Download the model code of conduct (2018)

The National Governance Association has for a number of years recommended that governing boards adopt a code of conduct which sets out the purpose of the governing body and describes the appropriate relationship between individual governors/trustees/academy committee members, the whole governing board and the executive leaders. 

We recommend that the code should be thoroughly discussed so that the whole governing board has ownership of it, and, once it has been adopted, the governors/trustees/academy committee members should be asked to review and agree it, on an annual basis ideally at the first meeting in the autumn term. It is good practice to review your code of conduct collectively as a board each year and do remember to tailor it to reflect your specific governing board and school structure.

Model code of conduct 

The NGA model code of conduct is anchored in the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life:

  • Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

  • Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

  • Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

  • Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

  • Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

  • Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.

  • Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

If you have any comments or questions on the Code, please send them to

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