April 6, 2015

Making Accountability Real

It’s over a decade since the Office for Public Management published its Good Governance Standard for Public Services, but the six principles laid out in it are as relevant as ever, and the one that underpins them all, that encircles the others in the diagram below, is engaging stakeholders and making accountability real.


Experience suggests it’s not something we focus on much as school governing bodies. School websites rarely have much information about the governing body, it’s often not even possible to find out who the chair is or how many governors there are. I guess it’s unlikely to ever be the page on the school website that gets the most hits but it seems to me the least we can do is to include some information about who our governors are and what they’re discussing at their meetings. If we really think what we’re discussing is important and makes any difference wouldn’t we want to let parents and carers know about it?

Ofsted included this slide as part of a presentation for governors that they published on their website in 2013 (sorry about the typo – it’s not mine 😉 ). I don’t know how big their sample was, but you’ll get the general idea…


You can imagine then that I welcome the new statutory guidance for maintained schools that states that schools should publish information about their governors, and the statutory change that means from 1st September there will be a requirement to publish governors’ business interests.

The new statutory guidance says: “Governors hold an important public office and their identity should be known to their school and wider communities. Governing bodies should therefore publish on their website information about their members. The information they should publish should, as a minimum, include for each governor:

  • their name;
  • their category of governor;
  • which body appoints them;
  • their term of office;
  • the names of any committees the governor serves on; and
  • details of any positions of responsibility such as chair or vice-chair of the governing body or a committee of the governing body.”

I’m not saying it goes all the way in terms of making accountability real, but it’s a small step in the right direction.


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