Everyone involved in the governance of an academy, multi-academy trust (MAT) or maintained school holds an important public office. The recent white paper Educational Excellence Everywhere sets out our plans to implement a national database of all those involved in governance by extending the information collected via Edubase. This is part of our drive to increase transparency on who governs our schools. It will enable DfE to more quickly and accurately identify individuals who have a role in governance. It will also help boards as well as DfE to identify more easily where individuals govern in more than one context.
From September 2016 the Academies Financial Handbook will require academy trusts to provide information about their members and trustees as well as (in the case of MATs) those sitting on any local governing bodies that may be in place. Generally, academy trusts are required under their funding agreements to provide to the Secretary of State information she requests about the academy trust or the academy, which she regards as necessary to fulfil her role and responsibilities. We have pre-populated Edubase where possible with information you have provided via the Education Funding Agency’s Information Exchange. From 1 July 2016 the system will be live for academy trusts and multi-academy trusts to check their entries, make any updates, and populate any fields that are empty. Edubase will be developed by September 2016 to enable multi-academy trusts to record details of any committees that operate between the trust board and local governing bodies at school level (eg overseeing a cluster of academies within the MAT). Trusts will be required to update Edubase as those involved in governance change.
Under section 538 of the Education Act 1996, maintained school governing bodies will be under a duty to provide the information required on Edubase from September 2016, and keep it up to date as those involved in governance change. We do not hold information on maintained school governors and so cannot pre-populate these fields. The fields are already live for governing bodies that wish to populate them in advance of the duty coming into force in September. We will update the Governance handbook on the constitution of maintained schools governing bodies to reflect this new requirement.
Information to be collected
For all maintained school governors, and academy trustees, members and local governors, the data we will collect in Edubase and make publicly available is:
- full name (including title)
- appointing body (eg board, foundation, parents etc)
- date of appointment
- date term of office ends / ended if in last year
- for maintained schools whether they are the chair of governors or a member of the governing body, and for academies whether they are a trust member, a trustee, the chair of trustees, or a local governor on a local governing body
In addition, for all these individuals we will collect within Edubase, but not publish, a range of information to help us to identify specific individuals:
- date of birth
- previous names
- direct email address for chair
This governance data that is not publicly available will be encrypted within the system and access will be restricted to a small number of users who need it to fulfil their official responsibilities. The email address of the chair of the board will be made available to regional schools commissioner offices on request where they need direct contact with the chair. Subject to successful pilots, we will also use the email address to send to chairs information about the issues that national performance data suggests the board needs to address with its senior leadership team.
When collecting information from your governors and trustees please make them aware that you will be sharing this information with DfE, and also explain the reasons why the information is being collected and the purpose to which it will be used.
EduBase is accessed via your Secure Access account.