ETF and IoD announce new partnership to offer board review service

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and Institute of Directors (IoD) have agreed a new partnership to offer board reviews to providers in the Further Education and Training sector. The service will help provider organisations meet the requirement to undertake regular external board reviews, one of the reforms set out in the Government’s 2021 Skills White Paper and included in the 2021–22 ESFA funding agreement.

The reviews will evaluate the effectiveness of boards, helping to ensure the continuous improvement of both their own performance and the colleges they serve as a whole. The service design has been informed by best practice in governance reviews and the draft guidance on external governance reviews published by the Department for Education (DfE). The ETF/IoD service will:

  • offer an unmatched mix of further education and corporate governance expertise in delivering board reviews
  • be based on a robust methodology that has been developed in consultation with the sector and ETF’s experience of delivering FE board reviews on behalf of the DfE, as well as IoD’s vast commercial experience of delivering board reviews
  • offer an unrivalled value proposition that can flexibly meet the needs of the diverse range of colleges in the FE sector and provide follow-up support to enhance board improvement based on the outcomes of the review.

The new service builds on pilots conducted in 2020–21, when reviews were provided to 28 FE colleges, sixth form colleges and other FE institutions. Surveys assessing those pilots found that they had an immediate impact on college board attributes that are essential for effective governance, with college governors, principals, reviewers and FE Commissioners reporting that they had strengthened governor recruitment and development and board performance and strategic oversight. Eighty-four per cent of those who underwent reviews in the pilot agreed that it had improved their board’s ability to assess its contribution to effective governance.

Kurt Hall, National Head of Governance Development at the ETF, said:

“Governance is a driving force for the strong performance of FE and Training provider institutions, so supporting boards to ensure they are operating effectively is vital. Regular independent reviews help boards reflect on their capabilities, developing performance and keeping them aligned with the evolving needs of the institutions and learners that they support. We look forward to working with our colleagues at the Institute of Directors to build on the work already done in pilots to further support governance colleagues across the sector.”

Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the Education and Training Foundation in offering FE and training providers with board reviews. It is best practice that all boards continuously review their effectiveness, and we are looking forward to building on our existing programme of work with ETF to further enhance the governance capabilities within the sector.”

Further details of the service will be announced shortly, and expressions of interest can be made now via the ETF website.

The Education and Training Foundation provides a range of support for governance and leadership across the sector. For details, please visit the leadership hub on the ETF website.

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