each time they use the minibus.
For Trust vehicles a way to automate the data capture could be add a GPS tracker to minibuses which would automate the data collection process once the initial mileage had been captured.
What about PFI Contracts?
At this time, it is our understanding that the PFI contractor is responsible for the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting.
What measures can we take to improve energy efficiency and how do we report them?
This is the key focus of the legislation. The formal reporting of your carbon footprint is not an aim in itself. The government is hoping that, by mandating reporting on energy use and carbon, Trusts will start taking definitive action to reduce their carbon footprints.
Key actions you could take now:
For further information and access to our FREE SECR reporting tool, contact us using the links below.