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Clerking and Support Service

Clerking and Support Service

Bolton Governance Services provides quality and value for money services for governing and trust boards of authority maintained schools, non-maintained schools and academy trusts. It is a tried and tested service that provides governance expertise to the majority of establishments within the Bolton area. The combined experience of the governance professionals employed by the service means that boards receive first class support in the modern world of education governance. Not only does the service provide effective organisation and administrative support, but more importantly, helps boards understand their role, functions and legal duties through quality assured clerking, training and development.

Governing and trust boards should demand high standards from their governance professionals and this is why Bolton Governance Services has a commitment to provide access to officers that are fully trained in governance law and procedure and keep up to date with changes in the governance and educational landscape.

Copies of the current Service Level Agreement may be downloaded below for both maintained governing boards and academy trust boards. Costings are available on request.

Clerking and Support Services

All governing and trust boards must appoint a clerk to the board. This role has changed significantly and has much greater prominence. The role should be undertaken by a suitably qualified, professional person who is capable of providing the detailed knowledge of governance procedure that governors and trustees require to operate within their core functions. Bolton Governance Services provides governance professionals that have undertaken the National Clerks Development Programme and thorough internal development.

 

Information, Support and Advice
Through the service you can expect:
  • An information and advice service whereby governors, trustees and school leaders can email or telephone for guidance on governance procedure and law.
  • A dedicated website for governance in Bolton (The Governor Exchange) with regular e-briefings to all trustees and governors in order to provide guidance and information on matters concerning academy and school governance.
  • Governance Surgeries to be provided on the last Friday of each calendar month to provide an opportunity for governors and trustees to talk to lead officers about individual matters of concern.
  • Access to termly strategic Chairs’ Briefing sessions free of charge and preferential rates for conferences and events.
  • Collaboration with other teams and departments within the Local Authority as well as external partners such as the NGA (National Governance Association), NCOGS (National Co-ordinators of Governor Services) and local diocesan departments; therefore acting as an access point to other areas of expertise as appropriate.
  • The promotion and facilitation of school to school support and networking including the sharing of good practice (whilst maintaining complete confidentially, where appropriate) between the family of Bolton schools and academies.
Membership, Record Maintenance and Structures 
Through the service you can expect:
  • The maintenance of records and governance structures as well as governor and trustee attendances at meetings, monitor the application of regulations/articles on non-attendance, and, where appropriate, write to non-attending governors and trustees.
  • New governors and trustees to be notified of their appointment and be provided with a copy of the ‘Welcome to Governance’ pack and other relevant induction material.
  • New chairs of governing and trust boards to receive an introductory pack on appointment (which includes a copy of the NGA publication for chairs) and provide opportunities for specific training and development to assist them in their strategic role.
  • All pre-appointment clearance procedures to be completed for new and re-appointed governors and trustees including facilitation with annual returns for the register of interests.
  • Assistance with the requirements of DBS checks for governors and trustees by providing advice and guidance as well as facilitating the annual return of self-certification forms, where appropriate.
  • The maintenance of a database of all governor appointments, which includes personal and contact information, terms of office, meeting and training attendances and offices held, with reports generated on request (data stored securely in compliance with the Data Protection Act)
  • At least two months’ notice to be provided to appointing bodies of any expiry of terms of office of governors and trustees.
  • Assistance for governing and trust boards in organising their workload and establishing effective terms of reference and structures of delegation.
Agendas and Meeting Notification
Through the service you can expect:
  • The clerk to establish mutually convenient dates for the academic year in advance.
  • The production and approval (with the chair and head teacher / principal) of comprehensive draft agendas which include relevant strategic items, highlighting local and national matters of interest affecting governance and education.
  • Governors and trustees to receive written notice in advance of meetings which are to take place.
  • Agendas and available supporting documentation to be made available to governors and trustees at least seven/fourteen clear days before the date of the meeting. (depending on arrangements)
  • The facilitation of paperless meetings by providing access to the ‘Bolton Governance Gateway’, a secure online portal to manage meeting documentation and notifications of meetings.
Clerking and Minute Taking
Support provided by a Governance Support Officer / Clerk to the Board
Through the service you can expect:
  • To be allocated a Governance Support Officer (Clerk to the Board) who is experienced in minute writing, governance procedure and law who can produce accurate records of meetings including recording of resolutions and effective challenge and support.
  • All clerks to have undertaken the National Clerks’ Development Programme provided by the National Governance Association
  • All clerks to be experienced in both academy and school governance law and procedure.
  • All clerks to undertake regular internal and external CPD (Continuing Professional Development) opportunities to ensure their knowledge base on governance and education is maintained.
  • The clerk to prepare comprehensive draft minutes of meetings within 15 schools days of the meeting, agree them with the Chair and make a copy available to all governors via email and circulate with the next agenda.
  • The clerk to undertake follow up action as appropriate and/or refer matters for action as relevant and ensure these are reported to the next meeting.
Support provided by a Minute Clerk
Through the service you can expect:
  • The choice of purchasing a service whereby a Minute Clerk will attend to minute the meeting and provide advice on meeting procedure in order for the meeting to function effectively.
  • Minute Clerks to be available to provide basic support for committee and additional board meetings. It is expected that a fully trained Governance Support Officer will support core meetings. The Minute Clerk will not provide higher level advice and guidance as expected from a Governance Support Officer (Clerk to Board)
  • Service support and issuing of an agenda to be conducted by an assigned Governance Support Officer.
  • The Minute Clerk to prepare draft minutes of meetings within 10 school days of the meeting, agree them with the Chair and circulate a copy with the next agenda. (Minutes to follow a similar format to those provided by the core service; however, the notes will not be as detailed)
  • Minute Clerks to undertake regular internal CPD opportunities to ensure their knowledge of governance meeting procedure is maintained.
  • These meetings will be supported by the online Governance Gateway unless requested otherwise. Additional costs will be incurred for documentation provided in paper format for these meeting.

Support for Maintained Governing Boards

As well as supporting core governing board meetings, support can also be provided for the servicing of additional board or committee meetings, which include:

  • Working committees such as finance, resources, school effectiveness etc.
  • Working groups such as collaborative, raising achievement and specific project groups.
  • Additional or extra-ordinary board meetings.

Specialist support for Pupil Discipline, Staff Appeals and Complaints Committee meetings can also be provided which includes the following:

  • The planning, preparation and clerking of the statutory committee by a specialist trained Governance Support Officer.
  • Indemnified advice and guidance on statutory law and procedure throughout the process.
  • Contact and date planning with parents and committee members.
  • Proof reading of all documentation for relevance and appropriateness and providing paper bundles for all recipients.
  • Follow up letter with committees decision written and dispatched within 1 working day.
  • Minutes prepared and approved within 15 school days.

Support for Academy & Multi-Academy Trusts

The Governance Services are aware of that academy trusts, especially multi-academy trusts, can have complex governance structures and to this end, we ensure robust support through the clerking and support service. As well as supporting core trust board meetings, support can also be provided for the servicing of additional trust board and committee meetings, which include:

  • Working trust committees such as finance, resources, audit and risk etc.
  • Working groups such as collaborative, raising achievement and specific project groups.
  • Additional or extra-ordinary trust board meetings.
  • Trust member meetings.
  • Local governing board meetings *

* A small management fee for each local Governing Board will be payable in respect of record and membership management, induction support for new local governors and chair of the local board, preferential rates at conferences and events and attendance by the local chair at termly chairs’ briefings.

Services for local governing boards of those trusts not already supported through the clerking service will be charged the same as a single academy trust and receive all related benefits.

Specials support for Pupil Discipline, Staff Appeals and Complaints Committee meetings can also be provided which includes the following:

  • The planning, preparation and clerking of the statutory committee by a specialist trained Governance Support Officer.
  • Indemnified advice and guidance on statutory law and procedure throughout the process.
  • Contact and date planning with parents and committee members
  • Proof reading of all documentation for relevance and appropriateness and providing paper bundles for all recipients.
  • Follow up letter with committees decision written and dispatched within 1 working day
  • Minutes prepared and approved within 15 school days.

Further Information about the Clerking and Support Service

If you are a governor or trustee of a governing or trust board that already purchases the Clerking and Support Service and you would like to discuss any matter relating to your service offer , please speak to your Clerk to Governors in the first instance or Judith Pollard, Senior Governance Support Officer on 01204 338601 or via email at judith.pollard@bolton.gov.uk

If you are interested in purchasing a comprehensive Clerking and Support service and would like further information, costings or an informal discussion, please contact John Ashworth, Governance Services Manager on 01204 338603 or via email at john.ashworth@bolton.gov.uk.