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October 01, 2021

Governance Support for Colleges

Governance Support for Colleges

Colleges are at the heart of what we do, so by supporting colleges achieve their missions colleges are helping us achieve ours.  Colleges are incredible social enterprises, delivering enormous public benefit helping individuals, their families, our communities and our country to develop.  We believe that strong, effective governance helps colleges be the best they can be.  We recognise the critical role of Governors alongside Senior Leaders, and we see Governance Professionals as key actors in supporting good governance.

Stone King is the only truly national law firm top ranked in both education and charities.  We are committed to using our strength as a leading law firm to support Governors, Governance Professionals and Senior Leaders.  One of the ways we do that is through our governance support services.  Combining the expertise of our leading education and charity lawyers with outstanding practising governance professionals and the best researchers in the field, we are uniquely positions to support colleges in strengthening their governance.

Support we offer

Our approach is based around our own firm’s core values of trust, respect, understanding, specialist and talented. We admire the commitment of Governors, Governance Professionals and Senior Leaders and we want to play out part in helping them and their colleges be their best selves.  Our ethos is that everything we do needs to have impact, adding value and being both supportive and developmental.  We are a trusted advisor.  We do not inspect, we are not judgmental.  We help in difficult situations, we back positive practice and we assist in identifying where further gains can be made in the interests of the learners we all serve.

Examples of our governance support include:

  • Confidential responsive support for Governance Professionals and Chairs navigating situations.

  • Board support on a full range of issues.

  • One-to-one professional developmental support and mentoring for Governance Professionals and Governors.

  • Board training sessions on relevant topics targeted at the specific audience.

  • Policy and process review, conducted by practising Governance Professionals with the backing of our education and charity lawyers.

  • External governance effectiveness reviews, scoped on an individualised basis to ensure impact.

External Governance Effectiveness Reviews

There is much discussion in the sector about the role of governance reviews.  This is an area in which Stone King has been active for years, with a very clear focus on development, support and impact – not inspection.  Designed in collaboration with its Consultant Professor Ron Hill, Stone King’s governance reviews are firmly focussed on supporting Boards and Governance Professionals to optimise the impact of good governance, helping colleges to be at their strongest for the benefit of students and the communities they serve.

Stone King’s methodology for external board reviews is developmental and supportive, recognising and recording highly effective practice for the Board and in-house Governance Professional to perpetuate and highlighting areas which would benefit from further development.  Gathering evidence and encouraging participation through a combination of observation, interviews, group sessions, surveys and document review, one of the outputs is a formal written report from Stone King, with recommendations and ranked priorities, presented in a group session to the Board. The reviews are delivered by Stone King’s experienced governance professional consultants, backed by its expert education and charity lawyers.

Stone King has a dedicated and talented 80-strong Education Team, passionate about supporting the mission of colleges. Spread across six offices nationwide, our team of specialist lawyers offer local support with the strength that comes from being part of a firm which is rated in the Top 200 by The Lawyer, the only national law firm top ranked by Chambers and Legal 500 for both education and charities, and the only firm in the country almost exclusively focussed on education and the third sector.

Stone King’s national Head of FE Tom Morrison can be contacted here for more information.