Former free schools chair broke the law over £500k payments to own company

The former chair of two free schools broke the law over payments of more than £500,000 to his own company, a government investigation has found.

A probe by the Education and Skills Funding Agency has cast “significant doubts on the legitimacy” of money paid by Collective Spirit Free School and Manchester Creative Studio to the Collective Spirit Community Trust, a company with links to a number of its trustees.

However, investigators encountered “substantial difficulties” establishing “any reasonable audit trail of financial transactions or evidence to assure the regularity of funds spent by the trusts”.

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