The Department for Education now requires that all FE College Corporation and Designated Institutions in England to undertake an external governance effectiveness review every 3 years and has published guidance on what they expect as part of the requirements of the Skills for Jobs White Paper (2021).
Advance HE has worked with our College members to scope and create an offer that enables Colleges to meet the requirements of the Department for Education while understanding the unique set of challenges that College governance faces, particularly for those operating within a mixed economy of further and higher education.
This collaborative project will support participants to create an effective and affordable approach for colleges to conduct a review as a group with the ability to benchmark performance. The project will also offer opportunities for sharing best practice across college governance and will assess governance performance in both further and higher education requirements at a high level.
Dan Tinkler, Governance Development Manager, Advance HE and Karen Taylor, Membership Manager, Advance HE provided a briefing session on 10 October for the project:
- The project will run over 6 months, starting January 2023 - June 2023.
- The deadline to join is 18 December 2022.
- There will be space for up to 6 colleges available.
- Development options will include 2 collaborative workshops for up to 3 participants from each college.
- The cost to join is £6,000 per member institution.
Advance HE is committed to supporting the college-based higher education community. We understand that budgets are limited for these providers. To support you we have developed this collaborative model to support a cost-effective approach for a group of colleges.
The project will seek to work with up to 6 colleges to provide a group approach to reviews with appropriate benchmarking making use of the governance benchmarking survey. Our approach allows us to gain unique insights in to each participants governance arrangements but also to create a wider understanding of governance practices as a cohort of colleges operating within a mixed economy. The project will consist of 6 elements:
- Steering group meetings
- Advance HE benchmarking survey
- Analysis of key documents from each institution against compliance and best practice
- Interviews and board observation
- Production of an overall project report with sector benchmarking and comparative analysis
- Development workshops.
Through working with Advance HE, institutions have reported tangible impacts of their governance effectiveness reviews, including:
- becoming more strategically focused and forward-thinking
- helping to foster a more ‘can do’ attitude for the Secretariat
- helping to foster buy-in and engagement by college members
- creating an environment where the Board is more comfortable in taking action
- helping foster an environment of continuous improvement and responsiveness to feedback
- creating a better understanding of members’ roles and contributions
- improving member recruitment and induction
- raising the profile and importance of EDI.
Governance Effectiveness Framework
During 2020 we updated our Framework for Governance Effectiveness to enable all higher education providers, regardless of their form, to understand the key components of good governance practice and their current performance in relation to them. This framework has drawn upon multiple codes of governance in higher education, including the Association of Colleges Code of Good Governance (2015).