Trustees and governors should provide ongoing governance as best as they can in the circumstances. Communication is key so chairs / clerks to governing bodies should aim to contact the rest of the governing board(s) to agree their proposals for the continued operation of the governing body, including any online / telephone conference facilities which are available to enable the trustees / governors to continue to operate remotely.
If your board does not currently have the power to hold virtual meetings, then trustees / governors should address this as one of the first items on the agenda. Contingency plans should also be put in place in case trustees or governors become unavailable. Trustees of multi academy trusts should update governors on local committees about any interim governance arrangements that are in place during this period and keep them updated as the situation develops.
For any urgent decisions, a school or trust might need to rely on ‘chair’s action’, although you will need to check if such authority has been delegated to the chair (and possibly the vice-chair) to enable this to happen. We can advise further on the process of delegating this authority and the wording for a resolution if required.
Guidance from the Department for Education encourages governing boards to be pragmatic in what they cover in meetings during this time, and to be proportionate in the decisions that they are planning to take. The focus should be on urgent, time-bound decisions including the organisation’s contingency plans should key members of staff become unavailable, signing off on the budget, monitoring the organisation’s response to any urgent compliance, legal or regulatory issues, reviewing the school’s current provision (both in school and remotely) in light of the Government’s guidance and monitoring any health and safety, wellbeing and safeguarding issues which arise relating to stakeholders. There may be other issues which require urgent consideration in the weeks and months ahead and our team can advise further on any governance issues which might arise,