Strategic Governance a key cog

I have worked with many wonderful people during my career, now in my current work and previously with National/Local Governments, on the theme of Governance and scrutiny.

One of my favourite colleagues to work with is Sheila Marsh.  Sheila and I worked together on many exciting projects, tackling health inequalities, children's mental health, and one project in 2012 that firmly seated Governance as a central cog in a reforming health system.  Recognising that whilst all was changing, the one constant was Governance and scrutiny, holding services to account for outcomes.

Fast forward to 2021, and it still resonates with me and my work with schools.  Governance IS a key cog in a school accountability system and in securing the best education for our children. My work, Shaping Governance, is aimed at helping Governance to remain strategic, providing leadership and support to their schools, and forging the best working relationships with school leaders.

Better Governance = Better outcomes

One of the diagrams produced by Sheila and myself was one on Strategic Governance*.  I use it with the Schools that I support, as it provides a useful visual for Governors - and helpful for considering where a board is on the diagram - the top line or sinking to the bottom.

I first presented this at a conference that I ran for the National Association of Head Teachers, and the diagram proved popular.  Governors can get sucked down into operational aspects of a school, especially in smaller schools, or where roles are not clearly defined; however, their role is strategic.  In the words of the National Governance Association,  'eyes-on, hands-off'.


So, ask yourself:  How can Governance stay on the top line of the diagram, doing both, and not sinking to the areas at the bottom?

To help Boards to create space for strategic discussions, we created a 'Think-list' - based on S.T.R.A.T.E.G.I.C Governance©.  A tip for each letter.

S = Streamline - Declutter your agenda to allow for strategic conversations

T = Transparent - Be clear on roles, responsibilities, delegation & accountabilities

R = Resourceful - Use the expertise of all board members to solve problems

You can sign up for your free copy of S.T.R.A.T.E.G.I.C by visiting and signing up to receive emails.

Adapted from original co-produced by Shaila March - 1999 ‘A 'really useful' tool for managing paradox’, with Marion Macalpine, Journal of Management Development, vol 18 no 8

© Insight to Impact Consulting Ltd 2017 - 2021

Posted in Shaping Governance.