Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Group Minutes of Finance & Business Operations Committee
Date 5th October 22
Time 5.33 pm
Minutes Membership 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).

B. Greenaway, J. Rowe, J. Staniforth and R. Wilson
In Attendance Clerk to the Board, T. Cottee
Apologies None.

18/22. Appointment of Chair of Committee

Resolved: That R. Wilson be appointed Chair of the Committee for the meeting.

R. Wilson in the Chair.

19/22. Declarations of Interest

R. Wilson, with respect to Minute Number 21/22. He withdrew from the meeting during consideration of the item at which his application for a second term was considered.

20/22. Minutes of the Meeting Held 18 May and Special Meeting Held 06 July 2022 (Appendices – Agenda Item 4) (previously circulated)

Resolved: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on held on 18 May and Special Meeting held on 06 July 2022, be approved as a true record.

21/22. Board Vacancies and Succession Planning (Appendix – Agenda Item 5)

1. Board Vacancies and Succession Planning

      • The Nominee to the Student Governor (16 – 19) vacancy; would be appointed at the Board meeting on 10 October 2022.
      • Several candidates had expressed an interest in the HE Student Governor vacancy. It was anticipated that a nominee would be appointed at the December 2022 Board meeting. The Clerk expressed thanks to the Director of Higher Education for their ongoing support in securing high-quality candidates.
      • The Clerk, together with the Student Governor (16-19) Elect, would be attending the upcoming Year 11 Open Evenings, to highlight Board membership opportunities.
      • The Clerk had received the resignation of J. Rowe, effective from 06 September 2022. The Clerk had acknowledged the resignation and Committee members expressed their thanks to Mr Rowe for his support and insight.
      • The Clerk reported that an expression of interest had been received from a member of staff following the Staff Governor Notice of Vacancy. Having established that the staff member was eligible for Nomination, the Committee agreed that they be invited to submit a Nomination.
      • Over the summer, two candidates on the Vacancy Waiting List had withdrawn their expressions of interest, following changes to their personal circumstances. However, five candidates remained on the List. Moreover, an Application from a former student (and former HE Student Governor) had recently been received. The application has passed initial Due Diligence and had been reviewed by the Board Chair and P/CEO. On their advice, the applicant had been invited to submit a further covering letter expanding on their application. This had yet to be received.
      • In accordance with procedure, the Clerk has approached R. Wilson, whose Term ended in March 2023. He had indicated that he would wish to be considered for appointment to a Second Term. Due to the timing, the Committee agreed to consideration of the matter at this meeting.

R. Wilson withdrew from the meeting at this point.

Having considered the Board’s current skills analysis, Mr Wilson’s skills and contribution to the Board during his First Term, the Committee unanimously agreed to –

Recommend It was recommended to Board: That R. Wilson be appointed for Second Term of 4 years from 25 March 2023 – 31 March 2027 (i.e. to run consecutively on the completion of his First Term).

R. Wilson re-joined the meeting at this point.

2. Committee membership 2022 – 2023

According to Standing Orders 5.1 & 6.1, members and chairs of committees were appointed annually; committee membership being approved at Board. Having considered the skills audit and the personal preferences received, a proposed committee membership for 2022 – 23 was considered (previously circulated) and following discussion was agreed.

Resolved: It was recommended to Board that the Committee Membership 2022 – 2023, with effect from 10 October 2022, be approved.

22/22. Governor Development – Update (Appendix – Agenda Item 6)

The Committee considered the latest update (previously circulated) on –

1. Learning Walks and Governor Social Programme 2022 - 2023

      • One Learning Walk had already been undertaken – a site visit to land at the London Road Campus and Wakeman Fields, Shrewsbury – in late August 2022. This was well-attended and provided useful context for discussion of estates issues affecting these sites going forward.
      • The first college provision Walk would take place at London Road Campus week commencing 05 December 2022.
      • The next governor ‘social’ was on 09 November 2022.
      • The date for a visit to Newcastle and Stafford College Group was being finalised.

2. Mandatory Development Modules

      • The review of completion of the mandatory development modules noted that there were a number of newly appointed governors on the Induction Programme and that the KCSiE 2022 Mandatory development had only just been released. The Committee continued to anticipate that all Induction Development Modules for these governors to be completed by the targets set.
      • The Assistant Principal, Curriculum and Support would also present the Annual Safeguarding Report to the Board in December 2022, and this was programmed into the Governor Development Plan 2022 – 2023.

3. Governor Development Plan 2022 – 2023

      • The online Governance Development Programme hosted by the Education & Training Foundation (ETF) had been transferred to another learning platform FutureLearn. The Clerk would ensure all governors were enrolled.
      • The Board had again subscribed to the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association’s (SFCA) Webinar Programme. Several governors had already attended the first webinars produced as part of the 2022 – 23 programme and reported back positively. The impact had been that those governors had felt able to participate more fully in Board business.
      • For 2022 – 2023, governors also had access to the National Online College, as well as having the benefit of development briefings before and in meetings from qualified staff.
      • From the 2021-2022 funding agreement onwards, boards must report in their annual reports on activity undertaken over the year to develop governors/trustees and the head of governance/clerk. The Committee acknowledged that the Board having access to a wide range of sources of development, both external and internal would make a good account in the Financial Statements of development undertaken during 2021 – 2022. This high level of engagement was expected to continue into 2022 – 2023.
      • The Board Chair had directed the Clerk to create an Individual Governor Development Record Card, to effectively track development undertaken. He would remind all governors to report to the Clerk any development undertaken at the next Board meeting.

4. Skills Audit

The Board Skills Audit had been updated to include the most recently appointed governors. The Audit showed that all the key skills identified as required were present. Recent appointments had self-assessed a ‘High’ level of expertise/knowledge in ‘understanding local employer needs and skills gaps’.

23/22. Board Quality Improvement Plan 2021 – 2022 – Progress (Appendix – Agenda Item 7)

The Committee reviewed progress against the 2021 – 2022 Board Quality Improvement Plan (previously circulated). The two actions off-track reported at the last meeting (S&G Min. No. 10/22 refers) were now back on track to be achieved by the revised target dates.

The QuIP for 2022 – 2023, would be based on the results of the self-assessment and external review programmes held throughout 2020 – 2021 and committee evaluation in 2021 – 2022, although no issues of serious concern had been raised. 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.

24/22. Terms of Reference (Appendix - Agenda Item 8)

Committee self-assessment conducted in July 2022, had concluded that the Terms covered all the relevant areas of business. The Clerk had also undertaken an assessment against ‘best practice’ examples; the current terms reflect good practice in the sector.

25/22. Risk

It was 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 6.15 p.m.