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Dear Stephen

Discussion in 'Governors' started by montiagh, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Drowninginpaper. It seems continually to be an old wives tale that staff should not be on a HT panel and many LA's incorrectly suggest that this should be so. There is nothing in legislation that says staff cannot be on HT recruitment panels. They bring an invaluable contribution to the process. As regards NPQH it was only changed on the 8th February 2012. Presumably if your panel changed the criteria on your person specification for the element to desirable from essential then they must have done this prior to the application pack going live and to respondents. Irrespective of the change of essential NPQH to desirable, it was still up to your panel to have decided what your school needs in a head going forward; you may feel that your school still needed NPQH as essential depending on your circumstances. Further it is not proper to hoist you off the panel simply because of the alteration to NPQH. You will have other candidates and you should also have the input of an LA advisor depending on what type of school you are. I would assume that it was the whole of the governing body who were asked to vote by email phone on the business to remove a governor in this fashion. I would add without being a legal expert that this is a wholly inappropriate way to decide business of this kind and would question its legality. Where was your clerk in all this? I cannot see any pecuniary interest that you would have.
     
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    drowninginpaper, as montiagh says the issue of whether staff governors can/should be on heads selection panels gets endlessly debated on various forums and opinions are usually fairly evenly divided between those who think it is 'wrong in principle' that staff governors should be involved in selecting the head, and those who feel the opposite. For what it is worth I'm in the latter camp and I think staff governors should be on a panel, not only for the principle that all categories of governor are equal but also because they bring good insights and skills to the process. We've always had SGs on the panel in GBs I've been on and very successfully; your LA must have it's head in the sand if it's really never heard of such a thing. It's common. However, what I or anyone else thinks is irrelevant in the end as if the GB majority view is no SGs that's a decision they are entiled to take. Incidentally taking a decison by phone and email isn't a legal method of voting so technically is invalid, but it's not worth you arguing that point with them. Presumably the SGs got a vote too?
    What is often overlooked is that the Procedures Regulations expressly say that no staff governor has a pecuniary interest just because they are a staff member. As a matter of law you are not disbarred from being on the panel because you are a member of staff. The law is that you cannot be on the panel if you have a personal pecuniary interest that is greater than the generality of the staff, eg if appointing the internal candidate would open up a promotion vacancy you personally could apply for. This might happen if say you were an AHT and could move up to the DHT job if they were appointed HT, but it's not that common.
    The arguments about there being an internal candidate often seem to take it as read that SGs will support the internal candiate but it's just as likely that they'll want to reject them! Anyhow whenever there's an internal candidate the panel will have prior knowledge of them and that's why you set up objective selection processes.
    Bottom line thoiugh is there's nothing you can do about it. Sorry!
     
  3. Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I know nothing can be done but I feel I should register my misgivings with someone maybe the chair? Thank you again.
     
  4. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    I wasn't aware that governors were now allowed to 'vote' via phone and e-mail. Should make other governor's meetings interesting ....
     
  5. Rott Weller I was told our votes were not allowed to be counted.
     
  6. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Drowninginpaper are you saying that staff governors votes were not allowed to be counted. If so that is completely incorrect. Voting by email phone for me is a no no.
     
  7. That's correct-our votes were not counted and do you know at the end of a dreadful school day when I was told I didn't challenge it! Why not???
     
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I imagine that if pushed the Chair would cite Procedures Regulation 14 (5) that says if there is any dispute about whether a governor has a conflict of interest it will be decided by a vote of the <u>other</u> governors, so technically it's probably correct that in a vote on whether staff governors had a conflcit of interest the SGs weren't allowed to vote. However it's also technically true that voting by phone/email isn't valid either! I still don't think its worth arguing about though and I don't think you can 'complain'. You've got nothing to complain about really. Posters here may not agree with the decision to exclude SGs from the headship selection panel but the decison wasn't 'wrong', it's a decison the GB can legitimaetly take irrespective of whether others think it is a good decision.
     
  9. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    I would disagree with RW, you most certainly have a very valid complaint here. RW quite rightly quotes 14 (5) but was that what was actually been discussed. I remain of the view that votes by phone or email are illegal. Can you imagine your council or the house of Commons voting that way?. Secondly you state the vote was close and staff votes were not allowed to be counted (not allowed by who) thereby suggesting to me that if the individuals who were not allowed to vote had voted then there would have been a different result. All governors have equal parity on a GB, all governors are entitled to an equal and valid vote. What was you clerk doing in all of this. Who was collecting the votes in this ultra vires manner? I would certainly kick up a very big fuss on this one and insist the voting is re-done in the correct manner asap. Too many chairs and clerks are clueless at times and get away with these antics because most governors are clueless themselves or dare not challenge.
     
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The way the voting was done wasn't 'illegal', it just doesn't comply with the procedure permitted in the regulations. It is invalid, not illegal. Breaching of the Procedures Regulations doesn't make you gility of criminal offence. The reason I say there is no point in complaining about the voting is a practical one, not a legal one. It's clear, from what OP has said, that the majority of the governors do not think Staff Governors would be on the panel, so what would be the point of somehow forcing them all to come together into the same room to vote on it properly? The outcome would be unlikely to be any different (Chair would make sure it was a 14(5) motion so SGs couldn't vote), SGs still wouldn't be on the panel, but now they've pi$$ed off the the rest of the GB for dragging them all out on what they'd see as a technicality. What is there to gain? And the position they've reached so far - no SGs on headship panel - is entirely legitimate, recommended by many LAs, even though I don't agree with it. OP would just be arguing about procedural compliance - never good grounds for making a major issue out of.
    Voting by phone is hardly as outrageous as you imply montiagh. It's expressly permitted at Academy GBs, normal in commercial boards of directors, and has been permitted by DfE at LA schools under 'powers to innovate'. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was permitted at all schools when the DfE gets round to revising the Procedures Regulations
     
  11. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    RW I think we are going around in circles here. Unless I have read the poster incorrectly then the poster was on the panel in the first place as an SG by virtue of the whole of that governing body deciding that they should be. Now parking the way in which the next round of voting was done, I would agree with you that a GB can change the composition of the panel at any time, which would not be a great idea as continuity of the team is paramount. That said yes they can change it and they being the operative word i.e. the whole of the governing body. It appears here that it was decided by whoever that the staff members would play no further part in the panel and they would not even be allowed to use their own votes in being part of the process in voting themselves off or indeed remaining on the panel. If this is accurate then it remains ultra vires and should be re-run. Process is process, regulations are regulations, legislation is what underpins all that we do. To suggest that my post lacks a sense of proportion is incorrect. Breaching regulations is a vitally important task for governors to challenge. It seems to me that your stance is well it doesn't matter too much if we break a rule here or there, who's watching? and in any case let's use the 'well there are much more important matters like the children' excuse'. That's a very slippery slope and who becomes the arbiter. You will no doubt be aware that in situations like this one where in my view a very serious breach of regulations has occured, someone (maybe even a candidate) may have a legal case against the school. Simple rule is avoid all breaches of the regulations at all times.
     
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I understand that 'the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing' however I suspect Burke's idea of evil wouldn't have included a breach of subparagraph 12 (2) of the School Governance (Procedures) (England) Regulations 2003, but I may well be wrong about that.
     
  13. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    There is no right way to do wrong!
    If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. &ndash; Thomas De Quincey 1785 &mdash; 1859

     
  14. Given that a headteacher appointment is one of the most crucial a governing body will make this doesn't seem to be a particularly well-managed process.
    The role of staff governor is frequently misunderstood and there are many misconceptions about what staff governors can and cannot do. As has already been referred to elsewhere in this thread, there are in fact very few functions of the governing body which staff governors are precluded from taking part in. The pecuniary interest section of the regulations apply to all governors, not staff governors in particular, and although the fact that they do work in the school means it is more likely to be an issue for them than other governors it should not be used to routinely prevent the involvement of staff governors in the decision making process. Staff governors can be extremely valuable members of selection panels for headteachers.
    As has also been made clear in this forum, the procedures regulations state that all business of the governing body should be decided by a vote of the members present at the meeting - i.e. there is no provision for decisions to be made via email. I think you should certainly bring this fact to the attention of the clerk to the governors and the chair of the governors in separate correspondence. I would also suggest that you make the point at the next meeting of the governing body and have it minuted. The governing body does need as a matter of course to formally record in its minutes that the composition of the selection panel was amended and why. Opposite points of view have been expressed in this thread about whether you should insist on a governing body meeting to remake the decision officially. While not condoning the governing body making decisions out with the regulations - this potentially is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Under the Regulations the chair of governors can take &lsquo;chair's action' for any function, even where this cannot normally be delegated to an individual, so presumably the chair could have made the decision to change the composition of the committee. That is not to say that I think chair's action should be used in this fashion, but it would have precluded the need to have another governing body meeting.
    Stephen Adamson
     

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