Monday, 20 June 2011

Professionalisation of Clerking: Enhanced powers and responsibilities

Enhanced powers and responsibilities

The role of the clerk should be expanded significantly, taking on some of the responsibilities and powers currently invested in governing bodies. In short, these are:

Ensure accountability

The clerk could become the governing body's lead officer for ensuring proper, clear and regular accountability with specific responsibilities for:

Collecting and collating relevant data

Ensuring that governors regularly self-assess their performance of accountabilities

Writing and publishing an annual report.

Lead communication role

Without diminishing the role of the chair, the clerk could become the recognised gatekeeper and gateway of all communications to, between and from governors, ensuring efficiency, effectiveness and consistency.

Ensure statutory responsibilities are met

As the main legal adviser to the governors, the clerk could ensure and report annually on governors' fulfilment of their statutory responsibilities.

Shaping the agenda

The clerk's responsibility for shaping an agenda in partnership with the chair and headteacher should be enhanced to make the clerk the lead officer for constructing and publishing the agenda, including statutory and strategic items which he or she knows to be essential. The clerk could also take responsibility for ensuring that agendas are relevant, purposeful, reflective of governors' three key roles (especially the strategic role) and capable of being dealt with adequately in the time allowed.

Increased powers

The clerk could be given the power to:

disqualify governors

recruit and appoint community governors

deny papers and decisions if not compliant with regulatory requirements

receive complaints and ensure process followed

appoint appeals panels for staff dismissal and pupil exclusion.

Performance management

The clerk's accountability would continue to be to the governing body. The chair of governors should manage the clerk's performance annually, in the same way that governors manage the head's performance.

This article is based on a paper shared at the Co-ordinators of Governor Services (COGS) conference 2010.

Written by: David Marriott

About the author

David Marriott is an education consultant specialising in governance and school leadership.

Taken from School Governor Update

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