The Department of Education (DfE) have recently released an updated version of the Governance Handbook (Jan 2017) and the new Competency Framework for Governors (January 2017). The following link will take you to the relevant DfE website page should you wish to view or download these documents: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governance-handbook
The key changes are outlined in full in the Handbook itself, but in brief summary:
- The new edition of the Governance Handbook contains a new summary description of the six key features of effective governance. This provides the structure for the six sections that follow and also for the department’s new Competency Framework for Governance.
- Section 2: Strategic Leadership – a new section at 2.3 bringing together material about the board’s role as the key decision-maker.
- Section 3: Accountability – a stronger emphasis on ensuring financial propriety at 3.4.
- Section 4: People – updated text at 4.1.2 to reflect the new requirement that all those involved in governance in maintained schools, as well as in academy trusts, must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. New advice on conducting informed elections at 4.1.4. New sections bringing together material on the important role of the chair at 4.3 and of the clerk at 4.4. A new explanation at4.8 of the risks associated with close family relationships between those involved in governance or between them and senior employees. Details of the duty on boards to provide information about individuals involved in governance via Edubase at 4.8.
- Section 5: Structures – updated guidance on the role of Trustees and Members at 5.2.1. Clarification at 5.6 that all boards are required to publish a scheme of delegation to explain their governance arrangements, together with new guidance on what makes an effective scheme of delegation. Updated guidance on MATs at 5.2.2 and umbrella trusts at 5.5.1.
- Section 6: Compliance – confirmation at 6.7 that an individual on the board should take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements, which include its Prevent duty. New advice at 6.7.1 on handling allegations of abuse made against other children.
- Section 7: Evaluation – updated content on schools causing concern and on coasting schools at section 7.4.