Notes for completing fellowship application

Before completing the fellow application form, please read these notes to ensure you fill in all of the relevant information included in your application.

Notes for application


Under byelaw 6, the basic requirements for election to fellow status are:

  1. To have passed the Institute's examinations
  2. To have held a fellowship-level post for at least three of the past ten years
  3. To be a 'fit and proper' person.

A 'fellowship-level' post is generally defined as a senior post in a substantial organisation. Notes on the eligibility of members in different sectors of employment and the supporting information required are given below.

Involvement/participation in the Institute's activities is highly recommended for all members, particularly for those who wish to apply to become a fellow. By proactively engaging with the Institute and helping shape its future, members will benefit from professional networking and the advantages of related CPD.

Character and standing

The term ‘fit and proper’ contained in byelaws 4 and 6 relates directly to the character of an applicant and includes the concepts of honesty, solvency and competence.

However, the Council does not link the term ‘fit and proper’ to a subjective view an applicant may hold of their own conduct and methods. As a result, the Council requires all applicants to answer questions 1-3 on page two of the application form as to their character.

The Institute’s Charter obliges it to supervise the standard of professional conduct provided by its members and it is important to emphasise that the examples given below are not intended to be exhaustive or definitive, the concept of ‘fit and proper’ is inherently open ended.

Question 1
This relates directly to the solvency of the applicant and would include any sequestration order,
compromise or deed of arrangement with your creditors.

Question 2
This relates to:

  • any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty under legislation (whether or not in the UK) relating to companies, building societies, credit unions, friendly societies, insurance, banking or other financial services, insolvency, consumer credit or consumer protection
  • any other offence not in (a) above including criminal convictions, in a civilian or military court, involving fines, suspended sentences or terms of imprisonment. You may exclude non-criminal traffic offences.

Question 3
This relates to:

  • disqualification by court or other statutory or regulatory body from acting as a director of a company, or from acting in the management or conduct of the affairs of any company, partnership or incorporated association
  • disciplinary action including criticism, censure, fine or exclusion from membership of any professional body or organisation (whether or not in the UK).

Incorrect or misleading information

If information is revealed to be inaccurate or misleading before election, the application is liable to be rejected and, if you are currently a graduate or associate, may lead to disciplinary action under byelaw 56.8.

If information is revealed to be inaccurate or misleading after election, you may be subject to disciplinary action under byelaw 56.8.


  1. Applicants for fellowship must be recommended by two signatories of professional status, both of whom must have known the applicant for at least one year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek the recommendation of at least one fellow in support of their application.
  2. Any personal relationships with the applicant must be declared in all circumstances by indicating ‘yes’ on the application form. Recommendations may come from a relative of the applicant where that relative is an associate/fellow of the Institute, unless the applicant is directly employed by or reports to that relative. In this instance, please contact our Membership Team for further guidance.

Statement of appointment

The following information should always be given in respect of the applicant’s present post, and also in respect of previous post/s where the present post has been held for less than three years. All supporting documentation in respect of the present post (except copy report and accounts) should be certified by the employer.

General, but particularly the public and private company sectors, including financial institutions

Generally, the applicant should hold a post that is at least second tier in the organisation (first tier is considered the level of responsibility that reports to the board of directors or its equivalent) and the organisation must be of sufficient size. In the case of a company, the size will usually be assessed by reference to turnover, which should be shown on the form.

Supporting documentation generally required is:

  • a copy of the report and accounts
  • a hierarchy chart illustrating the applicant’s status in relation to the board of directors or equivalent
  • a brief schedule of responsibilities.

In sufficiently large organisations, applicants other than those in first or second tier appointments may be considered and applicants employed by subsidiary companies or in divisional organisations may be eligible. In this case, as well as the report and accounts of the parent company, it will be helpful to have that of the subsidiary or another indication of the size of the regional or divisional unit.

Local government, civil service, health service, etc.
Applicants should state their salary grade or scale and progression over at least the last three years.

Supporting documentation:

  • hierarchy chart/s
  • schedule of responsibilities.

Higher education as a profession

Academic staff should state their grade and the subjects they teach.

Administrative staff should provide:

Supporting documentation:

  • a hierarchy chart, showing the applicant’s status in relation to the governing body;
  • schedule of responsibilities.

For both academic and administrative staff:

  • an indication of the size of the college or other institution may also be helpful, i.e. number of staff (academic and administrative), number of students (full and part-time), size of annual budget.

Public practice
Members in public practice, whether practising as chartered secretaries or otherwise, should give some details of the client companies (if confidential, these may be referred to as client A, B, C, etc.) to whom they provide company secretarial or other specified services indicating: the size, in financial terms, of each client company, the services provided and the dates of acting for each client.

Where there is a considerable number of large clients (for example, where the applicant is employed in a sizeable professional firm, servicing public limited companies), between six and 12 of the largest clients could be selected. The above information should then be given and independently certified. If employed by a firm, rather than in sole practice, the applicant should also state whether he/she reports to partner level.

Supporting documentation:

  • details of clients as specified above.

Partners and applicants employed by partnerships should show the size of the partnership, for example, in terms of turnover, number of branches and number of staff. Employees of partnerships should state whether their post reports to partner level.

The supporting documentation in 1 (b) and (c) will usually be required.

Professional bodies, etc.
Number of members and size of funds should be shown.

Supporting documentation:

  • a copy of the report and accounts;
  • a hierarchy chart.

HM Forces
The appointment should be primarily administrative and the rank/s held for the past three years should be indicated.

Supporting documentation:

  • schedule of duties
  • hierarchy chart/s.


Each appointment on which the application is based must be certified by a senior officer of the organisation. This means that certification is almost always required for the present appointment and for any other appointments totalling, with the present appointment, not less than three years in the last ten, on which the application is based.

For the current appointment, please show the month and year from which held; for previous appointments, the month and year of starting and leaving.

Note for sponsors

The notes are designed as an aide memoire to members and to provide non-members of the Institute with background information about the Institute and an appreciation of what it means to achieve fellowship.

About The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland

The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland is the chartered membership and qualifying body for people working in governance, risk and compliance, including company secretaries. As an Institute we:
  • qualifiy chartered secretaries through our qualifying scheme
  • set and maintain standards of behaviour and competence
  • enforce a strict code of conduct with which all members are required to comply
  • support the private, public and not-for-profit sector with professional resources
  • promote the importance of good corporate governance and the value of chartered secretaries to employers
  • consult our membership on future legislative change.

The Institute’s Charter was granted on 4 November 1902, 11 years after it was founded in 1891. Under its Royal Charter, the Institute has as its object ‘the promotion and advancement of the efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’ (Article 4). Efficient administration remains the fundamental bedrock of organisational success today.


The status of fellowship is the Institute’s senior grade of membership, and the letters FCIS after a member’s name demonstrate a high level of responsibility and seniority. 

The Institute’s bye-laws in relation to fellows state that the Council elects fellows. For a person to be elected:
  • he/she must have passed the Institute’s examinations that he/she is not exempt from
  • he/she must satisfy the Council that, considering his/her own character and his/her position, he/she is ‘fit and proper’ to be elected
  • his/her main occupation for at least eight years in total, and for three years in the last ten years, must have been as a secretary or assistant secretary; a senior executive or in an administrative position that, in the Council’s opinion, has at least the same status as a secretary or assistant secretary; a senior academic in a university or other higher or further education body; a member in public practice; or alternatively, he/she must have completed any other professional development that the Council decides on
  • any experience must have been with one or more organisations that, in the Council’s opinion, justifies electing the person as a fellow
  • he/she must give the Council any information it requires about his duties and any organisation he/she has served.

The Council can reduce the eight and six year qualifying periods in bye-laws 4 and 6 by up to three years where a person has:

  • a degree from a university which the Council considers of suitable academic standing
  • a diploma or other certificate which is nationally recognised as being equivalent to a degree from such a university
  • a professional qualification which the Council recognises as justifying the reduction
  • completed any other professional development that the Council decides justifies a reduction.

Sponsors are invited to provide any additional remarks or amplification considered relevant on behalf of the applicant in a supporting letter.

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