Competency Framework / Proficiency levels
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Proficiency levels

The Competency Framework for Governance Professionals recognises four levels of proficiency, which may broadly but not exclusively map to different career stages.


The four levels are:


Those at the entry level are new to the governance environment, either leaving full-time education or new to an office-based role. They seek guidance on generalised skills and those specific to their new role. While at entry level, they will work under close supervision, gradually increasing their autonomy on specific tasks as they prove their capability. They are likely to be engaged in administrative and operational tasks that support the work of the team. 

Early-stage professional qualifications may be undertaken in advance of their practical application, i.e. they may be learning about things that they have yet to apply.


Those at the emerging level are continuing to learn to support performance in their role. They seek guidance and support on a case-by-case basis from peers and line managers. As they develop their knowledge through study and practice, they increasingly work autonomously and gain confidence in their abilities. As their knowledge increases, they may take the lead on specific initiatives and, in larger teams, may have some responsibility for the activities of others.

Practical learning is supported by professional qualifications.


Those at the professional level show mastery in their work and a breadth of understanding of the skills, practices and behaviours required of their role. They are trusted advisers to colleagues, a source of guidance for boards and others, particularly on regulatory and legislative matters and, in larger organisations, may be team leaders. They exercise good judgement across planned and unplanned situations and can react accordingly. They constantly maintain a watching brief on external influences that may affect their organisation.

Practical expertise is extended through professional training to understand the role of the board and the organisation.


Those at the expert level play a valued part in strategic leadership and may have an external role alongside their internal leadership position. They influence the governance agenda, are frequently consulted and often lead on specific initiatives, some of which may not be governance centred. They actively support the development of other governance professionals, both within their organisation and externally. They are seen from outside their organisation as leaders in governance generally and within their sector.

With extensive practical experience and existing professional training, CPD is focused on refreshing, updating and extending existing knowledge

It is important to recognise that some individuals could be working at an emerging level in one area of competency and at an established level in another. This may reflect their role, experience, and the requirements of their career to date rather than their capability.

Proficiency level progression

Progression from one level to another can be self-monitored or form part of a managed development programme formally overseen by the organisation.

Individuals may progress in different elements of the competency framework at different stages and times in their career through personal capabilities, exposure within the organisational environment or through expertise acquired in prior or external environments, roles, and education. However, elements of fundamental knowledge, experience and application must be evidenced before an individual can be seen to fully transition to the next proficiency level.

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