Best Practice

Detecting fraud: Advice for governors

Following the jailing of an academy’s head of finance for diverting school money into her own bank account, legal expert Helen Otty asks just how liable academy governors are

The head of finance at Two Mile Ash School in Milton Keynes, Kathryn Nethersole, was recently jailed for 26 months for fraudulently obtaining £120,000 from the bank account of her employer.

The Court was told how Ms Nethersole had targeted this top-performing school because its academy status would give her free rein over its finances.

Ms Nethersole began to divert money out of the school's bank accounts two months after taking up her post in 2011. The fraud was only detected in the summer of 2014 when it was noticed that she had paid a £5,000 cheque into her own account, but listed an alternative payee on school records. It was discovered that she had deliberately lied to the headteacher and governors when presenting budgets.

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