Guidance: The nomination and appointment process for Local Authority Governors in Maintained Schools in Hampshire
This guidance is for Local Elected Members, schools, clerks and governing bodies.
Governing bodies (GB) in Maintained Schools are established in accordance with the 2012 Constitution Regulations. These regulations:
- Provides for one space for a person nominated by the Local Authority. In Hampshire nominations are made by County Councillors for schools in their division
- Enable the GB to define the skills they are seeking to support and strengthen the work of the board and to provide these requirements to the nominating councillor, and,
- Enable the GB to consider the nomination and decide whether or not to appoint that person
The role of the clerk
The clerk should:
- monitor upcoming vacancies and advise the GB on the appointment process
- alert the GB and nominating Councillor to a forthcoming vacancy and request a nomination to fill vacancies arising through the governor resigning or coming to the end of their term of office, which in the case of the LA post, is a four year term
- ensure the County Councillor has been informed of the skills and attributes the GB are seeking•inform the County Councillor if the existing governor wishes to continue in post and if the GB is supportive of that request
- inform the County Councillor if the GB wishes to suggest someone for nomination and supply information about the candidate to the Councillor
- ensure any nominated person has completed a personal declaration form (for reappointments) or a HCC governor application form (for new governors), prior to their appointment
- keep a record of the written nomination from the County Councillor
- ensure that the appointment of the local authority governor is an item on the agenda for a full governing body meeting and inform the Councillor and the nominee of the outcome following the meeting
- update the Governor Manager database using their Clerk’s Write Access logon, where the governing body agrees to appoint the nominee (the date of appointment is the day after the meeting at which the appointment was made or the date the vacancy arises where this post-dates the meeting), and
- follow all appropriate checks following appointment and update the school web-site with the governor information
The role of the County Councillor
As a County Councillor you will be contacted by the school for a nomination following the resignation of the current LA governor or when the term of office for that individual is due to end. You will be informed:
- whether or not the existing LA governor wishes to continue in post for a further term and if the GB supports that request
- if the school has a candidate they wish to put forward for nomination for your consideration
- the skills and attributes the GB have identified that they wish anyone nominated to meet, and,
- the date of the GB meeting where the appointment will be made
As a County Councillor you are responsible for nominating candidates for local authority governor posts as soon as possible and within three months of the request. In accordance with Hampshire County Council’s long-established principles, those nominated should:
have a keen and active interest in education and school improvement in Hampshire
be able to commit their time, skills and energy to the school
be willing to undertake the necessary training and keep themselves up-to-date on governance issues
be committed to the effective governance of the school, be able to work in a team and to build positive relationships with stakeholders, and,
have the skills and attributes specified by the GB
All governors are expected to adhere to the Nolan Principles of public life and the values of the school. Once appointed they must act in the best interests of the pupils at the school and not on behalf of the constituency that nominated them.
The main duties of Governing Bodies:
Setting Strategic Direction
It helps to decide the school's strategy for improvement by setting, and keeping under review, the broad framework within which the Headteacher and staff run the school.
Creating Robust Accountability
It provides the Headteacher and staff with challenge, support, advice and information, drawing on its members' knowledge and experience. It must ensure that the school achieves high standards and holds the leadership of the school to account for performance.
Ensuring Financial Probity
It has responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the school's effectiveness and the use of public money and ensuring financial probity.
Nominating and appointing governors
The process works best where there is a positive relationship between the Councillor and the school. Nominations should be the outcome of discussion between the school and the Councillor to fill the vacancy with the best candidate available to support the effective governance of the school.
You should consult the governing body, through the clerk, chair or head teacher whenever you are considering a candidate for nomination or re-nomination. It is good practice to have at least a telephone interview with any candidate you do not know before making your nomination to satisfy yourself that they are suitable for the role and to seek references where appropriate.. You may also suggest that they should visit the school before confirming your nomination.
There are legal reasons why some applicants may be disqualified from appointment or reappointment as a governor. All new governors must complete the Hampshire County Council application form and anyone wishing to be reappointed must complete a personal declaration form. These forms alert them to the current disqualification criteria and serve as their declaration that they are not disqualified. You can access the forms and further information on the disqualification criteria on the Governor Services web-site.
Supplying this information at this stage via these forms avoids any embarrassment as it gives the candidate the opportunity to withdraw before they are nominated.
You should make your nomination by e-mail to the person who requested it at the school. If you have been sent a hard copy of the application or personal declaration form you should dispose of it securely as it contains personal data and is covered under the Data Protection Act.
If you have identified an individual to nominate then you must supply the clerk to the GB with a signed application form from the nominee for the GB to consider. If the person in post is seeking reappointment the clerk should get them to complete a personal declaration form. No appointments can be made without a completed application or personal declaration form. You should also ensure that anyone you nominate is fully aware of the demands of being a governor and what the role entails. There is information on the Governor Services Web-site which you can direct interested individuals to.
Issues to consider when making nominations
A GB should have a mix of skills to enable it to effectively govern the school and deliver robust accountability. The GB should conduct regular skills audits and review them to enable it to identify the skills it needs to enhance its work. The GB will tell you what skills it is seeking through the nomination process.
Stability and continuity
An effective GB needs an element of continuity. You should consider re-nominating effective governors who have undertaken training and have acquired a wealth of experience, taking into account the willingness of the governor to stand and any representations made by the GB. At the same time an influx of new ideas and energies onto the GB can be to a school's advantage.
People who are related
Avoid nominating people to the same GB who are related, living together or living with members of the school staff. This can lead to potential conflicts of interest and restrict the individual’s participation in some matters. Details of the current GB membership and pecuniary interests of governors can be found on the school’s web site. GB’s are required to publish this information.
Teachers and non-teaching staff
These people are disqualified from appointment to local authority posts. You should be cautious about nominating any ex-staff to the GB.
There is no legal restriction on nominating parents for local authority posts on the GB of the school their child attends. However, doing so may cause an imbalance of representation on the GB. It is important that GBs maintain adequate numbers of governors who are not directly connected with the school. You should therefore be very careful if asked to nominate someone who is a parent and check the circumstances with the school before reaching a decision.
Voluntary and foundation school nominations
Where an area is served solely by a voluntary aided, voluntary controlled or foundation school of a particular religious denomination, you might want to consider nominating someone of a different denomination to that of the school's foundation. However, such a nomination may not match the eligibility criteria set by the GB and the GB may decline the nomination.
Appointment to more than one governing body
Many people find that the significant workload and responsibilities of governorship make it difficult to fulfill the role for more than one GB. However, you can nominate someone to serve on more than one board if you are satisfied that they have the time and the necessary level of commitment to contribute effectively. Government guidance suggests that no governor should be serving on more than two boards and that references should be sought from the school prior to a second appointment.
If you are unsure about a nomination you are welcome to contact a member of Governor Services to discuss the particular circumstances.
If the post remains vacant for three months and the local County Councillor has been unable to deal with the matter the Director of Children’s Services, in consultation with the Executive Member for Education can make a nomination.
Local authorities have the power to appoint additional governors to schools requiring special measures, designated as having serious weaknesses or subject to a formal warning. The Director of Children’s Services and Executive Lead Member for Education is formally responsible for appointing additional governors in those circumstances.
Should there be disagreement between the school and Councillor during the nomination process either party can seek advice from Governor Services to try to resolve the matter.
Contact details for Hampshire Governor Services
Governor Services, F Block, Clarendon House, Monarch Way, Winchester, SO22 5PW
Tel: 02380 814820 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Our website address is http://www3.hants.gov.uk/education/governors/governors-govrecruit.htm