Minutes of the Search Governance Committee - 07 October 2019
17/19. Election of Chair
That M. Willmot be appointed Chair of the Committee for the 2019 - 2020 academic year.
Mike Willmot in the Chair.
18/19. Declarations of Interest
R. Heath declared a standing interest as an employee of Harper Adams University.
R. Heath declared an interest in Minute No. 20/19. He left the meeting during the discussion.
19/19. Minutes of Meeting Held 15 May 2019 (Appendix – Agenda item 4).
That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 15 May 2019, were approved and signed as a true record.
20/19. Committee Vacancies and Succession Planning Update (Appendix – Agenda Item 5)
The Committee reviewed the current position regarding current Governor Terms, vacancies and opportunities (previously circulated). The Committee requested, going forward, that the report also include the Term details of the co-opted committee members.
The Committee noted that:
- The Terms of the current Vice-Chair and one long-serving committee chair would end during October 2019. Thereafter, vacancy management remained fairly stable until the next ‘high point’ between July – December 2020.
- Following a Notice of Vacancy for the H.E. Student Governor, one Valid Nomination had been received from Claire Kearns (Counselling Foundation Degree) and no election was held. The Board would be recommended to appoint her at its next meeting (15 October 2019).
Parent Governor (London Road) Vacancy
Following the campaign to seek candidates over the summer and through enrolment, one Valid Application had been received. The Principal/CEO had also met the applicant informally. In accordance with Standing Order 15, the Committee considered the application as the Board shall not appoint any parent member of the Board unless it has first considered the advice of the Committee.
The Committee also directed the Clerk to review with the Committee Chair the current Governor Appointment Policy and application pack, to ensure they remained effective, appropriate to the Board’s needs and accessible to applicants.
Following the campaign to the seek candidates over the summer, the Committee considered a number of applications received. All had passed Due Diligence and the Clerk sought guidance on next steps. The Committee, having considered the current Board skills set and the Board’s Succession Plan agreed that applicants JAT and GM be invited to meet informally with the either the Chair of the Committee/the Clerk and the Principal/CEO, before further consideration.
With respect to applicant MT, the Committee acknowledged that they had previously been a member of the Board as a Parent Governor. The Committee received assurance from the Board Chair as to the applicant’s skills, qualities and prior contribution to the Finance & Business Operations Committee (of which they had been a member). Having considered the current Board skills set and the Board’s Succession Plan, the Committee agreed to recommend appointment to the Board, subject to the Board Chair undertaking with the applicant their personal performance review for 2018 – 19 and reporting the outcome to Board.
Having declared an interest, Mr R. Heath left the meeting at this point.
Request for Sabbatical
The Board Chair reported that he had received a formal request from Mr R. Heath for a period of Sabbatical Leave of up to six months. The Committee considered the request and, having been satisfied that the Board could sufficiently mitigate any potential skills deficit and quoracy issues, agreed to recommend a period of authorised leave from meetings of the Board for a period of six months from 15 October 2019.
Mr R. Heath returned to the meeting.
Resolved: it was RECOMMENDED TO BOARD that –
- Claire Kerns be appointed as Student Governor (H.E.) for a Term to be determined by the Board, with effect from 15 October 2019;
- Robert Lopez be appointed as Parent Governor (London Road) for a Two Year Term with effect from 15 October 2019;
- Having considered the current Board skills set and the Board’s Succession Plan, Michael Thompson be recommended for appointment to an Independent Governor vacancy for a Term to be determined by the Board, subject to a verbal update from the Board Chair on the outcome of the personal performance review for 2018 – 19; and
- Mr R. Heath be granted a period of authorised leave from attending Board meetings for a period of six months from 15 October 2019 (i.e. Monday, 16 December 2019 and 30 March 2020).
21/19. Committee Membership 2019 – 2020 (Appendix – Agenda item 5b))
The Committee last reviewed the committee structure and membership in September 2018 (approved by Board - Min No. 50/18 refers) (previously circulated).
The Committee considered the current committee membership. Committee evaluation had indicated that, to date, governors considered the current structure/committee mix/numbers appropriate and that the Board was responsive should additional committees or task and finish groups be required. The Committee referred to the most recent Skills Audit and terms of office when considering committee membership for 2019 - 2020.
- Following discussion, in view of the revised Audit Code of Practice guidance the Committee agreed to consider appropriately qualified staff governors as eligible to be members of the Audit Committee, provided they did not work in the Finance Department, nor were significant budget holders. This would help give reassurance to staff that College resources were being appropriately deployed and satisfactory safeguards were in place.
- The Committee agreed to recommend that the Human Resources Committee, the Branding Task Force and the Business & Community Forum be disbanded. It was agreed that the Finance & Business Operations Committee review its Terms of Reference at its next meeting, to consider including HR issues within its remit.
Resolved: it was RECOMMENDED TO BOARD that the Committee Membership 2019 – 2020, with effect from 15 October 2019, be as follows –
C. Sharp (co-opted committee member)
M. Thompson (tbc)
Finance & Business Operations Committee
G. Channon (Chair)
G Mills (tbc)
D. Pulford (co-opted committee member)
Quality, Standards & Curriculum Committee
Co-opted Committee Members
Claire Kearns (HE Student Governor)
McKenna Wood (16 – 18 Student Governor)
G. Channon (ex-officio)
G. Channon (Chair of Board)
Search & Governance Committee
M. Willmot (Chair)
R. Wilson (ex-officio)
G. Channon (ex-officio)
A Allen - Apprenticeships & Marketing
C. Gore – Safeguarding, PREVENT, SEND & E&D
N. Merchant – Risk
R. Sartain – H&S
M. Willmot - HE
Radbrook Foundation – R. Wilson
The following be disbanded –
- Human Resources Committee;
- Branding Task Force; and
- Business and Community Forum.
22/19. Governor Development - Update (Appendix – Agenda Item 7)
Learning Walks Programme 2019 - 2020
The Committee reviewed the Learning Walks that had taken place during 2018 – 19.
- Construction Trades at the London Road Campus in November 2018 (attended by 7 governors); and
- Media, Film & English at English Bridge Campus in June 2019 (attended by 6 governors) and Psychology/Sociology and Business Studies at Welsh Bridge Campus in July 2019 (attended by 5 governors).
Assessment has indicated that both governors and staff continued to appreciate the walks and that the program continued to meet its intended objectives. Going forward, the Committee agreed that consideration be given to including evening provision in the walk programme, to enable governors who worked full-time during the day, to attend.
The Committee agreed that the Clerk seek suggestions from governors on provision areas or themes it may wish to recommend for the Walk Programme for 2019 – 2020.
Mandatory Development Modules
- Safeguarding. The updated ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ Guidance had come into effect. All Governors had been issued with the updated Guidance and a request to return a signed declaration that they had read Part 1. The Director of Curriculum Support was aware of the need to update the Board on Safeguarding generally and this was programmed into the Governor Development Calendar;
- Safeguarding and PREVENT – 95% compliance with the on-line Mandatory development Module, with the expectation of 100% completion, as newly-appointed governors completed the module as part of their Induction targets;
- Equality Essentials – 95% compliance with the on-line Mandatory development Module, with the expectation of 100% completion as newly-appointed governors completed the module as part of their Induction targets;
- Health & Safety - 95% compliance with the Mandatory development Module, with the expectation of 100% completion as newly-appointed governors completed the module as part of their Induction targets;
- GDPR – 90% compliance with the Mandatory development Module, with the expectation of 100% completion as newly-appointed governors completed the module as part of their Induction targets.
Draft Governor Development Plan 2019 - 2020
The Committee reviewed the Draft Governor Development Plan 2019 – 2020 (previously circulated). The Plan aimed to provide a robust but manageable framework that covered both mandatory elements and increasing governors’ understanding of key strategic issues going into the next year. The Clerk advised that, in addition, governors would be encouraged to access the Education & Training Foundation (ETF) Governance modules and that the College had purchased the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association’s 2019 – 2020 Webinar package (details of which tabled at meeting), to further supplement governors’ development.
The Principal/CEO confirmed that it was very likely that the College would receive a full OFSTED Inspection soon and the Board had identified governors who would assist in the Inspection process as part of preparations.
Currently, the identified governors were –
A. Allen (Apprenticeship Link Governor);
G. Channon (Board Chair);
C. Davies (Chair of Q, S & C);
C. Gore (Safeguarding, Prevent and E&D Link Governor);
M. Willmot (Chair of S&G and H.E. Link Governor).
The Committee agreed to include Roger Wilson in this group going forward.
The Principal/CEO explained he would liaise with the Clerk to provide an opportunity for these governors to meet and would share with them examples of questions asked of governors in a recent inspection under the new Education Inspection Framework.
Resolved: That the Draft Governor Development Plan 2019 – 2020, was RECOMMENDED TO BOARD.
Skills Audit 2019
The Committee considered the Board’s Skills Audit, amended to model the impact of governors who would be leaving the Board shortly (previously circulated).
- The Skills Audit showed that all of the key skills identified as required were present with the exception of at least one member having self-assessed a ‘High’ level of expertise/knowledge in ‘understanding local employer needs and skills gaps’. The Committee acknowledged that it should be mindful of this in its search and governor development plans going forward; and
- The revised Audit also indicated that, going forward, search and recruitment activities should address building relevant HR skills within the Board.
As part of the discussions on the College’s Risk Register and Board Assurance Framework agreed (Board Min No. 67/17 refers), the Audit Committee had requested that each committee, at each meeting, examine those risks within its remit and ensure that they had either been identified or adequately discussed at the meeting.
The Committee concluded that the risks identified were adequate and that there had been sufficient discussion of the issues at the meeting, particularly, the need to focus search activities going forward on building relevant HR skills on the Board.
25/19. Verbal Report of Principal/CEO
The Principal/CEO advised the Committee –
- That a letter to college principals and chairs from Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Schools System and Minister with responsibility for the Further Education provider market and Richard Atkins, the FE Commissioner had been sent to the Board Chair;
- That a letter to college principals, chairs and clerks from Richard Atkins, the FE Commissioner, about the recruitment of National Leaders of Further Education (NLFEs) and National Leaders of Governance (NLGs) had been sent to the Board Chair; the closing date for applications being 29 October 2019; and
- Currently, all governors were subject to a DBS Check on appointment. It was now considered appropriate to include a Barring List Check as part of these arrangements. The Committee agreed and supported this additional Check as part of the governor recruitment and appointment process.
Date of Next Scheduled Meeting – 12 February 2020 at 5.30 p.m.
The meeting concluded at 7.45 p.m.