New guidance to improve governance in academy schools launched

London, 4 October 2016 – ICSA: The Governance Institute has issued new guidance for academy schools that outlines the key role trustees and directors must play in building good governance in multi-academy trusts (MATs). The professional body for governance also stresses the importance of ensuring board effectiveness.

“Academy governance is complicated as MATs are charitable companies limited by guarantee meaning that those responsible for leading them have a triple responsibility under charity law, company law and education legislation. Good governance simplifies this by providing structure, clarity and evidence of sound decision-making. Accurate records, compliance, transparency and accountability are key board activities and governance should be viewed as a business-enabler contributing to the success of an organisation,” says Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not-for-Profit) at ICSA: The Governance Institute.

ICSA has produced the following new guidance to help MATs master their governance arrangements:

  • Building good governance in MATs: the role of trustees/directors: this provides insight into how trustees/directors of a multi-academy trust can instil good governance in their organisation. The guidance covers governance frameworks, the role of the board, the board/chief executive dynamic, stakeholder engagement, communication and disclosure policies and the board and risk. It also offers tips on how to develop the senior leadership team. 
  • Multi-Academy Trust Governance – Board Effectiveness: this looks at how to ensure the effectiveness of the board. It focuses on the role of trustees and senior leaders, board composition and succession planning, board support and the role of the governance professional, principles of sound decision-making, effective meetings, delegations, how to evaluate board performance, audit, risk and remuneration and stakeholder engagement.

“The conference that we are holding today for governance professionals working in the academy sector focuses on many of the issues outlined in the guidance. Joining a MAT and establishing effective MAT governance can seem like a daunting prospect, but building the right board and evaluating how effective this board is will help to take away a lot of this uncertainty,” says Louise. “Children’s futures are at stake so it is vital to get it right.”

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For further information, please contact Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager  
+44 (0)20 7612 7072
+44 (0)7890 649 143

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 125 years’ experience, we work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance.
  2. Full details of the guidance can be found at

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