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What rights does a governor have in a motion to suspend?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by montiagh, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    A colleague at a GB meeting was particularly offensive to another GB member and not for the first time. The last time the governor sent a rant by email to the governor about their scant knowledge of school issues, which the governor was quite offended to receive. A motion to suspend the governor has been called by a community governor in two weeks time. Can anyone illustrate what rights if any the accused governor has in terms of a fair process and evidence etc?
     
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    This is what GttL says:
    SUSPENSION OF GOVERNORS

    69. In certain prescribed circumstances the governing body can decide to suspend a
    governor for a period of up to six months. The governing body can only suspend a
    governor if one or more of the following grounds apply.

    • The governor is paid to work at the school and is the subject of disciplinary
    proceedings in relation to his or her employment.
    • The governor is the subject of any court or tribunal proceedings, the outcome of
    which may be that he or she is disqualified from continuing to hold office as a
    governor under Schedule 6 of the Constitution Regulations.
    • The governor has acted in a way that is inconsistent with the school's ethos or
    religious character and has brought, or is likely to bring, the school, the governing
    body or his or her office of governor into disrepute.
    • The governor is in breach of his or her duty of confidentiality to the school, the
    staff or to the pupils.
    70. A governing body can vote to suspend a governor on any of the above grounds but does
    not have to do so. The governing body should only use suspension as a last resort after
    seeking to resolve any difficulties or disputes in more constructive ways.
    71. Any motion to suspend must be specified as an agenda item of a meeting for which at
    least seven days' notice must be given. Before the governing body votes to suspend a
    governor, the governor proposing the suspension must give the reasons for doing so. The
    governor who is proposed for suspension must be given the opportunity to make a
    statement in response before withdrawing from the meeting and a vote then takes place.
    72. A governor who has been suspended must be given notice of any meetings and must be
    sent agendas, reports and papers for any meetings during his or her suspension.
    73. A governor who has been suspended cannot be disqualified from holding office for failure
    to attend meetings under Paragraph 5 of Schedule 6 of the Constitution Regulations.
     
  3. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Thanks for the reply Rottweiler. I think that a copy of the regs that you attached will be sent to the governor. I was asking more along the lines of fairness, fair trial etc. It seems bizarre in this day and age that in effect we are arranging to set up a star chamber where our community governor will read out an accusation and then allow the accused to reply, then the accused will be asked to leave whilst we pronounce judgement on them and probably boot them out the door unceremoniously for a period of time.
    To get down to the nitty gritty, has the community governor to communicate in writing to the acussed what they will be accused of at least 7 days in advance?
    Is the accused entitled to any evidence in advance or papers or is she entitled to nothing before the meeting only say an brief agenda and only allowed to respond verbally to the accusation?
    Is the accussed governor allowed to question anybody or anything about the accusation?
    When in recesss are we only to discuss what the accussed has been accused of or can other morsels of accusations be dropped into the discussion?
    Can we cut short the defence reply if we feel they are going on too long?
    Do we need to discuss options of suspension or should it just be left to the community governor who launched the motion to decide by herself.
    I ask these additional questions as I feel the complaint is quite tenuous and close to irrelevant and we may lose for a period a good governor who has upset some of those long in the tooth and to which we all know there is no effective appeal system.






     
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    You've put your finger on the nub of it montiagh, there are no detailed rules of procedure and no effective appeal system, although if the GB was clearly acting improperly a suspended governor could ask the Secretary of State to intervene. The position is that if Regulations don't specify something then the GB decides its own procedures. The Regulations say no more then I posted, so there is no binding answer to any of the questions that you ask. My view is the same as I'm sure yours is, of course the governor should know the case in advance etc, but nothing is expressly stated in any Regulations to mandate it.
    However, I don't think that's the end of the story. GBs are public bodies and they must act within the Nolan principles on standards in public life. They must also, in the general legal sense, act 'reasonably'. As a minimum I'd expect a GB to follow procedures consistent with those in civil law cases. If they don't it could form the basis of a request to the Secretary of State to intervene.
    I'm also puzzled by the apparent absence of the chair and the rest of the GB is this. The way you describe it makes it sound as if the CG has a grievance against the 'accused' governor and has taken it upon herself to use the GB as a platform to pursue it. It's up to the GB to decide whether they want this motion on the Agenda, not the CG. It's up to the GB to decide what options other then suspension the GB wants to consider, not the CG.Has the Chair taken any advice on it? I'd say that the GB has to decide whether there is a case to answer first, and then decide it's procedures, and only later here the motion for suspension itself. Which of the grounds for suspension are being alleged? Bringing the GB into disrpute seems the most likely, but that begs the question, into disrepute with who? Did any non-governor hear the alleged remarks? If the remarks were made in a GB meeting why didn't the Chair take action at the time? How can an email between two governors that's addressed to no-one else bring the GB into disrepute?
    Does your GB have a Code of Conduct? If not maaybe it should adopt one first.
    If I were the 'accused governor' I'd be insisting on the papers in advance setting out the grounds for suspension, citing Natural justice and the Nolan principles. If these weren't forthcoming as soon as i'd heard the case put orally at the meeting I'd ask for an adjournment of the meeting for 48 hours or whatever to enable me to prepare a response.
    Has the "accused governor" spoken to LA Governor Services for advice?

     

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