The full report from our clerks' survey is now available.
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In January 2013 the National Governance Association (NGA) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) hosted a roundtable discussion with a range of expert organisations including: National Co-ordinators of Governors’ Services (NCOGS), Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS), Ormiston Academy Trust, Association of Director of Children’s Services, Information for School and College Governors (ISCG), Hampshire County Council, Association of Colleges (AoC), and the Department for Education (DfE). The meeting highlighted the need for an increased focus on the role of clerks and as a result, the Clerking Matters campaign was born.
The Clerking Matters campaign aims to raise the profile of clerks. There is now a dedicated page for clerks in every Governing Matters magazine and additional resources such as a clerk’s job description and person specification available on the Clerking Matters section of the NGA website. A pilot of the ‘Find us a clerk’ service was also launched in November 2013. This is a free service that enables clerks to advertise their services and schools and other organisations to advertise for a clerk. There was also a session for clerks at the NGA’s summer conferences in 2013 and 2014. Most significantly, Lord Nash, the under-secretary of state at the DfE, at the Summer conference announced funding for the National College of Teaching and Leadership to develop a training programme for clerks.
To help better understand the issues faced by clerks and inform the Clerking Matters work, NGA and SOLACE undertook a survey for clerks in January 2014. The survey was open for 4 weeks and received nearly 900 responses. It covered a range of areas including the role, remuneration and professional development. The survey was completed by clerks of both school governing bodies and academy trust boards.
Key findings from the survey:
It was suggested that more guidance is required in relation to the pay for clerks with calls for the introduction of a national pay scale.
- A large majority of clerks feel that being employed by the Local Authority (LA) or by the school in another capacity does not affect their independence.
- Clerks feel that the role is becoming more demanding which can be especially difficult for those clerks who have another role within the school.
- Many clerks feel that the role is still not given the level of respect and recognition it deserves.
- Of the three duties stated in the survey; providing advice to the governing body; effective administration of meetings and managing information (including membership of the governing body) clerks were least confident about providing advice to the governing body.
- Respondents generally agreed that a clerk’s role is advising, guiding and supporting the governing body as well as taking minutes.
On average the clerks who responded are moderately satisfied with their pay.
49% of clerks are not annually appraised.
65% of clerks do not hold any accreditation or qualifications relevant to clerking.
The cost of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and training is usually met by the school or LA.