Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Group Minutes of Finance & Business Operations Committee
Date 10th May 23
Time 5.32 pm
Minutes Membership In attendance

B. Greenaway, G. Mills, J. Staniforth and R. Wilson (Chair).

In attendance by electronic device and contributing towards the meeting quorum, in accordance with Instrument 12. (Members may count towards the quorum if they are able to be present by electronic or digital communication (including attendance by video conferencing or telephone conferencing).

J. Hoyland.

In attendance:
T. Cottee – Clerk to the Board
Apologies None.

09/23. Declarations of Interest


10/23. Minutes of the Meeting Held 08 March 2023 (Appendices – Agenda Item 3) (previously circulated)

Resolved: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on held on 08 March 2023, be approved as a true record.

11/23. Board Vacancies and Succession Planning (Appendix – Agenda Item 4)

The Committee considered the report (previously circulated).

        • Regarding Board membership, apart from the departure of the 16 – 19 student governor in July 2023, 1 Independent Governor’s First Four-Year Term was due to end in 2023, having previously served as a Parent Governor for a Two Year Term, with a six-month break in between appointments. In accordance with procedures, the Clerk had approached the Governor and they had indicated that they would seek appointment to a further Term, if invited. The Committee acknowledged that the Board’s Standing Orders stated that, in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, a Governor should not serve for more than two consecutive periods of four years and that this should be taken into consideration. It was AGREED that the Committee consider this application at its next meeting. The Committee also requested that the Report, going forward, include Term start dates, as well as term end dates.
        • The Student Union Executive (SUE) had submitted a Valid Nomination to the Student Governor (16 – 19) position, which would become vacant from 31 July 2023. This Nomination would be submitted to the Board at its meeting in July.
        • The recent departure of 1 Appointed and 1 Parent Governor had affected the Board’s skills set with respect to Safeguarding and EDI. There were now vacancies for Link Governors for Safeguarding and E&D respectively. The Committee considered how these important roles could be filled and AGREED that –
        • the Vice Principal, Students & Partnerships meet with J. Hoyland to discuss her possible appointment to the role.
        • The Clerk approach suitably skilled Appointed Governors to seek expressions of interest for appointment to the EDI Link Governor role.
      • The Committee received a verbal update on the Wait List for opportunities to join the Board –

      Candidate No.



      An informal meeting date had been arranged.


      The candidate had withdrawn.  The withdrawal was not related to the candidate’s experience or the application process itself.


      The Applicant had confirmed they would submit a formal application.


      The Application would not be progressed as, despite several attempts, the applicant had not engaged further other than to apply.


      The Committee directed that the applicant be offered the opportunity of an informal discussion with the P/CEO, to establish their motivations for seeking an opportunity to join the Board. 


      The candidate had withdrawn.  The withdrawal was not related to the candidate’s experience of interview or the application process itself.  


      The applicant would not be able to attend the college in person on a regular basis.  As this was an expectation of eligibility to join the Board, it was agreed not to proceed with the Application. 


      Applicant had been invited for formal interview.

      12/23. Board Vacancies and Succession Planning (Confidential Appendices – Agenda Item 5)

      There was currently one Independent Governor Vacancy on the Board. In accordance with procedures, the Clerk had contacted the Board’s Wait List candidates to seek expressions of interest to the current and upcoming vacancies. One candidate was available for immediate interview. The candidate had passed Due Diligence Checks and had met informally with the P/CEO.

      Following the informal meeting, the candidate had been recommended for formal interview.

      The Committee interviewed formally the shortlisted candidate, based on an assessment of a submitted CV and application form/skills audit (previously circulated).

      Having considered the skills and experience of the candidate, the future skills requirements of the Board and to maintain quality governance, the Committee made the following recommendation –

      Resolved: It was recommended to Board that A. Prichard be appointed as a Governor for a Term of Four Years with effect from 01 June 2023.

      Action: Item to Board

      13/23. Board Quality Improvement Plan 2022 – 2023 – Progress (Appendix – Agenda Item 6)

      The Committee reviewed progress against the 2022 – 2023 Board Quality Improvement Plan (previously circulated). Actions were on track to be achieved by the target dates.

      The Learning Walk postponed due to inclement weather would be held after Summer Half Term.

      14/23. Board Strategy & Development Day – Evaluation Results (Appendix – Agenda Item 7)

      The Committee reviewed the results of the evaluation of the Strategic Development Event held on 21 April 2023 (previously circulated). The feedback would be used to inform the planning of the next event and the governor development programme going forward.

      The results indicated a positive evaluation of the event, with improved evaluation scores from the 2022 event, where comparison was possible. Of note:

            • An improved response rate: 73% (2022 = 50%)
            • Improved positive evaluation of the event overall
              • The Board Strategy and Development Day overall met my expectations and was relevant to my role (Average rating: 4.63. 2022 = 4.17)
              • Overall, the Board Strategy and Development Day was productive (Average rating: 4.50. 2022 = 4.17)
              • ‘Was there enough opportunity to discuss the issues raised?’ (Average rating: 4.25. 2022 = 3.83)
            • The most valuable and useful parts of the event cited by respondents included –
              • Sector Update
              • Accountability Agreements and the Skills Review
              • Meeting team and understanding role.

            Further governor development needs highlighted by the evaluation focussed on governors' approach to the new requirements for skills provision. The Committee AGREED that the Board Chair and P/CEO discuss how these development needs would be most effectively met.

            15/23. Changes to the FE Governance Handbook (Appendix, Agenda Item 8)

            The Committee considered a report (previously circulated) on updates to the FE governance guide published on the 2 March 2023. Notwithstanding that as a designated sixth form college the college needed to be cognisant of sixth form college governance, the college had considered the updated Guide and as appropriate it had been incorporated into the Board’s Information Pack and was being used to inform Governor Induction. This was confirmed by the most recently appointed Governor present at the meeting.

            It was now recommended that Boards should have a governor who took a particular strategic interest in support for disabled students and should ensure that it had a lead governor to help it discharge its responsibilities for students with SEND. The Board had included SEN within the remit of the EDI Link Governor. The Committee AGREED that this remained appropriate considering the Guidance.

            16/23. Draft Calendar of Meetings 2023 – 2024 (Appendix: Agenda Item 9)

            The Committee reviewed the Draft Calendar of Board and Committee Meetings proposed for 2023 – 2024 (previously circulated. There were no major changes to the pattern of meetings regarding frequency held, dates, times established in the 2022 -23 Calendar.

            The Senior Leadership Team was reviewing the Draft Calendar to ensure that the meetings coincided with the colleges’ financial and quality cycles, to ensure that the Board received timely and accurate information and that it would be presented at the July Board meeting.

            17/23. Governance Self-Assessment 2022 – 2023 - Planning & Approach (Appendix: Agenda item 10)

            In line with the funding agreement, and the regular reviews expected by governance codes, the Board must conduct an annual governance self-assessment.

            For 2021/22, self-assessment had consisted of –

                • Committee evaluation
                • Appointed Governor evaluation of the Board Chair and Clerk.

            The Committee agreed that the Board’s focus at this point should be on delivering the Strategic Development Plan and taking the opportunity to reflect on governance practices. It therefore agreed that the annual committee evaluations provided useful information and assurance on the effectiveness of governance arrangements and should be undertaken again this year. It also agreed that they should be undertaken during the Committee meeting. The Board Chair agreed that a discussion would be included on the July Board agenda.

            The Committee had already discussed the requirement to have external reviews and agreed to schedule this during 2023/24. As this would be a major undertaking, any self-assessment conducted for 2022/23, should add value to that process.

            Action: Clerk to include committee evaluation on committee agendas

            18/23. Risk

            It agreed that there had been sufficient discussion of the other risk issues at the meeting, particularly, the need to focus search activities going forward.

            The meeting concluded at 6.55 p.m.