The Role of the Clerk

The purpose of the clerk's role is to provide advice to the governing body on governance, constitutional and procedural matters. All governance boards should appoint an independent professional clerk that is able to advise them on the nature of their functions and duties and ensure the governing body operates efficiently and effectively.

Role of the clerk

All academy trusts and maintained schools must appoint a clerk to their governing board as set out in their articles of association or in regulations, as appropriate.

The purpose of the clerk’s role is to:

  • provide advice and guidance to the governing body to ensure that the board works in compliance with appropriate legal and regulatory framework, and understands the potential consequences for non compliance
  • provide effective administration of meetings
  • support the governing body in dealing with membership issues and maintaining governor records
  • manage information on behalf of the governing body

Professional clerking may also involve designing structures and procedures for the sound governance of the organisation - particularly in larger and more complex organisations.

They should also be mindful of their responsibilities under equality legislation, recognising and encouraging diversity and inclusion, and should understand the impact of effective governance on the quality of education and on outcomes for all children and young people.

Professional-quality clerking is critical to the effectiveness of a governing board in fulfilling its core strategic functions, which include:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

Professional-quality clerking is about much more than taking minutes to record the discussions and decisions of the board. It is also about providing governing boards with expert advice on governance, procedures and compliance and directly contributing to its efficient conduct. The voluntary nature of governance makes it all the more important that boards conduct their business efficiently to make the best possible use of everyone’s time. 

Further information

Department for Education guidance on the roles and duties of governing boards, and advice on the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to be effective can be found in The Governance Handbook and Clerking Competency Framework.

Last update: Wednesday 6th of May 2020 11:56:51 AM