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Bath and Wells

The Bath and Wells Diocesan Academies Trust (BWMAT), established in 2012, consists of 30 primary schools that are grouped across four hubs in North Somerset, Bath, Taunton and South Somerset.

The Trust has experienced sustained and significant growth over the past few years and as a result, had been heavily reliant upon Excel to supplement the two budgeting tools that were in use across their schools.

The challenge

Their Excel reporting solution was well developed and did provide the information required the run the Trust, but with an ever-growing group of schools, the time taken to populate the spreadsheets was increasing. In addition to the time taken to manually populate the spreadsheets there was also a huge amount of repetition involved in ensuring that each of the school’s budgets had the correct data and that the assumptions that were defined by the Trust were accurately implemented.

Jason Brown, BWMAT’s CFO, commented “We were at the point where something had to change, we had developed a series of work arounds that were starting to creak. We were still confident that the numbers were right, as we had systems in place to ensure that errors and inconsistencies were caught, but the time required to maintain things was starting to hold the teams back.

We didn’t want to have work-arounds in place to catch the issues, we wanted a system that would ensure the accuracy from the outset”.

IMP Planner provides a single database solution which is the way we needed to go with our Budgeting tool.

Implementation

When Jason described the implementation, he said “IMP took care of the whole process; they have developed automated routines to both extract and combine the data from our old systems, so we had very little involvement and were really pleased at how it went. Any implementation that requires a data extraction from 30 independent databases is a tall ask, but the experience the team at IMP have in this area is clear to see.”

The quality and response time of the support team is a fundamental requirement when a new system is adopted and was rightly a key consideration for BWMAT, “Since we’ve gone live, the on-boarding support has been second to none. Our 3-year budget cycle is a busy time for our Hub BMs, as it involves lots of meetings with each of their schools. IMP offer live chat within the system and this has been a real lifesaver when deadlines are tight. Knowing that the IMP support team are there to help when you need it, has made such a difference, most queries have been dealt with via chat but they can also launch a remote support session in seconds,
which has helped our team so much.” Jason explained.

IMP is a game changer!

We asked Jason whether he would recommend IMP Planner to other MATs and he said

“Absolutely! This system is a game changer, the market simply hasn’t kept pace with the emergence of MATs, so a system that is specifically designed to meet the needs of a MAT has got to be worth looking at.”The Bath and Wells Diocesan Academies Trust (BWMAT), established in 2012, consists of 30 primary schools that are grouped across four hubs in North Somerset, Bath, Taunton and South Somerset.