Are criminals targeting your school?

There are risks associated with accepting funds from fee payers and donors without conducting the appropriate due diligence.

Criminals will try to launder or spend their illicit gains in different ways, including paying tuition fees or making donations to independent schools.

Based on National Crime Agency (NCA) data on suspicious activity report (SAR) volumes, and the low number submitted by the independent education sector, independent schools may be under-reporting and/or failing to identify funds that may be linked to criminal activity or breaching international sanctions.

This means schools could unwittingly become involved in criminal activity with the associated legal and reputational risks.

We have updated our guidance to include a list of ‘red flags’ which could indicate an attempt to commit financial crime or breach sanctions.

Red flags to look out for

The following are some scenarios where schools may want to undertake further due diligence.

  • The school receives funds for donations or fees from an unexpected third party without a logical reason or explanation.
  • Third parties dealing with your school request account details outside the normal course of business.
  • A fee payer takes steps to hide their identity and/or is difficult to identify.

Our updated guidance includes suggested actions schools could take if something concerning is discovered. For example, you may wish to:

  • ask the fee payer/donor to provide evidence of the rationale and their connection to a third party
  • scrutinise the source of funds and consider identifying the third party yourself independently through a screening tool and/or open-source information
  • consider verifying any ID documents
Are criminals targeting your school? Download the full guidance.

School guidance (PDF, 160KB)

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

scroll to top