External reviews of governance

Find out how an external review of governance (ERG) can help you improve your board's effectiveness, and how to commission a review. Know what to expect from the review process and how to get the most benefit from the reviewer's insights.

Last reviewed on 14 February 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 40438
  1. Why have an external review of governance (ERG)?
  2. When to have an external review 
  3. How to commission a review
  4. What to expect from your review
  5. What to do after the review

This article is based on the Department for Education's (DfE's) guide to external reviews of governance.

Why have an external review of governance (ERG)?

Having an independent, external person review the effectiveness of your governance can give your board:

  • An objective view of your strengths and areas for improvement
  • Clear recommendations for improvement
  • An opportunity to review your strategic direction 
  • The chance to evaluate the effectiveness of your processes and systems

The reviewer will assess your board's effectiveness based on the 6 features of effective governance set out in the Governance Handbook:

  • Strategic leadership
  • Accountability
  • People
  • Structures
  • Compliance
  • Evaluation

They'll work closely with your board, senior leaders and the clerk to look at ways to improve your board's performance. The review should allow you to reassure stakeholders or trust members that you take your responsibilities seriously and are trying to carry them out effectively.

It should review how