Model Code of Conduct for Trust Boards
The following Code of Conduct applies to trustees at all levels of school governance and promotes effective working practices that are mutually supportive and respectful of roles & responsibilities.
Birmingham City Council (BCC) commends this model code of conduct for adoption by maintained school and academy Trust Boards.
School trustees make an invaluable contribution to the lives of our children. Being a trustee involves significant amounts of time and energy. All those elected or appointed to Trust Boards should fulfil their duties in line with the law, the Governance Handbook and the seven principles of public life (see Appendix). In addition, trustees should comply with the DfE Competency Framework for Governance, which expects all those involved in governance to be:
Where a prospective trustee has been or is already a governor/trustee of another school, the Chair should speak to the Chair of the other Governing/Trust Board to discuss both the skills of the individual and, where appropriate, their capacity to commit sufficient time to serve effectively on another Trust Board.
BCC expects Governing Boards and academy trusts to monitor and account for the circumstances within which it is genuinely appropriate for any individual to be a governor/trustee of more than one school, and give careful consideration as to whether it is in the interests of their school(s) to re-appoint governors and office holders for successive terms. The advice of the National Governance Association (NGA) is that all trustees should be restricted to two terms of office (eight years) at the same school and that the Chair should hold office for no more than six years at the same school.
As individual trustees of Timberley Academy Trust Board, we will play our part in setting an ethos of professionalism and high expectations of the trustee role. We will:
3.1) Abide by the Seven Principles of Public Life
The principles are included as an appendix to this Code of Conduct.
3.2) Support the elimination of discrimination and advance equality of opportunity
We recognise that Birmingham is one of the UK’s super-diverse cities, made up of a wide range of cultural, faith and other communities. The City benefits from positive community cohesion within this diversity. We share the equality objectives of BCC and are mindful of our responsibilities under equality legislation, including recognising and encouraging diversity and inclusion.
3.3) Ensure that the academy follows all relevant policies and procedures to ensure that young people in need of protection are effectively safeguarded
3.4) Remain focused on our three core strategic functions of:
Accepting the office of trustee at Timberley Academy Trust Board involves the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy. We will make full efforts to attend all meetings, get to know the school/academy well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.
By attending meetings regularly, being punctual and reading all relevant paperwork. Arriving at meetings and visits prepared to make an informed and positive contribution. We will observe visit/meeting protocols, including those agreed by the Trust Board where meetings are held virtually.
We will seek to develop effective working relationships with the Headteacher, staff, parents, BCC, other relevant agencies and the community. We will always be mindful of our responsibilities to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of the school/academy. Our actions within the school/academy and the local community will reflect this. In making or responding to criticism or complaints affecting the school/academy, we will follow the procedures established by the Trust Board.
We will ensure that we will only speak or act on behalf of the whole Trust Board if we have been given authority to do so.
This includes being mindful of upholding the school/academy’s reputation when communicating in a private capacity (including on social media) and avoiding, as far as possible, becoming involved in any communication which may lead to a conflict of interest with the role as a trustee.
As trustees we accept that our role is strategic and focused on the three core functions referred to in 3.4 of this code. We will not involve ourselves in the day-to-day management of the school/academy or attempt to micro-manage senior leaders. Any visits that we undertake at the school/academy will be arranged in advance with relevant staff, be agreed by the Headteacher and be within the framework established by the Trust Board.
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 or which may place pupils at risk.
We will ensure complete confidentiality when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern individual staff, pupils and families.
We will additionally ensure that the Trust Board complies with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.
We will request, and attend, induction training as soon as is reasonably practicable following appointment as new trustees. We will continually evaluate our performance as a Trust Board and as individual trustees and undertake any training that is required to be effective in our role.
We recognise that a conflict of interest can arise when an individual’s personal or family interests conflict with those of the school. We will declare any business, personal or other interest that we have in connection with the Trust Board, the school/academy in general for recording in the register of business interests including the following:
We will withdraw, for an appropriate length of time, from any meeting or discussion of the Trust Board when our trustee colleagues agree that there is a conflict of interest.
As the Trust Board, our first line of accountability is to parents, the wider school/academy and local community. The Trust Board will comply with the Constitution of GBs of maintained schools statutory guidance and the Academies Financial Handbook, and in doing so will demonstrate transparency by publishing on the school/academy website, up-to-date details of the overall governance arrangements in place and the declared business interests register.
We will comply with the requirement to provide details about people involved in governance at our school/academy, via the Department for Education’s website “Get information about schools” and keep the information up to date.
We are committed to publishing an Annual Statement setting out the key issues that have been faced and addressed by the Trust Board over the last year, including an assessment of the impact of the Trust Board on the school/academy.
If, following investigation, it is deemed that this Code of Conduct has been breached by a member of our Trust Board and the matter cannot be resolved in a constructive way, then the Trust Board will consider their suspension or, in some circumstances, removal from the Trust Board.
Adopted by Timberley Academy Trust Board on 17 September 2020
Signed ………R Clackett…………………………. (Chair of Trustees)
For clarification or any queries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Appendix: 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. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.