External Review of Governance – August 2023

External Review of Governance – summary of report – August 2023

It is a Department for Education requirement that all Further Education Colleges commission an external review of governance at least every three years. Dudley College of Technology commissioned the Association of Colleges to undertake such a review which was carried out by Sandra Prail MBE during the period May to July 2023.

The review focused on a number of areas (i) maximising the level of Governor contribution, (ii) ensuring an appropriate balance between strategic direction and oversight, (iii) whether arrangements supported the executive, (iv) succession planning, (v) the mix of Governor skills and general diversity of the Board, (vi) the approach to Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) sponsorship and (vii) delivery of skills duties.

The overall conclusion of the review was that the Board consistently impacts positively on college outcomes and there is strong evidence that it is highly proficient in most or all Board outcomes.

The review identified many areas of effective practice which others might learn from including the transparent culture of the board and its use of the Dudley Dashboard.  The Dudley Dashboard published on the College website provides a graphic overview of college performance across key client groups and cross college strategic areas. It presents data as below, at or exceeding expectation in a user-friendly format.  This is a particular example of effective practice that others might learn from”. 

The review recognised a high level of board engagement in the development of strategy, well rounded skills of board members, strong governance arrangements including the production of high-quality board papers, good working relationships between the board and executive, and effective induction and training of governors.

The board welcomed the four recommendations from the review in relation to succession planning, diversity data collection, hybrid meeting protocol and chair appraisal.  Actions to address these recommendations have been incorporated into the Quality Improvement Plan for governance which the board approved at its meeting on 7th November 2023 and which will be monitored throughout the year.

For further information please contact Gill Darwood, Director of Corporate Governance gill.darwood@dudleycol.ac.uk

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