An Instrument of Government is the legal document for Local Authority schools that records the constitution of the governing body and the term of office for each category of governor as well as the name of the school. It can be reviewed or changed at any time by the governing body or the LA provided the correct procedure is followed.

New regulations were introduced in 2012 giving greater flexibility to governing bodies of LA maintained schools over their composition and appointment of governors, so any school re-constituting after this date must conform to the new regulations.

For an Academy Trust the composition of its governing body is reflected in its Articles of Association. In the case of Multi-academy trusts the local governance arrangements are detailed in a scheme of delegation. We are not involved in drawing up these documents.

Drawing Up an Instrument of Government

Whenever a governing body of a Local Authority school wishes to alter the composition of the governing body, the term of office of a category of governor, the name of the school or the school category, a new instrument of government must be drawn up. A flow chart showing the full process is given later in this section. Instruments are drawn up using standard formats and once agreed, are sealed by us to make them legal documents. Governing Bodies are encouraged to use the flexibilities available and to consider changing their composition by altering the number of governors required in a particular category in order to build capacity (if the governing body is small), address long standing vacancies or to bring in governors with the desired skills and experience.

Any proposal to change a school name must be determined by a unanimous vote of the governing body and any governor who is unable to be present at the meeting when the vote is taken will be able to vote by proxy. Proxy voting is not allowed in any other circumstances.

We will advise on any changes to instruments, the size and composition of governing body and will produce a draft for consideration that reflects the required change(s). In the case of voluntary aided or voluntary controlled school, it is strongly advised that the relevant diocese is contacted for advice. For these schools, there must also be consultation and agreement with the foundation governors, any trustees and the appropriate religious authority before any changes can be made.

The draft instrument must be considered by the governing body as an agenda item at a full governing body meeting. The agreed instrument, together with a copy of the relevant governing body minute should be sent to us and we will check to see that it complies with legal requirements and then will arrange for the new instrument to be 'made'. This is done by the Legal Services section who apply an official seal. Copies of the new instrument will be sent by us to the clerk for distribution. We include a copy of the relevant instrument in each new governors' training and development folder.

Instrument of Government Flowchart
A flowchart which shows governing bodies how to draw up a new instrument of government.