Recognising Excellence In The Governance of Independent Training Providers

This project was commissioned to review the current form and effectiveness of governance in the independent training provider (ITP) sector, including the changing roles and responsibilities of directors and non-executive directors, to draw out and highlight good practice, and to disseminate this to a wider sector audience.

The project addressed the questions of what defines good governance in the ITP sector and what structures are needed to support and promote it. The project looked in detail at the comments and judgements of Ofsted inspectors made in their inspection reports, reviewed the shape and form of the sector via a semi-structured survey and undertook six observation visits to evaluate governance in action. Each section summarises the findings, and the report contains several short case studies of good practice.

The review also considered what is deemed to be good practice in other parts of the FE/HE sector, and best practice as described by the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries. The project also reviewed the changes to the UK Corporate Governance Code, Charity Sector Code and specific industry guidance.

As the project progressed, it was determined that in light of the emerging evidence from other sectors and the low take up of the use of a code, there was a need for a more robust approach to governance, and so a draft code of good governance for the independent training sector was developed as part of the project.

This draft code represents a standard of good governance practice to which all ITPs should aspire. It has been developed by the sector through a sector provider steering group and constructed so that providers can adapt it proportionately to their circumstances. It has been constructed so that, as a sector, providers can demonstrate they are taking governance seriously and ensuring accountability for public funds. But, more than just avoiding bad practice, it is about realising potential, understanding and maximising the difference ITPs make in supporting the post-16 education and skills sector and how they change the lives ofstudents, trainees and apprentices for the better.

The research has led to the conclusion that, although there is much good practice, governance is under-developed in the FE sector including amongst ITPs and more needs to be done to support good governance. This report concludes with 10 recommendations covering action for providers, AELP, Ofsted and the Department for Education (DfE).

The draft code is available on the AELP website and following feedback will be finalised later in 2018.

Download >