If your board has no existing vacancies, you might wish to appoint what’s called an ‘associate member’ - a temporary member who’s brought in to sit on a committee because of a specific skill set.
The charity Independent Governor Support (IGovS), which provides free mentoring and support for boards, says this role can work really well if implemented properly but not everyone understands the role and its remit.
We asked the IGovS team, who’re made up of experienced trustees, governors and governance professionals, to share some tips on best practice and how to stay compliant.
IGovS has noticed some boards put additional staff members on a committee as associate members because it is easier than recruiting governors externally. This is not advisable. Associate members are not governors, remember
IGovS supports staff who wish to learn about governance but too many staff as associate members can affect the balance of the board and can make it difficult for a board to challenge school or trust leaders effectively
You don’t need to appoint a staff member as an associate member in the minutes just because you want them to attend a meeting – If anything, they can attend meetings as contributing observers
IGovS is a Charitable Organisation which provides free support, coaching and mentoring to governance chairs to improve the governance in their own educational setting whether that be maintained schools or academy trusts. You can contact them here to find out more about how they can help you and your board.