Based on NGA model scheme of delegation model 1 – delegation to Academy Committees
The NGA models do not use overly complicated legal terminology. Instead they are intended to be working documents that the trust board and executive leaders should be able to revise and adapt in response to their context and circumstances.
An effective scheme of delegation:
- Promotes a culture of honesty and accountability
- Ensures the executive leadership is clear about which decisions the trust board remain in control of
- Identifies responsibility for the appointment and performance management of the Executive Headteacher and Academy Headteachers
- Ensures that the role of the executive leadership is fully understood throughout the MAT
- Identifies responsibility for policy and practice in each academy
- Identifies responsibility for oversight of educational performance in each academy
- Identifies responsibility for oversight of each academy’s budget
- Identifies responsibility for assessment of risk in each academy
Model 1: delegation to academy committees
Lines of Accountability
- The Trust Board (TB) is responsible for the three core governance functions (see below)
- The TB appoints the Executive Headteacher (EHT), to whom it delegates responsibility for delivery of its vision and strategy, and will hold the EHT to account for the conduct and performance of the Trust, including the performance of the academies within the Trust, and for its financial management
- In turn, the EHT line manages other senior executives and the academies’ headteachers, setting their targets and performance managing them
- The TB has overall responsibility for progress and attainment, financial affairs and the use of resources efficiently to maximise outcomes for pupils. It delegates, currently, authority for Audit, Finance and Resources to the Finance Committee. As a TB committee, at least three trustees must sit on it
- The TB delegates some of its school level monitoring and scrutinising functions to Academy Committees (previously called Local Governing Bodies), and uses these committees to promote stakeholder engagement and as a point of consultation and representation
- Trustees do not need to sit on Academy Committees (ACs), and so lines of communication to the board of trustees must be clearly established. The EHT is likely to seek input from the chair of the AC when undertaking the headteacher’s performance management
- As the headteacher is being line managed by the EHT, the AC no longer carries out the governance function of holding the headteacher to account. However, they must be confident that the Trust’s performance management systems are working well, and if not, how they can make the Trust aware of their concerns. This arrangement will also affect the AC’s role in Ofsted inspections
Roles and Responsibilities
The role of the Members
The Members of the Trust are guardians of the governance of the Trust and as such have a different status to Trustees. Originally, they will have been the signatories to the Memorandum of Association and will have agreed the trust’s first Articles of Association (the legal document which outlines the governance structure and how the Trust will operate). The Articles of Association will also describe how Members are recruited and replaced, and how many of the Trustees the Members can appoint to the trust board. The Members appoint Trustees to ensure that the Trust’s charitable object is carried out and so must be able to remove Trustees if they fail to fulfil this responsibility. Accordingly, the Trust Board submits an annual report on the performance of the Trust to the Members. Members are also responsible for approving any amendments made to the Trust’s Articles of Association.
There must be at least three Members, although the DfE prefer at least five, and while Members are permitted to be appointed as Trustees, in order to retain a degree of separation of powers between the Members and the Trust Board, and in line with DfE expectations, not all Members should be Trustees. Members are not permitted to be employees of the Multi Academy Trust (MAT).
The role of the Trustees
The MAT is a charitable company and so Trustees are both Charity Trustees (within the terms of section 177(1) of the Charities Act 2011) and Company Directors. Because Trustees are bound by both charity and company law, the terms ‘Trustees’ and ‘Directors’ are often used interchangeably. NGA uses the term Trustee as it avoids the possible confusion caused when executive leaders are called Directors but are neither Company Directors nor Trustees.
The Trustees are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the Trust, and in accordance with the provisions set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association and its funding agreement, it is legally responsible and accountable for all statutory functions, for the performance of all schools within the Trust, and must approve a written Scheme of Delegation of Financial Powers that maintains robust internal control arrangements. In addition, the TB must carry out the three core governance functions, which are to:
- Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Hold executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the Trust’s schools and their pupils, and the performance management of staff
- Oversee the financial performance of the Trust and make sure its money is well spent
The TB has the right to review and adapt its governance structure at any time which includes removing delegation.
The role of Trust Board Committees
The TB establishes committees to carry out some of its governance functions which may include making decisions, although any decisions made will be deemed decisions of the Trust Board. The membership (there must be at least three trustees) and responsibilities of Board Committees are set out in the committee’s terms of reference. The TB appoints Board Committee Chairs and Committee members according to their skills.
The Academies Financial Handbook 2016 makes it clear that the Trust Board ‘should have a finance committee to which the board delegates financial scrutiny and oversight’. In this Trust the Finance Committee incorporates Audit as our income does not exceed the threshold for a separate committee to be required.
The role of the Executive Headteacher (EHT)
The EHT has the delegated responsibility for the operation of the Trust including the performance of the trust’s academies and so the EHT performance manages the academy Headteachers. As there is the delegation of some governance functions to Academy Committees, this is usually with the Academy Committee Chair alongside.
The EHT is the accounting officer so has overall responsibility for the operation of the Academy Trust’s financial responsibilities and must ensure that the organisation is run with financial effectiveness and stability; avoiding waste and securing value for money.
The EHT leads the executive management team of the Academy Trust. The EHT will delegate executive management functions to the executive management team and is accountable to the Trust Board for the performance of the executive management team.
The role of the Academy Committees
The Trustees establish Academy Committees to carry out some of its school level governance functions, although as Trustees are not required to sit on Academy Committees, decision making is limited. The Trustees will confirm the Chair/Vice Chair appointment, and ensure that up to three parents are elected to the Academy Committee.
Delegated functions include:
- Building an understanding of how the school is led and managed
Monitoring whether the school is:
- Working within agreed policies
- Is meeting the agreed targets
- Managing its finances well
- Engaging with stakeholders
- Being a point of consultation and representation
- Reporting to the board
- Ensuring that all children, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum
As a committee of the board, delegation can be removed at any time.
The role of the Academy Headteacher
The Academy Headteacher is responsible for the day to day management of the academy and is managed by the Executive Headteacher but reports to the Academy Committee on matters which have been delegated to it which may include an element of monitoring and scrutiny of the school’s management processes.