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Thinking of becoming an FE governor?

22 October 2007

College governors are people from the college's community who wish to make a positive contribution to the education of learners of all ages. Governors are a volunteer force who have an important part to play in raising standards through their three key roles of setting strategic direction, ensuring accountability and monitoring and evaluating college performance.

The selection and appointment of governors in the FE sector

Governance model

The current governance model is a representative one, comprising a number of categories to which members are selected and appointed. For example, general FE colleges are required to have 'no more than seven' members from the business community and 'at least one and no more than three' members from the college staff.

Selecting and appointing governors to newly incorporated FE colleges:

  • The secretary of state is the appointing authority, under the Instrument and Articles of Government (FE college regulations), for providing the initial members of a college governing body when a new college is created.
  • In practice, the governance and organisation team carry out this role under delegated authority. The governance and organisation team liaise with the LSC and the project steering group, which is tasked with setting up the new college, who identify potential candidates for nomination.

Selecting and appointing governors to existing FE colleges:

  • The college is itself responsible for selecting and appointing new governors to existing governing bodies, providing the number of members doesn't fall below quorum. If so, the responsibility reverts to the secretary of state.
  • The selection process for members varies according to which category of governor is required.
  • Staff members, student members and parent members are nominated, elected by their number and then appointed by the governing body;
  • Community members are nominated by a voluntary body and then appointed by the governing body;
  • Local authority members are nominated by local authorities proposed by the Corporation;
  • Business members and co-opted members are identified by means of a statutory 'Search Committee' which then recommends candidates to the governing body for appointment.

Scrutiny of the selection and appointment process:

At the time of the FE inspection carried out under the Common Inspection Framework, the LSC scrutinise the governance practice of colleges, including a number of areas relating to the selection and recruitment of governors.

The LSC looks at whether appointments have been made to the appropriate categories of membership, how the governing body ensures eligibility for membership, how long positions have been vacant, how recently a skills audit of members was undertaken and whether there is an induction programme for new members.

Governors are responsible to ensure that:

  • they are fully informed of and involved in the strategic decision making in the college - this is to enable them to contribute effectively to the creation of the college's vision and the development of clear and comprehensive strategic plans which achieve that vision
  • they are provided with financial information and performance indicators (PIs) on all aspects of the colleges activities and they should check this information with periodic reviews by the college's internal auditors
  • the college has the capability to produce clear and reliable financial forecasts
  • they receive a report on the college's financial position at least once a term but more frequently if the college's financial health is in question or looks likely to become so, and that
  • their governing body meets the Learning and Skills Council requirements in approving financial forecasts and budgets and monitoring of financial performance throughout the year.

I'm interested, what do I do now?

For more information about governor opportunities in your area contact your local college.

Last updated: 14 August 2015