Spotlight on: Governor Recruitment & Diversity

One of NGA’s 8 elements of effective governance is having the “right people around the table”. From evaluating your current board to succession planning and governor recruitment, ensuring you have an effective governing board of volunteers, including recruiting from underrepresented groups, is not always an easy task!

The NGA’s updated Right People Around the Table guidance provides practical advice on governor recruitment, including prioritising diversity. The NGA’s Skills Audit has also been renamed the Skills and Diversity Audit.

Here are some top tips to help you create a robust governor recruitment process:

Be transparent

Ensure vacancies are transparent around what governance looks like both more generally and in your specific setting. Ensure you include information about the role, eligibility and responsibility of governors in addition to expectations in terms of time, travel and availability. Also remember to make it clear how to apply or ask for more information.

Use a wide range of channels

By opening up your recruitment process to a wide range of channels you are actively encouraging diversity. From local media to Linkedin and twitter – think outside the box!

Actively encourage diversity

“A diverse Board brings greater awareness of the different challenges experienced by the communities we serve. It reduces blind spots and leads to better decision-making”

Kam Kothia, Chair of Trustees at Star Academies

Set a culture for equality and diversity as a fundamental believe and guiding principle for the evolution of your Board to ensure it best serves the commities it supports. Create an inclusion culture by inviting and welcoming both challenge and support.

Consider peer on peer review

Peer on peer review of your recruitment process can offer key insights into where you could improve inclusivity and diversity.

Be visible

As well as being transparent around governance, help potential applicants to understand the role of governance in your setting by being actively visible in your role and encourage meaningful engagement with stakeholders.

Have a high quality induction process

Ensure a high-quality induction process for all governors is in place. On the flip side, encourage fresh perspectives with meaningful succession planning.

What would you add to this list? What barriers do you face with governor recruitment? Have you considered the diviersity and incluivity of your Board?

All my best

Ellie

Summer workshop dates will be circulated soon!

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Spotlight on: Regulatory Documents

What do you mean by regulatory documents?

Regulatory documents determine the way in which an education setting is set up and overseen. They outline the legal requirements by which school governance is held to account and guidance around the role and functions of governance.

LA maintained vs. academies

Regulations depend upon the type of school. Schools fall generally under two categories – LA maintained and DfE funded (academies and free schools) which dictate the regulations they fall under.

Regulatory documents for LA maintained schools

E.g Community, church, foundation and special schools

Regulatory documents:

  • Governance Handbook : includes guidance from the DfE outlining the core role and functions of governance. It is the first point of reference for legal duties and includes a lot of links to additional documents and information.
  • School Governance Regulations : Two documents – 1. Roles, Prodecures and Allowances – provides guidance on legal obligations and duties of a governing board 2. Constitution – the way in which governance is made up (number and types of governor)
  • Competancy Frameworks : Two documents – 1. Competancy Framework for Governance 2. Clerking Competancy Framework – both documents outline the knowledge, skills and behaviours for effective governance
  • Instrument of Government : Legal document recording the constitution and terms of office for a government body and the legal name of the school
  • Standing Orders : Sets out the rules for how your governing body works (not a legal document)

Regulatory documents for academies

Academies are governed by the DfE and company and charity law as companies limited by guarantee and exempt charities. Therefore, their regulatory documents look different to those of LA maintained schools.

Regulatory documents:

  • The first three documents above (governance handbook, regulations and competancy frameworks) also relate to academies; however, are not binding
  • Articles of Association : set out the charitabe purpose and governance structure of the trust
  • Funding Agreement : Master Funding Agreement is the legal contract between the Secretary of State (government) and the academy trust. Schools within a MAT will also have Supplementary Funding Agreements for each school that joins the MAT
  • Scheme of Delegation : agreement between the trust board and local governing body or headteacher setting out the delegated authority given by the trust board

Other regulatory documents (for LA maintained and academies)

  • Code of Conduct : a statutory document that sets out rules and proper practices of governance. This is reviewed and agreed annually
  • Terms of Reference : often seen for committees, TOR (non-obligatory) can also be put in place for the full governing body to outline the structure and purpose of the board and a framework by which the board can be held to account

All my best

Ellie

Upcoming training from Pro Clerking

Effective Minute Taking – Wednesday 9th March 10-12pm

Clerking with Confidence Workshop – Monday 21st March 10-12pm

Can’t make the live session? All workshops are recorded and any resources are circulated to delegates following the live workshop.

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Spotlight on: Persons of Significant Control

This week’s blog post is a spotlight on Persons of Significant Control (or PSCs).

*Please note: PSCs only apply to Academy Trusts!*

What are PSCs?

PSCs relate to any individual or group (aka corporate Member) who has the ability to exercise “significant” control, i.e. more than 25% of voting rights

Where and why do PSCs need to be declared?

Academy Trusts are companies limited by guarantee and therefore, under company law, must declare any PSCs in both their statutory (or governance) books/registers and at Companies House.

How do I know if an individual or group are a PSC and need to be declared?

PSCs relate to Members of Academy Trusts when there are fewer than 4 Members in post (noting the minimum requirement of 3 and suggested best practice of 5) as 3 Members would hold more than 25% voting rights, and to groups such as a sponsor or umbrella trust who have the ability to appoint the majority of Trustees.

So essentially – if you have 4 or more Members, none of which are a corporate Member, then none of these need to be named as PSCs.

If you have just the minimum of 3 Members they will each need to be individually named as PSCs.  The same as if you were to have a corporate Member with the ability to appoint the majority of Trustees.  

PSCs do not relate to Trustees as they are already declared on Companies House.

What information do I need to declare?

Below is an example of the information required when declaring a PSC:

  • Name – name of individual or group
  • Correspondance Address – If a person, use the Trust’s registered address
  • Governing Law – e.g. UK Companies Act
  • Legal Form – e.g. Company Limited by Guarantee
  • Place Registered – e.g.UK
  • Registration Number – e.g. Company number
  • Nature of Control – e.g. right to appoint and remove Trustees

All my best

Ellie

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Blogmas Day 18: Merry Christmas from Pro Clerking and GVO + Exclusive Discount Code

Welcome to day 18 of Blogmas! Today is the last day of this year’s Blogmas series – I hope you’ve found the posts helpful and, as always, we always welcome comments or feedback!   

To end this year’s series, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year for 2022 from Pro Clerking and GVO

As a Christmas gift here’s an exclusive discount code for 10% off ANY Pro Clerking workshop or resource to use site-wide for the whole of 2022 (one use only)!

BLOGMAS2021 

All our best 

Ellie & Becky

Blogmas Day 17: Blogmas 2021 Overview

Welcome to day 17 of Blogmas! Only a couple of days of this year’s Blogmas series to go now so I thought we’d start to wrap things up with an overview of all the posts we’ve covered: 

Wednesday 1st December Day 1: Welcome and What to Expect 

Thursday 2nd December Day 2: The Head, Chair and Clerk Working Relationship 

Friday 3rd December Day 3: Minute Typing Buzz Words 

Monday 6th December Day 4: Effective Communication with Governors  

Tuesday 7th December Day 5: Spotlight on Associate Members (Maintained Schools) 

Wednesday 8th December Day 6: Top Tips for Policy Management 

Thursday 9th December Day 7: Let’s get organised: The Power Hour 

Friday 10th December Day 8: Clerking with Confidence Workshops  

Monday 13th December Day 9: The Clerks’ Annual Planner – New Product for 2022! 

Tuesday 14th December Day 10: Meeting Prep for the Spring Term 

Wednesday 15th December Day 11: Spotlight on GIAS 

Thursday 16th December Day 12: Top Tips for Company Secretaries 

Friday 17th December Day 13: Spotlight on New Governors  

Monday 20th December Day 14: New Year Resolutions for Clerks (Part 1) 

Tuesday 21st December Day 15: New Year Resolutions for Clerks (Part 2) 

Wednesday 22nd December Day 16: Paper Free Governance 

And of course, if you are part of the Pro Clerking GVO pilot all these posts are available either from the online calendar or in the documents section.   

Which post(s) have you found most helpful?  Let us know in the comments below! 

Coming up

I hope you found today’s Blogmas post useful. Come back or subscribe to receive the next post of the Blogmas 2021 series directly to your inbox.

Day 18:  Merry Christmas from Pro Clerking and GVO!  + exclusive discount code for 2022!

Ellie

http://www.proclerking.co.uk

Blogmas Day 16: Paper Free Governance

Welcome to day 16 of Blogmas! In today’s post we’ll be looking at the benefits of and some of the ways in which you could consider taking governance in your setting either partly or fully paper-free.  As we all know, the elephant in the room (ahem Covid), has stepped up our use of technology for everything from online meetings to cloud-based filing and even virtual Ofsted visits!  Chances are you’re already using some kind of online platform to share information and connect with governors/trustees, but just how far are you willing to take this endeavour into the online world?  Or are you looking forward to cracking open those hardback files, dusting off the printer and setting up your label maker? 

I am definitely a self-proclaimed stationery lover (and even run my own planner business and have plans to produce an annual planner specifically for Clerks…. see the Blogmas Day 9 post here) and there’s nothing like taking pen to paper to have a good old brain dump and organise.  However, I can also appreciate the benefits of running an online office.   

Using less paper is obviously good for the environment plus less travel with virtual meetings has huge benefits to our carbon footprint.  But did you also know that reducing the amount of paper clutter in your workspace (and home) can have huge mental health benefits and reduce stress?  Ok, so I know that technology is great when it works and when it doesn’t…..well we’ve all been there but if going fully or partly paper-free is one of your goals for 2022 (it’s definitely one of mine!) let’s look at some practical ways you can reduce the paper clutter in your workspace: 

  1. Invoices and contracts 

If you are a freelance Clerk you can use an online platform (such as QuickBooks) to process and store your payments and invoices.  From scanning and electronically filing receipts to completing your tax return online there really isn’t any need to print out a single page.  HMRC notifications can also be sent via email so all your tax statements and reminders remain online.  Client contracts can also be sent via email and signed electronically using sites such as Docusign.   

  1. Electronic diary and planning 

Chances are you are already using Outlook (or equivalent) to plan and invite attendees to online meetings; however, have you considered using your electronic diary to plan out your entire day?  Or to add deadlines for minutes or sending papers out or reminders for actions to which governors can be invited to?  Or what about policy management?  There are also some really great (and mostly free) online project management tools (such as TrelloAsana (my personal favourite) or Microsoft Planner) which can be used to plan tasks, workloads or even repetitive checklists such as a pre and post meeting planner.   

  1. File storage and notes 

You may already use online file storage spaces such as OneDrive and/or SharePoint but have you ever considered taking and filing notes online?  From typing directly into an online Word document to taking quick notes in your IOS Notes app there are loads of great options for taking notes online.  Or if you love a bit of tech and have an Apple Pencil (or equivalent) you can use an app such as Noteshelf to physically handwrite notes which can then be converted and stored as PDF documents or some apps even allow you to transfer your handwritten notes to text!  Then of course there’s the more “traditional” scan and save approach for any loose paperwork lying around! 

  1. Travel and parking expenses  

If there is a need for you to travel and you get reimbursed for either mileage or parking you can use a mileage tracker app and most car parks now enable you to pay via an app which then produces an electronic receipt for you to submit with your expenses claim – no more worrying about lost pay and display tickets! 

  1. Online governance platform 

Of course, an absolutely ideal way to manage all your governance needs is to invest in an online platform specifically designed for governance.  The Governors Virtual Office (GVO) provides a secure location to keep your governors’ information available online at all times, to help governors become more engaged with the school and its governance. Enabling governors to arrive at meetings fully informed and creating time to spend on focused debate of strategic issues means that GVO can be a great aid to the effectiveness and efficiency of governance. 

Coming up

I hope you found today’s Blogmas post useful. Come back or subscribe to receive the next post of the Blogmas 2021 series directly to your inbox.

Day 17:  Blogmas 2021 overview

Ellie

http://www.proclerking.co.uk

Blogmas Day 15: New Year’s Resolutions for Clerks (Part 2)

Welcome to day 15 of Blogmas! Today we’ll continue looking at the 5 steps of The Goal Getter {mini} Academy (GGmA) in preparation for the New Year.  In day 14’s blogmas post we covered steps 1-3 – finding your purpose, setting your goals and gaining confidence – check out the full post here.  Today we’ll continue with steps 4 and 5.

Step 4:   Taking action

You’ve thought about your “why”, set some goals and worked on your confidence – now it’s time to do the work and take action!  Four ways to do this are:• Set habits• Create discipline• Build routines• Stay accountable 

For each goal think of the habits which link to that goal, break these down into tasks, work out how often these tasks need to be done to move you closer to your goal (are these short or long term goals?  Do they need daily, weekly or monthly attention?), create routines or workflows which incorporate these habits and tasks (do you need to set aside 30 mins at the end of your working day to dedicate to your tasks?  Can you create a workflow to empty your inbox at the end of every week?) then think of a way to stay accountable (set achievable deadlines or milestones in your diary, commit to your Chair or Head to review and send an update on policies every month etc.)

Step 5:  The compound effect

As with so many things, consistency is key.  You now have the tools to go from your “why” right through to taking action– now rinse and repeat!  Goals, tasks and routines will most likely need tweaking, but I guarantee with every tweak improvements will be made and tasks will become easier and more efficient.  Often the hardest part of something is starting.  A repeated system of small, seemingly insignificant actions can reap huge rewards.  

Small choices + consistency + time = significant results 

(The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy)

Coming up

I hope you found today’s Blogmas post useful. Come back or subscribe to receive the next post of the Blogmas 2021 series directly to your inbox.

Day 16:  Paper free governance

Ellie

http://www.proclerking.co.uk

Blogmas Day 14: New Year’s Resolutions for Clerks (Part 1)

Welcome to day 14 of Blogmas! Today we’ll be looking ahead to the New Year and looking at how to set and follow through on our goals for 2022.  Back in the summer of 2021 I created The Goal Getter {mini} Academy (GGmA).  This 5 step workbook works through everything from broadening your mindset and gaining confidence to setting goals and taking action to make them a reality.  The full GGmA workbook is available to purchase here.  Over the next two blogmas posts I’ll be sharing an overview of the 5 steps in the context of Clerking to help you start thinking about what you’d like to achieve in 2022.  Of course, you don’t need to wait until a new year, month, week or even day – these steps can be implemented at any time you choose – and can be used in any area of your life!

Step 1:   Finding your purpose

The first step in the GGmA is to start broadening your mindset in terms of what It is you actually want to achieve.  Are you aiming to offer the best service possible?  Or do you want to earn more money?  Maybe you would really like to work for yourself.  Or maybe you’d just like to feel more organised and confident you have all your processes and procedures in place!  Really home in on and connecting with the “why” behind your goals can really help focus your goals and realise what it is you actually want to achieve. 

Step 2: Setting your goals

Before you start the process of setting your goals it’s important to keep the “why” from step 1 in the back of your mind – the first part of this step is to ensure the goals you set are aligned with your “why”.  Next, we’ll take a brief look at a system for setting both short and long term goals (more information is available in the full GGmA).  Let’s take the example of the “why” of ultimately working for yourself.  What goals could you set which align with this purpose? 

Short term (<3 months):  Draft out what your business would look like

Long term (>12 months): Take on first client  

Step 3:  Gaining confidence

Ok so we have an idea of our goals and the “why” behind and driving them.  We’ve opened our mindset but, let’s be honest, it’s all incredibly overwhelming and we still don’t know how we’re actually going to achieve these plans!  Before taking action it’s important to build firm foundation blocks for confidence.  You may have heard of victor vs victim mindset.  This technique is all about thinking about the attributes that sit under each of these mindsets then noticing and consciously changing which we use in our everyday lives.  This involves a change in the language we use and the way we act.  Positive self-talk and body language are powerful tools for unlocking confidence.  If you tell yourself you can achieve your goal you will start to believe it and it WILL happen

Tomorrow we’ll look at steps 4 and 5 of the GGmA.

Coming up

I hope you found today’s Blogmas post useful. Come back or subscribe to receive the next post of the Blogmas 2021 series directly to your inbox.

Day 14:  New Year’s resolutions for Clerks (Part 2)

Ellie

http://www.proclerking.co.uk

Blogmas Day 13: Spotlight on New Governors

Welcome to day 13 of Blogmas! Today’s post is focusing on new Governors and how to ensure they are properly inducted to the Governing Body (but can also be used/adapted for Trustees of academy trusts).

New Governor Protocol


Your Governing Body should think about their induction protocol for new Governors prior to appointment to ensure the correct information and level of support is provided and that they fully understand the role of a Governor.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Prior to appointment set up an informal “interview” with a potential new governor (with the exception of Parent and Staff Governors who are elected and ex-officio Governors)
  • Provide information about the roles, responsibilities and likely time commitment of being a school governor
  • Should you wish to continue they should be nominated and seconded at the next FGB meeting. A majority vote is needed before the role is offered to the candidate

New Governor Induction

New Governors should be given a school email address, this ensures school information is retained within the school network and protects both the Governor and school under GDPR – even if you are using a platform such as the Governors’ Virtual Office which can be set up with any email address I would advise it is still good practice to set up a school email address for new Governors.

To be emailed to the new Governor by Clerk (to their school email account):

  • Governor Record Form 
  • Declarations of Interest Form 
  • New Governor Policy 
  • Link to the latest Governance Handbook
  • Link to the latest Competency Framework for Governance 
  • Code of Conduct (to be agreed & signed)
  • Governor Visit Policy and Visit Report
  • Governance Structure
  • Minutes of recent meetings (usually the last 3 meetings, not including any confidential minutes)
  • Calendar of future meetings
  • Most recent Ofsted Reports (& other relevant documents)
  • Safeguarding documents (inc. Keeping Children Safe in Education)
  • Contact details for other governors

To be provided by the new Governor:

  • DBS (or they need to apply immediately)
  • Name, address & contact details
  • Business interests
  • Required information for GIAS (e.g. date of birth)

To be offered to the new Governor

  • Governor mentor
  • Governor Induction Training (usually available through your Local Authority (LA) or Multi-Academy Trust (MAT))
  • Tour of the school
  • Introduction to key members of staff
  • Introduction to fellow Governors at the next appropriate meeting

Actions for the Clerk

  • Request school email address
  • Once Governor Record Form completed send this to your LA or MAT
  • Update Register of Interests and Register of Governors 
  • Update Governance pages on school website
  • Update GIAS
  • Update circulation lists / groups

Coming up

I hope you found today’s Blogmas post useful. Come back or subscribe to receive the next post of the Blogmas 2021 series directly to your inbox.

Day 14:  New Year’s resolutions for Clerks

Ellie

http://www.proclerking.co.uk

Blogmas Day 12: Top Tips for Company Secretaries

Welcome to day 12 of Blogmas! The final countdown is on for the end of term……. but Blogmas will continue right up until 24th December!  Today we’ll be having a quick look at the role of a Company Secretary and sharing some top tips.

What exactly is a Company Secretary?

Traditionally (and in the corporate/legal sector) a Company Secretary is responsible for ensuring compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements of a company.  In education, the title of Company Secretary is used within single and multi-academy Trusts; however, it is not a legal requirement for academy trusts to appoint a Company Secretary and the DfE’s model articles of association do not include this as a requirement.  Nevertheless, a lot of academy trusts do appoint a company secretary to the Trust Board to ensure they fulfil their statutory responsibilities in company, charity and education law. 

Top tips for Company Secretaries:

The role of CS differs slightly from that of a Clerk or Governance professional in a maintained school or of a Local Advisory/Governing Body within a MAT; therefore, it is worth familiarising yourself with the additional requirements such as:

  • What documents need filing with Companies House and when
  • Your Trust’s legal documents – articles of association, master funding agreement etc.
  • Your Trust’s governance structure – Members, Trustees, Local Governors etc. and what information/legalities sit around each layer of governance
  • Other statutory guidance such as the Academy Trust Handbook
  • Annual audit requirements
  • Where to seek further advice in relation to academy specific queries
  • Local or national updates

The best way to learn or keep up to date with what is expected from the role of CS is to undertake CPD at least annually.  Law firms such as Veale Wasborough Vizards or Stone King offer annual training or why not book onto Pro Clerking’s next Company Secretary Workshop on Wednesday 19th January 2022 from 10-12pm via Zoom? 

Day 13:  Spotlight on new governors

Ellie

http://www.proclerking.co.uk