Governance Roles & Responsibilities
Local Governing Boards
The LEO Academy Trust trustees have established Local Governing Boards 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 to areas directed by our Scheme of Delegation. As a committee of the board, delegation can be removed at any time. Trustees remain ultimately accountable and responsible for all aspects of performance of each academy in the Trust. In appointing members of the Local Governing Board, the Trust Board will usually adhere to the Trust’s model however, there may occasionally be exceptions approved by the Trust Board.
Headteachers and Principals
The academy headteacher / principal is responsible for the day to day management of the academy and is managed by the CEO but reports to the Local Governing Board on matters which have been delegated to it which may include an element of monitoring and scrutiny of the school’s management processes.
Roles and responsibilities of the Trust
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 academy trust.
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 it must carry out the three core governance functions:
1. Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
2. Hold the executive to account for the educational performance of the trust’s schools and their pupils, and the performance management of staff;
3. Oversee the financial performance of the trust and make sure its money is well spent.
The board of trustees has the right to review and adapt its governance structure at any time which includes removing delegation.
Trust Board Committees
The trustees may establish 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 and responsibilities of board committees are set out in the committee’s terms of reference. It is usual for the trust board to appoint board committee chairs and committee members according to their skills. The Academies Financial Handbook 2018 makes it clear that the board of trustees ‘should have a finance committee to which the board delegates financial scrutiny and oversight’.
The CEO has the delegated responsibility for the operation of the trust including the performance of the trust’s academies and so the CEO performance manages the academy headteacher/heads of school. The CEO 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 CEO leads the executive management team of the academy trust. The CEO 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 COO acts as the Trust’s Governance & Compliance Manager, having responsibility for the line management of Clerks. The COO sets the termly Local Governing Board agendas in consultation with the clerks, Chair of the LGB and Chair of the Trust Board. Issues surrounding governance and compliance should be referred to the COO.