Release date: 21/04/2017

The Department for Education (DfE) has today published a Clerking Competency Framework – new non-statutory guidance setting out the competencies required to deliver professional clerking to school governing boards and multi academy trusts.


The guide is the third DfE release this year to focus on the roles and responsibilities of school governing boards.

In his Foreword to the guide, Sir David Carter, Schools Commissioner, writes: “The Department for Education recognises the value of professional quality clerking to governing boards in maintained schools, academies and multi-academy trusts. As anyone who has experienced professional clerking will testify, it provides an invaluable contribution to the efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and compliance of the governing board.

“Together with the updated Governance Handbook and the new Competency Framework for Governance [this guide] forms a trio of resources published in 2017 that set high expectations for the role and functions of governance in our education system. I make no apology for the stretch that many will feel in reading them.”

Gillian Allcroft, Deputy Chief Executive of the National Governance Association, said: “Good governing boards have effective, professional and suitably paid clerks. We welcome the focus the Department for Education is putting on their role – something we have campaigned for over several years. Clerks are an invaluable source of support, information and advice. We will keep striving to raise their status in recognition of their significant contribution to school governance.” 

The Clerking Competency Framework is intended to be used by governing boards as well as clerks. The DfE hopes the guide will help clerks evaluate their own practice and to identify training needs. Governing boards are encouraged to use it to understand how professional clerking can improve the quality of governance, help with recruiting a clerk, for setting their clerk’s objectives and informing their performance appraisal process.

The Framework explores how professional clerking can support the work of governing boards by returning to the ‘six features of effective governance’ as set out in A Competency Framework for Governance. The guide looks specifically at the role clerks can play in supporting each feature: Strategic leadership, Accountability, People, Structures, Compliance and Evaluation.

The Framework then details specific knowledge, skills and behaviours for clerks, grouped under the following competencies:

  1. Understanding governance: understanding the board’s duties and responsibilities including governance legislation and procedures  
  2. Administration: ensuring that the processes and procedures of governance are administered efficiently
  3. Advice and guidance: Access to timely and accurate advice and guidance, or signposting to expert advice where appropriate
  4. People and relationships: ensuring that the board has accurate records of its people and their skills

The Clerking Competency Framework was developed by an expert group led by Sir David Carter. Attendees of NGA’s Clerks Advisory Group were consulted on an early version of the guide and provided feedback. 

Find out more: 

Read more about NGA's Clerking Matters service and our work for clerks 

Download NGA's Clerks Job Description 

Find a clerk to join your board

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