This timely book is published by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, which is the membership and qualifying body for people working in governance, risk and compliance. It sets out to be the indispensable ‘go-to’ guide for anyone involved in the day-to-day governance of academies. Since there are now almost 4,500 academy schools, there is likely to be a significant market for it.
One of this work’s main achievements is to deal comprehensively and effectively with the potential confusion and misunderstanding that can arise around the meaning of, and the different roles of, trustees, directors and members. It does this particularly well in exploring the important differences between single academy and multi-academy trusts.
A necessary health warning has to be that the book’s analysis of the Department for Education’s model documentation for funding agreements, and memorandum and articles of association will inevitably become dated as new versions are brought into use, which happens several times a year. The author rightly stresses the importance of readers always referring to the original documentation. But I wondered whether an electronic version of the book might have been more user-friendly in allowing for regular updating.
Author: Katie Paxton-Doggett
Publisher: ICSA (£24.95)
However, that potential problem should not detract from the immediate value of this publication. It is well-written, and the layout is attractive, with extensive use of ‘experience’ and ‘comment’ boxes from practitioners, commentators and lawyers to break up the text. Each chapter, helpfully, begins with a short ‘In this chapter’ section, setting the intended agenda for that chapter, and ends with a detailed ‘Summary’ section that serves to consolidate learning. Additionally, there are enough real-life case studies to ensure that it never turns into a turgid textbook.
The book finishes with a range of useful precedents. Many relate to aspects of risk management, which has become such an important part of the corporate governance of academies.
I would expect this work to be well-received by an education sector still getting to grips with some of the implications of what has been a tumultuous period of changes to the way schools are operated.
Mark Blois is head of education at Browne Jacobson