Governers' Association of North Somerset

Memorandum of Understanding

between North Somerset Council

and the Governors Association

of North Somerset (GANS)


This document describes the agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which underpins the development of an effective partnership between North Somerset Council and the Governors Association of North Somerset (GANS). GANS represents all governing bodies across all three phases of education.

This undertaking will strengthen the partnership between the Local Authority (LA) and North Somerset’s Governors and will facilitate the achievement of shared aims and objectives, which include:

  • promoting continuous and sustained school improvement in all the LA’s schools
  • promoting the highest standards of governance in all the LA’s schools
  • supporting strategic improvements in the LA schools through active participation with Government through the National Governor’s Association
  • promoting mutual trust and transparency between the LA and governing bodies through partnership working.

The MoU does not set out a definitive formula for success, but sets out issues that should be considered jointly. It is based on the principle that the relationship between the LA and GANS is an indication and measure of the level of partnership between the LA and governing bodies in the authority. What is paramount is that the memorandum identifies what works best at a local level for both parties.

The vision

The development of independent school governor associations in each LA has seen a significant change and an important stage in the emergence of a national voice for a voluntary workforce with over 300,000 members, and in North Somerset of some 1500 governors.

It recognises the greater involvement of central Government in the work of schools and the crucial role of school governors in delivering their manifesto commitments.

An independent governor association represents an important stakeholder group which is uniquely placed to facilitate and promote trust and transparency between the LA and governing bodies. This is reinforced by a commitment to common objectives.

Nature of the relationship

GANS enjoys membership from the majority of governing bodies and can therefore be a powerful independent voice representing the governors of North Somerset .

GANS recognises that it must be a responsible voice, however it will not criticise publicly the LA or any of the committees, forums or boards on which it sits. Similarly the LA will respect GANS’ independence.

Overview of the partnership



  1. LA uses GANS as a consultative body on school governance issues.


·      GANS responds actively to consultations with LA.

·      LA invites GANS to nominate governors to sit of subject committees and reference groups.

·      GANS recognises the importance of taking an active interest in consultations by the LA about its services and the Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP)

·      GANS seeks to improve the level of response to LA consultation and works to make sure that all governing bodies have the opportunity to respond.


  1. LA recognises the value of GANS and supports its continuation


·      GANS respects the partnership with LA and recognises shared goals.

·      LA operates an inclusive policy and automatically notifies GANS on new developments.

·      LA supports GANS by inclusion in joint meetings with governors and other partnership activities.

·      LA acknowledges the role of GANS and its importance as an independent body.

·      LA is aware of the OFSTED view of the importance of GANS in their inspection.

·      GANS is viewed as an equal partner to other stakeholder groups in the LA, such as head teachers and parents.

·      GANS and the LA agree the shared goal identified plans which relate to schools and services to schools.


  1. LA recognises the importance of governors’ views presented by GANS and may modify its actions.


·      GANS provides LA with valuable insight into the effects of its actions and proposed actions on schools.

·      LA uses the views of governors to develop its customer focus with schools, through governing bodies.

·      GANS develops an informed view from school governors and ensures that LA strategic planning takes account of it.


  1. LA recognises the importance of the GANS’ national voice in support of its schools.


·      GANS actively lobbies local MPs on issues relating to the authority’s schools.


  1. LA and GANS share the same aim for school improvement


·      GANS supports LA by promoting sustainable, cost-effective school improvement in LA and national policies, conscious of the annual planning cycle.

·      GANS develops a full partnership with the LA which ensures that there is a continual dialogue which leads to improved policies and strategic planning that affects schools.


GANS – Governing Bodies relationships

GANS à Governing Bodies

Governing Bodies àGANS

·      GANS regularly informs its member Governing Bodies about its work.


·      Governing Bodies feed back issues and matter of concern to GANS


·      GANS regularly attends meetings of governors called by the LA to promote its work and to increase membership


·      Governing Bodies welcome the involvement of GANS in raising issues and challenging policies.


·      GANS consults with its member Governing Bodies to inform its local and national responses to consultations


·      Governing Bodies feels involved in local and national policy making, and through GANS, know their views are taken into account.


·      GANS holds termly meetings for its members on current issues and consultations.


·      School governors welcome the opportunity to discuss with colleagues and network.


·      GANS has an active website and email system to communicate with its members.


·      Governing Bodies commit to visiting the website on a regular basis.


Strategic overview

This MoU is designed to secure a structured approach to ensuring the quality and effectiveness of school improvement strategies through a working partnership between GANS and the LA through:

·      A continual review of partnership arrangements.

·      Dissemination of information and sharing examples of good practice.

·      A collaborative approach to raising the profile of the respective roles of the LA and GANS.

·      Monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of services to schools.

·      Regular exchanges of information and updates on strategic policy and service changes.

·      A joint approach to raising awareness of school improvement and promoting governance issues.

·      GANS representation on LA committees and working parties.

·      GANS to act as a nominating authority for the election of governors to statutory committees.

·      A standing column for GANS in the North Somerset Governor briefing sheet.

A key joint objective of GANS and the LA is to make sure that effective consultation takes place by working in partnership, focussing the views of governors on relevant issues that affect school improvement.

There must be consideration of:

·      the timings of meetings to improve access to governors

·      the location of meetings and the distance governors will have to travel

·      the timing of consultations to ensure the widest circulation and consideration

·      providing appropriate briefings and information at least seven days before meetings or the start of consultations.


The funding of GANS is through annual subscriptions which enable it to discharge its functions effectively.

Governor involvement

There are  currently 1222 governor positions in North Somerset.

We will:

·      encourage governors to understand the importance of authority-wide strategic considerations

·      develop a joint approach to increasing governor involvement and commitment in school improvement and progressing new initiatives

·      seek to widen governor involvement in consultation at local and national levels

·      share good practice in school governance throughout the LA’s schools.

Information requirements

The LA and GANS are willing to share whatever information is necessary to support the continued development of school governing bodies, to help them in their role and to ensure that they are fully informed of relevant issues.

GANS’ Executive Committee takes responsibility for liaising with governing bodies and getting feedback from school governors about LA services and consultations, and assessing their impact. Areas of concern are fed back as quickly as practical to the relevant agencies in the LA.

Promoting school improvement

·      The LA and GANS jointly recognise the important role of school governors in the strategic leadership and management of schools.

·      GANS will organise events to share good practice between school governing bodies.

Keeping in touch

We agree to work together to develop a strong and effective working relationship through regular meetings, to address specific issues and to organise membership of the committees and working parties. GANS acts as the focus group for school governance for the LA.

Review period

This framework will be reviewed on an annual basis, in the first instance, in Term 2 of  2010.

Agreed by Colin Diamond and the GANS Executive Committee  on

12 June 2009


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