Is there a danger that in times of crisis, the governing body runs the risk of becoming too operational? Typically, management will carry the day-to-day burden of managing the response to the pandemic. However, the board’s role remains crucial. The board is the body with ultimate legal responsibility for the college - consequently, it needs to monitor management’s actions, assessing whether management is taking appropriate steps and providing additional support, guidance and direction where necessary. It also needs to demonstrate accountability to stakeholders – particularly its students and its immediate community.
Governors have the potential to offer a more neutral and objective perspective on decision-making than may be possible for management, being caught up in the day-to-day problem solving of a rapidly changing environment. Governors, in their primarily strategic role, can keep in mind the college’s ultimate purpose, its values and the likely impact of decisions on a broad range of stakeholders. These are essential qualities when managing a crisis.
In order to do this, governors needs to remain well-informed of developments within the college, as well as being appraised of the rapidly changing external situation. It is important to ensure that all governors are aware of developments and involved in discussions and decision-making. Decisions may need to be made quickly, but not at the expense of good governance - such decisions will need to stand up to scrutiny in the years to come.