Download the competency framework for Governance

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a new “Competency Framework for Governance”.

The Competency Framework was developed by an expert group led by Sir David Carter, the national schools commissioner. NGA members were consulted on a draft version of the Competency Framework during our round of autumn regional meetings in 2016.

Alongside this, the DfE has released a new version of the Governance Handbook, which is a guide to the roles and functions of those who govern schools in England. The Handbook also includes information about the various legal duties, as well as where governors, trustees and clerks may find support.

Click here to find out more about the Governance Handbook

Click here to read our news story where Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, has urged caution about how governing boards use the new Competency Framework

What’s this for?

The Competency Framework is designed to help governing boards assess what knowledge, skills and behaviour are needed to govern the school, or group of schools, most effectively. It is meant to help with things like board performance reviews, identifying training needs, succession planning and induction. It may also help you to prepare interview questions. It is not a checklist though, and there are better and more accessible resources available to help with recruitment. For example, NGA’s skills audit (which will be updated in light of this document) and role description. It is also designed to help training providers plan their training for governors, trustees and clerks.

How is it set out?

The Competency Framework is organised into blocks of ‘who needs to have this’. There are some skills or knowledge that the DfE thinks everyone on the board needs to have, and others that the chair or ‘at least someone’ on the board will need to have.

The Competency Framework is made up of 16 competencies. The competencies are grouped under the headings of the ‘six features of effective governance’, which are detailed in the Governance Handbook:

1.    Strategic leadership

a.      Setting direction
b.      Culture, values and ethos
c.      Decision-making
d.      Collaborative working with stakeholders and partners
e.      Risk management

2      Accountability

a.      Education improvement
b.      Rigorous analysis of data
c.      Financial frameworks and accountability
d.      Financial management and monitoring
e.      Staffing and performance management
f.       External accountability

3      People

a.      Building an effective team

4      Structures

a.      Roles and responsibilities

5. Compliance

a.      Statutory and Contractual requirements

6.    Evaluation

a.      Managing self-review and personal skills
b.      Managing and developing the boards effectiveness

Nolan principles

Competencies alone are not enough. The DfE emphasises that principles and personal attributes that individuals bring to the board are as important. These are best reflected in the Nolan principles of public life.    

Download the competency framework for Governance

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