The importance of the Further Education sector is increasingly recognised for the significant contribution it makes to the success and development of its students, and through that, to the achievement of national objectives in education, training and employment.
FE Colleges became independent as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, and as a result of this South Devon College has a Governing Body which is ultimately responsible for the success of the College.
The College’s Mission Statement is:
‘South Devon College: Inspiring our community through learning for all.’
The Mission focuses on the College’s role as a comprehensive general further education college delivering high quality teaching and learning to its community.
As an ‘Outstanding’ college we are absolutely committed to this Mission and to our responsibility to all sectors of our community.
We are fully aware and committed to change and high standards and we know there are always things we can improve upon. Much of the excitement generated in the college arises from the expectations that things will, and should, change and that is a good thing and an opportunity, not a problem.
Ofsted’s judgment that South Devon College is an ‘Outstanding’ College underpins the level of our ambitions for learners, for staff and the community we serve.
South Devon College has expanded its facilities to include a University Centre, in partnership with the University of Plymouth and the South West Regional Development Agency, which was finished and ready for learners in September 2010.
Governing Body Composition
The current composition of the Governing Body is:
Those who have the necessary skills to ensure that the functions of the Governing Body (Corporation) are carried out in accordance with Article 3 of the Articles of Government*.
2 Staff Members
Members of the staff of the College elected and nominated by the staff of the College.
2 Student Members
A student of the College elected and nominated by students at the College.
The Principal of the College.
*Instrument and Articles of Government as enacted in December 2008 and effective from 01 January 2008.
Governing body and committee structure
The Governing Body meets five or six times a year, and meetings usually last two hours.
An acceptable minimum individual attendance at Governing Body meetings is currently set at 85%.
Governors are expected to sit on at least one, sometimes two, Committees of the Governing Body. Currently, the following Committees are in existence:
Audit Four times per year
Monitoring Meets monthly (excluding August and December)
Remuneration Once per year
Search Once per term
Normally, meetings of the Governing Body and its Committees take place in late afternoon or early evening, and meetings are scheduled to last approximately two hours.
Papers for meetings of the Governing Body and its Committees are sent out at least one week in advance of meetings. It is estimated that preparation for meetings should not take more than 2 hours.
Governors are expected to conduct an assessment of their activities, the outcome of which is included in the College’s Self Assessment Report. Annual targets are set and monitoring against these targets provides information on the effectiveness of the governance of the College.
A hour/half hour training session is built into the agenda of meetings of the Governing Body. This provides Governors with the opportunity to deal with a particular issue in depth, or to receive information on the work of a particular area of the College.
Two Governors Strategic Planning events are held each year. Governors also have the opportunity to attend external training events.
Governors will also receive invitations to College events such as opening ceremonies, theatre productions and fundraising activities.
Job Description and Person Specification for Governors
South Devon College values the experience and skills of its Governors. It recognises the contribution that Governors make to the success of the College, and wants its Governors to feel that the job they do is rewarding and satisfying.
Duties of a Governor
1.1 The Duties of the Governing Body are specified in the Instrument and Articles of Government. The role of the Governor is a non-executive one, and Governors are required to be as flexible as possible in the performance of their responsibilities and duties, ensuring that their oversight of the College does not interfere with the day-to-day management of the College, which is the responsibility of the Principal.
1.2 The primary responsibilities of Governors are to:
Play an active role in the high level strategic planning process of the College by contributing to:
- The development of the College’s mission, vision and educational character,
- The development of strategic priorities,
- The setting of measurable targets to support the College’s development and budget,
- The monitoring of achievement against objectives,
- The development of plans to address weaknesses,
- The monitoring of the performance of the Principal and other senior postholders.
B) Play an active role in one or more of the following, as required:
overseeing the management of financial, human and physical resources; internal audit processes;
the development of senior post holder pay policy and the framework for the pay and conditions of all other staff;the recruitment of new governors; contribute to the regular monitoring of the financial health of the College;
C) Comply with the Instrument and Articles of Government, the Corporation’s Standing Orders and Code of Conduct and any other related governance policies and procedures and ensure the Governing Body acts within the powers conferred on it by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992;
D) Observe the duties set out in the College’s financial memorandum with its funding body and ensure the proper use of income derived from other sources;
E) Ensure that the business of the Governing Body is conducted openly and transparently and that,as a general principal, students and staff have free access to information about the proceedings of the Governing Body and that confidential items are kept to a minimum;
F) Attend Governing Body meetings, governor training and induction events as required;
G) Get to know the College through discussion with the Principal and staff, reading relevant papers, visiting the College and participating in events;
H) Help new Governors understand their role;
I) Show the highest loyalty to the College and act in its best interests at all times;
J) commitment to securing equality of opportunity within the College, to combating discrimination on whatever grounds and to discharging legal duties under the relevant anti-discrimination legislation.
1.3 Governors should abide by the principle of collective responsibility. Once a decision has been taken by the Governing Body, Governors have a duty to stand by it, even if they voted against the decision or were absent from the relevant meeting, but no Governor has the authority to speak or act on the Governing Body’s behalf unless specifically delegated to do so.
1.4 Governors must be free at all times to speak and act in what they believe to be the best interest of the College. They cannot be mandated by any group to express its views.
1.5 Governors must avoid putting themselves in a position where there is an actual, potential or perceived conflict between their personal interests (including those of their family) and those of the College. Governors must declare any interest in accordance with the provisions of the Instrument and Code of Conduct.
1.6 Governors should discharge their duties with skill, care and diligence.
2. Governors’ Person Specification
In seeking to fill any vacancy, the Governing Body endeavours to maintain a balance of skills and experience amongst its membership. The following general person specification outlines the skills that are required.
A) Commitment to education: Able to demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and the role of South Devon College in improving the nation’s skill base.
B) Interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a team:
Able to work positively with others and debate whilst maintaining a constructive atmosphere.
C) Communication skills and the ability to influence:
Able to express ideas/plans in a clear manner and to listen actively to other views.
Able to communicate effectively.
D) Planning and Organisational skills:
Able to quickly establish an effective course of action for self and others to achieve goals that can be monitored by realistic performance targets. To be visionary for the future plans of the College.
E) Determination and Drive:
Able to create the required energy/enthusiasm and commitment necessary to be effective.
To have the tenacity to overcome obstacles.
F) Strategic Perspective:
Able to develop a broad-based view of issues and events and to perceive their long-term impact.
G) Intellectual and technical ability:
Able to absorb sometimes complex information and to rationalise appropriately.
Able to think laterally and arrive at a pragmatic solution.
Able to demonstrate behaviour and skills that motivate others to achieve - to inspire confidence in others to achieve. To respect the views of others.
Experience of a senior management role in at least a medium scale organisation and/or an appreciation of issues that affect the senior management role. Expertise in a field which is of relevance to the oversight of the affairs of the College. Some vacancies may require specific qualifications or a particular skill or experience. Ability to demonstrate a full understanding and appreciation of the principles of governance, including collective responsibility, discharge of fiduciary duties and the seven principles of public life.
Available to attend scheduled meetings of the Governing Body and its Committees.
K) Equal Opportunities/Investors in People
Commitment to equal opportunities and to the Investors in People standard.
Seven Principles of public life
Public concern about the financial probity of members of Parliament and other holders of public office led to the establishment in 1994 of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (chaired by Lord Nolan and later Lord Neil). The Committee drew up seven principles of public life as a yardstick against which public service may be measured. These are:
Integrity - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Objectivity - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, and recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit alone.
Accountability - 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.
Openness - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands this.
Honesty - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interest relating to their public office duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Leadership - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
Selflessness - Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the interest of the public. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their families or their friends.
The Next Step
If you wish to express an interest in becoming a Governor at South Devon College you should complete an application form (found on the Job pages of the College’s website) and forward to:
Clerk to the Governing Body
South Devon College
Your application should outline your skills and reasons for wanting to be considered as a prospective Governor at South Devon College.
If you wish further information or clarification please contact the Clerk to the Governing Body (Weds to Fri only)
Tel: 01803 540430 or 07976 901967
If you have not heard from the College within 4 weeks of postage please assume that you have not been shortlisted on this occasion.