Code of conduct for members, trustees and governors
Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust is a multi-academy trust (MAT) incorporated around the principles and values of the international co-operative movement. These are Equality, Equity, Democracy, Self-help, Self-Responsibility and Solidarity, along with the ethical values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others. These values and principles underpin all our actions. Governors are required to uphold and act in accordance with the co-operative values and principles in all they do or say in relation to their role.
This Code should be read in conjunction with the relevant law and for academies, their articles of association and agreed scheme of delegation which can be found on the organisational documents page.
The local governing body has the following 3 strategic functions
Establishing the strategic direction, by:
- Setting and ensuring clarity of vision, values, and objectives for the school(s)/trust
- Agreeing the school improvement strategy with priorities and targets
- Meeting statutory duties
Ensuring accountability, by:
- Monitoring the educational performance of the school/s and progress towards agreed targets
- Engaging with stakeholders
- Contributing to school self-evaluation
Overseeing financial performance, by:
- Setting and recommending the budget to the trust board
- Monitoring spending against the budget
- Ensuring money is well spent and value for money is obtained
- Ensuring risks to the organisation are managed
Ensure that other key players with a stake in the organisation get their voices heard by:
- Gathering the views of pupils, parents and staff and reporting on the results.
- Reaching out to the school’s wider community and inviting them to play their part.
- Using the views of stakeholders to shape the school’s culture and the underpinning strategy, policies and procedures.
Role & Responsibilities
- We understand the purpose of the local governing body and its strategic role.
- We understand how the role of the local governing body differs from and works with others including the headteacher/head of school and where appropriate, executive leaders, trust board and trust committees.
- We accept that we have no legal authority to act individually, except when the trust board has given us delegated authority to do so, and therefore we will only speak on behalf of the local governing body when we have been specifically authorised to do so.
- We accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the local governing body or its delegated agents. This means that we will not speak against majority decisions outside the local governing body meeting.
- We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all that is expected of a good employer.
- We will encourage open governance and will act appropriately.
- We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the community and other schools.
- We will always be mindful of our responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of our school/group of schools. Our actions within the school and the local community will reflect this.
- In making or responding to criticism or complaints we will follow the procedures established by the trust board.
- We will actively support and challenge the headteacher/head of school/executive leaders.
- We will accept and respect the difference in roles between the local governing body and staff, ensuring that we work collectively for the benefit of the organisation.
- We will respect the role of the headteacher/head of school/executive leaders and their responsibility for the day to day management of the organisation and avoid any actions that might undermine such arrangements.
- We agree to adhere to the school’s rules and polices and the procedures of the local governing body as set out by the relevant governing documents and law.
- When formally speaking or writing in our governing role we will ensure our comments reflect current organisational policy even if they might be different to our personal views
- When communicating in our private capacity (including on social media) we will be mindful of and strive to uphold the reputation of the organisation.
- We will avoid, as far as possible, becoming involved in any communication which may lead to a conflict of interest with the role of the local governing body.
- We acknowledge that accepting office as a governor involves the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy.
- We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of the local governing body and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service on committees or working groups.
- We will make full efforts to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend explain in advance why we are unable to.
- We will get to know the school well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.
- We will visit the school, with all visits arranged in advance with the senior executive leader/headteacher/head of school and undertaken within the framework established by the local governing body.
- When visiting the school in a personal capacity (i.e. as a parent or carer), we will maintain our underlying responsibility as a governor.
- We will consider seriously our individual and collective needs for induction, training and development, and will undertake relevant training.
- We accept that in the interests of open governance, our full names, date of appointment, terms of office, roles on the local governing body, attendance records, relevant business and pecuniary interests, category of governor and the body responsible for appointing us will be published on the school’s website.
- In the interests of transparency we accept that information relating to governors will be collected and logged on the DfE’s national database of governors (Get information about schools).
- We will strive to work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted.
- We will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in all our communications with other governors, the clerk to the local governing body, trustees and school staff both in and outside of meetings.
- We will support the chair in their role of ensuring appropriate conduct both at meetings and at all times.
- We will confront malpractice by speaking up against and bringing to the attention of the relevant authorities’ any decisions and actions that conflict with the Seven Principles of Public Life (see annex) or which may place pupils at risk.
- We are prepared to answer queries from other local governing body members in relation to delegated functions and take into account any concerns expressed, and we will acknowledge the time, effort and skills that have been committed to the delegated function by those involved.
- We will seek to develop effective working relationships with the executive leaders, staff and parents, the trust, the local authority and other relevant agencies and the community.
- We will observe complete confidentiality when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern specific members of staff or pupils, both inside or outside school.
- We will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding school/trust business arise outside a local governing body meeting.
- We will not reveal the details of any local governing body vote.
- We will ensure all confidential papers are held and disposed of appropriately.
Conflicts of interest
- We will record any pecuniary or other business interest (including those related to people we are connected with) that we have in connection with the local governing body’s business in the Register of Business Interests, and if any such conflicted matter arises in a meeting we will offer to leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time.
- We accept that the Register of Business Interests will be published on the school/trust’s website.
- We will also declare any conflict of loyalty at the start of any meeting should the situation arise.
- We will act in the best interests of the school as a whole and not as a representative of any group, even if elected to the local governing body.
Ceasing to be a governor
- We understand that the requirements relating to confidentiality will continue to apply after a governor leaves office.
Breach of this code of conduct
- If we believe this code has been breached, we will raise this issue with the chair and the chair will investigate; the local governing body will only use suspension/removal as a last resort after seeking to resolve any difficulties or disputes in more constructive ways.
- Should it be the chair that we believe has breached this code, another local governing body member, such as the vice chair will investigate.
The seven principles of public life
Originally published by the Nolan Committee: The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established by the then Prime Minister in October 1994, under the Chairmanship of Lord Nolan, to consider standards of conduct in various areas of public life, and to make recommendations).
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Holders of public office should be truthful
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
The Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education
The Ethical Leadership Commission has developed the following Framework for Ethical Leadership to help school leaders take difficult decisions. As important as the language is, these aren’t just fine words, they are meant to support a culture in which ethical decision making can flourish.
- Selflessness School and college leaders should act solely in the interest of children and young people.
- Integrity School and college leaders must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. Before acting and taking decisions, they must declare and resolve openly any perceived conflict of interest and relationships.
- Objectivity School and college leaders must act and take decisions impartially and fairly, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias. Leaders should be dispassionate, exercising judgement and analysis for the good of children and young people.
- Accountability School and college leaders are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
- Openness School and college leaders should expect to act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from scrutiny unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
- Honesty School and college leaders should be truthful.
- Leadership School and college leaders should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles, and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs. Leaders include both those who are paid to lead schools and colleges and those who volunteer to govern them.
Schools and colleges serve children and young people and help them grow into fulfilled and valued citizens. As role models for the young, how we behave as leaders is as important as what we do. Leaders should show leadership through the following personal characteristics or virtues:
- Trust: leaders are trustworthy and reliable
We hold trust on behalf of children and should be beyond reproach. We are honest about our motivations.
- Wisdom: leaders use experience, knowledge and insight
We demonstrate moderation and self-awareness. We act calmly and rationally. We serve our schools and colleges with propriety and good sense.
- Kindness: leaders demonstrate respect, generosity of spirit, understanding and good temper
We give difficult messages humanely where conflict is unavoidable.
- Justice: leaders are fair and work for the good of all children
We seek to enable all young people to lead useful, happy and fulfilling lives.
- Service: leaders are conscientious and dutiful
We demonstrate humility and self-control, supporting the structures, conventions and rules which safeguard quality. Our actions protect high-quality education.
- Courage: leaders work courageously in the best interests of children and young people
We protect their safety and their right to a broad, effective and creative education. We hold one another to account courageously.
- Optimism: leaders are positive and encouraging
Despite difficulties and pressures, we are developing excellent education to change the world for the better.
As a co-operative we have adopted internationally recognised co-operative values and ethical values. These values are embedded in our ethos and apply them to pupils, staff and governance.
The ability to find your own solutions and answers and to act independently.
Taking responsibility for your own actions, learning and behaviours and the consequences of them.
The belief that everyone is equal.
Fairness and making sure that everyone has what they need to achieve equally.
Everyone has a voice that must be used respectfully, sharing responsibility for improving things.
Standing together to support those who may not be as strong.
We also apply the ethical values of:
Not hiding things or pretending they are different from how they are. Taking on new ideas.
Being truthful and not saying things that will hurt or undermine others.
Being responsible for more than just yourself, acting in ways that make things better for all.
Caring for others
Thinking about the needs of others and acting to ensure they are looked after.