The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is consulting on a new Code of Good Governance for Independent Training Providers who deliver publicly funded skills programmes on behalf of the government.
The draft Code sets out the key themes and principles which any provider in the sector will need to adopt in order to show that it is conducting its business in the best interest of its trainees, Training employers, key stakeholders and funders.
It adopts and builds on the Seven (Nolan) Principles of Public Life which provide an ethical framework for the personal behaviour of a provider’s board members and leadership.
These standards are:
With support from the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), the Code has been designed to apply to all independent training providers (ITPs), including limited companies, charities and not-for-profit organisations and AELP is strongly recommending that all of its ITP members adopt it.
Although developed with a medium sized company in mind, it does cover all sized providers. However it is expected there will be variations in the manner in which these entities will implement the Code due to their organisational differences.
The Code’s development, led by former senior civil servant Dr Sue Pember OBE and ex HMI Karen Adriaanse in partnership with AELP, is a response to the fact that although there are many examples of good governance too often high profile failings, as evidenced by Ofsted, financial failure or other regularities are a consequence of poor governance and oversight.
The publication of the Code as a draft for consultation was announced by AELP chairman Martin Dunford OBE at the start of the AELP National Conference on 25 June in London.
AELP CEO Mark Dawe said:
“The governance of many independent training providers has much to commend and it is been a major factor in their growth. However the sector recognises that there is always room for improvement and this is why it has come together to produce this Code.
“ITPs are delivering training funded with £1.8bn of public money every year and good governance helps ensure that funds are well spent, are focused on government priorities and are delivering high quality teaching and learning for the benefit of employers and learners. Adoption of the Code should not limit innovation in guidance or stifle the dynamic nature of ITPs for which they are renowned. This is why AELP has no hesitation in recommending its adoption to member providers.”
Dr Sue Pember said:
“Having observed many examples of good and poor governance in the further education and skills sector, I was delighted to accept the approach from AELP and FETL to lead on the development of this important Code. Effective governance is a major contributor to the success of a business and the sector’s reputation as a whole.
“In adopting the Code, providers are signalling a willingness to enter into a new era of governance with an energy and commitment to ensure the very highest standards for their stakeholders.”
Dame Ruth Silver, founding President of the Further Education Trust for Leadership, said:
“The applied research which has underpinned the preparation of the new Code is exactly the type of work that FETL was set up to support. I am delighted that we have been able to partner with AELP on a project which should have a direct impact on the quality of skills training because it can make a real difference for providers of all sizes.”
The draft Code is based on the following expectations of good governance, which illustrate the values and beliefs of provider’s non-executive directors, directors and/or trustees:
- Putting the trainee, apprentice and employer first
- Promoting high expectations and ambitions for trainees, apprentice and staff
- Listening to trainees, apprentice employers and staff.
- Promoting inspirational training, teaching and learning and assessment
- Creating a safe environment for trainees and apprentices to train, learn and develop
- Providing strong strategic leadership and challenge to the senior team
- Demonstrating accountability to all stakeholders, including publishing accurate and timely information on performance
- Ensuring the achievement of equality of opportunity and diversity throughout the organisation.