Governors' and trustees' codes of conduct: models and examples

Make your expectations clear with our model code of conduct. It sets out what you can expect from governors and trustees, from core responsibilities to professional behaviours.

Updated
on 30 April 2024
See updates
Ref: 40700
Contents
  1. Download our model code of conduct
  2. Review annually
  3. Trust examples
  4. Updates to our model policy

Download our model code of conduct

Our model code of conduct:

  • Is approved by Forbes Solicitors
  • Is designed so you can adapt it to your trust's context and set it across your trust, so local governors can sign up to it too
  • Takes account of relevant requirements and good practice
Model code of conduct: trustees/local governors (academies) DOCX, 674.2 KB

Tailor the document to reflect:

  • Your scheme of delegation
  • Any other relevant policies that your trustees/local governors must follow (e.g. social media and IT policies)
  • Whether your constitutional documents (i.e. articles of association, funding agreement) set out specific requirements for governance procedures and conduct

Make sure all trustees and local governors read and agree to the code of conduct, alongside any other relevant documents or requirements. 

It's not a statutory requirement for you to have a code of conduct, but the academy trust governance guide (section 1.1.4) says that 'effective boards create and maintain a code of conduct'.

Review annually

Although there's no required review frequency, Forbes Solicitors recommends you review and agree the code of conduct annually, upon significant changes to the law, or as needed. Your full board should ratify it.

Check that your chosen review frequency doesn't contradict anything in your constitutional documents. 

You can add a custom confirmation on your GovernorHub page, which allows governors to agree to the code of conduct and keeps a record of this online. 

Trust examples

Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust, an 18-school trust, has a code of conduct for its trustees and governors.

The Education Alliance, an 11-school trust, has a governance code of conduct.

Updates to our model policy

Important correction to make to your policy, if you downloaded it before 28 April 2022

Our previous model policy included provisions for the suspension of trustees. However, we have since realised that the Companies Act 2006, under which trustees are appointed, makes clear that trustees can only be removed, not suspended. (Note, this does not stop you from using suspension as a sanction for governors on local governing bodies because, unlike trustees, they aren't directors under charities law)
 
If you downloaded and used our model policy before 28 April 2022, you'll need to update it to reflect this point.
 
To update your policy:
 
  • We recommend you replace your existing appendix 1 with appendix 1 of our updated model code of conduct for trusts. This is likely to be the simplest approach and will make sure you cover everything you need to
  • Or, if you don’t wish to replace the whole appendix, remove references to suspending trustees, so it’s clear your trust only has the power to remove them. You can keep references to the suspension of local governors, who can be suspended or removed (subject to your constitutional documents)
  • We also recommend that you check your articles of association and update them if they include provisions for trustee suspensions
Forbes Solicitors has checked and approved our changes.

 

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