Clerking and Support Service
An effective governing or trust board should be supported by an effective clerk to the board who is able to not only administer board meetings, but provide advice and guidance on governance law and procedure.
All governing and trust boards must appoint a clerk to the board. The role of clerk has changed significantly over the years, and following changes in government legislation, has much greater prominence. The role should be undertaken by a suitably qualified, professional person that is capable of providing the detailed knowledge of governance procedure that governors and trustees require to operate effectively.
Some schools choose to appoint an internal member of staff to undertake the role; however, this can potentially cause difficulties in impartially and also a conflict due to their dual role in school. If a board chooses to appoint a clerk via an external clerking and support service, they can guarantee impartially as well as a host of other benefits, opportunities and services.
The Bolton Governing Board Clerking and Support Service is recognised by many school and academy boards as a professional, high quality provision which is responsive to the changing needs of governance. Governing boards can choose to purchase two levels of service as part of the service level agreement as follows:
Option 1 - Clerking of three full governing board meetings per year plus full support, advice and guidance throughout the year.
Option 2 - Option 1 as above plus clerking of other additional meetings such as full governing board, ‘working’ committees (personnel, finance, school effectiveness etc.), statutory/standing committees (pupil discipline, complaints etc.), collaborative working groups and interim executive board meetings. These additional meetings are charged at an hourly rate for all work undertaken as part of the meeting.
What’s included in the Clerking and Support Service?
The Clerking and Support Services is not merely a minute taking service. It is a comprehensive service which not only provides experienced Clerks to Governors to support the operation of governing and trust board meetings but also draws on the experience of professional officers that can support the strategic management of the board by providing up to date advice and guidance on governance law and procedure.
The Bolton Governor Services Team employs full time Governance Support Officers (Clerk to the Board) that work exclusively for the service. This ensures that officers are fully trained to support boards in all aspects of school and academy governance.
The following features and benefits of the Clerking and Support Service, included as part of the termly charge, assists toward the efficient running of a board’s governance arrangements:
Information, Support and Advice
- Provide an information and advice service whereby governors, trustees and school leaders can email or telephone for guidance on governance procedure and law.
- Provide a dedicated website for governance in Bolton (The Governor Exchange) with regular e-briefings to all trustees and governors in order to provide guidance and information on matters concerning academy and school governance.
- Governance Surgeries are provided on the last Friday of each calendar month to provide an opportunity for governors to talk to lead officers about individual matters concerning their governing board or school.
- Access to termly Chairs’ Briefing sessions free of charge and preferential rates for conferences and events.
- We have good links with other teams and departments within the Local Authority as well as external partners such as the NGA (National Governors’ Association) and NCOGS (National Co-ordinators of Governor Services) and can therefore act as an access point to other areas of expertise as appropriate.
- The promotion and facilitation of school to school support and networking including the sharing of good practice (whilst maintaining complete confidentially, where appropriate) between the family of Bolton schools and academies.
Membership, Record Maintenance and Structures
- Maintain a record of governance structures as well as governor and trustee attendances at meetings, monitor application of regulations/articles on non-attendance, and, where appropriate, write to non-attending governors and trustees.
- Write to new governors and trustees, notifying them of their appointment and provide them with a copy of the ‘Welcome to Governance’ pack and other relevant induction material.
- Provide an induction pack for all new chairs of governing and trust boards, on appointment, and provide opportunities for specific training and development to assist them in their strategic roles.
- Ensure that all pre-appointment clearance procedures are completed for new and re-appointed governors and trustees including facilitation with annual returns for the register of interests.
- Assist with the requirements of DBS checks for governors and trustees by providing advice and guidance as well as facilitating the annual return of self certification forms, where appropriate.
- Maintain a database of all trust and local governor appointments, which includes personal and contact information, terms of office, meeting and training attendances and offices held.
- Assist governing and trust boards in organising their workload and establishing effective terms of reference and structures of delegation.
Agendas and Meeting Notification
- The Clerk will agree a draft agenda with the Head Teacher and Chair for meetings and highlight local and national items of interest affecting governance or education.
- The Clerk will contact trustees and local governors in writing in advance of meetings which are to take place.
- The Clerk will send agendas and available supporting papers to trustees and local governors at least seven/fourteen clear days before the date of the meeting. (depending on arrangements)
- The Service is currently developing a new service offer to provide meeting documentation electronically via a secure online portal. This will facilitate those boards wish to operate paperless meetings.
Clerking and Minute Taking
- Provide a Governance Support Officer (Clerk to the Board) who is experienced in minute writing and meeting procedures who can produce accurate records of meetings including recording of resolutions and effective challenge and support.
- All Clerks have undergone the National Induction Training Programme for Clerks to Governors
- All clerks are experienced in both academy and school governance law and procedure.
- All clerks undertake regular internal and external CPD opportunities to ensure their knowledge base on governance and education is maintained.
- The Clerk will prepare comprehensive draft minutes of the meeting, agree them with the Chair and make a copy available in school.
- The Clerk will carry out follow up action as appropriate and/or refer matters for action as relevant and ensure a report back to the next meeting.
Further Information about the Clerking and Support Service
If you are a governor or trustee of a governing or trust board that already purchases the Clerking and Support Service and you would like to discuss any matter relating to your service offer , please speak to your Clerk to Governors in the first instance or Judith Pollard, Senior Governance Support Officer on 01204 338601 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in purchasing a comprehensive Clerking and Support service and would like further information or an informal discussion, please contact John Ashworth, Governor Services Manager on 01204 338603 or via email at email@example.com.