ICSA and Sixth Form Colleges Association release guidance on good practice

London, 6 June 2018 – ICSA: The Governance Institute and the Sixth Form Colleges Association have produced guidance aimed at improving governance within sixth form colleges and academies for 16- to 19-year-olds in England. Two separate pieces of guidance have been written around conflicts of interest and the role and duties of a company secretary.

New guidance on Managing conflicts of interest in sixth form colleges and 16-19 academies in England covers the following areas: how to manage a conflict when making a decision and once the decision has been made; the importance of maintaining the quorum, recording discussions and decisions; nominated and representative trustees or governors; conflicts of membership or values; staff and conflicts of interest; whistleblowing; and the resolution of seemingly impossible conflicts.

Launching the guidance, Graham Baird, Director of HR Services, for the Sixth Form Colleges Association comments:

“Trustees and governors understand that they have a duty to act in the best interests of their organisation by ensuring both quality and value for money. It is important to be clear that conflicts of interest can arise not only through themselves personally, but also when the interests of those connected to them are incompatible or in competition with the interests of the college or academy. The aim of this guidance is to provide colleges and academies with help recognising and managing real and perceived conflicts of interest amongst members of the board or governing body.”

The second piece of guidance, The role and duties of a company secretary in a 16-19 academy, looks at the role of the company secretary in terms of the board, the organisation and its stakeholders. It offers advice on the independence of the company secretary and reporting lines, as well as providing a specimen job description and a comprehensive outline of the core duties of a company secretary.   

Commenting on the guidance, Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not for Profit) at ICSA: The Governance Institute says:

“Academy and college governance can be complicated as those running academy trusts and corporations need to be aware of their legal duties as a trustee under charity law, as a governor under education legislation and as a director under company law. Support is best provided by a company secretary, clerk or other governance professional as they have knowledge in all of these areas and can advise on legislation and regulation. This guidance sets out the role and duties of a company secretary so that sixth form colleges and 16-19 academy schools in England can be sure that they are getting the support that they need.”

Both pieces of guidance can be downloaded for free at www.icsa.org.uk/knowledge/resources and the governance section of the SFCA website www.sixthformcolleges.org

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For further information, please contact

Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager, ICSA


+44 (0)20 7612 7072

+44 (0)7890 649 143 


Jonathan Isaacs, SFCA


+44 (0)20 3824 0468

+44 (0)7773 335 342


Notes to Editors:


  1. ICSA: The Governance Institute is the professional body for governance. We have members in all sectors and are required by our Royal Charter to lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’. With over 125 years’ experience, we work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance. Website: www.icsa.org.uk
  2. The Sixth Form Colleges Association is the membership organisation for all sixth form colleges. As part of its wide range of services and activities, SFCA is committed to ensuring colleges benefit from robust and strategic governance. The SFCA Governance Policy Committee provides a voice for sixth form college governance through regional consultation and response. Its membership includes governors and clerks for sixth form colleges across England. www.sixthformcolleges.org

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