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Each month, we cover relevant and engaging subjects creating conversation in the sector.

December 2023

Future Charity Chairs Research Project

The Bayes Business School/Centre for Charity Effectiveness research project on future charity chairs is looking for chairs to take part in discussion groups in December.

There are further details here: Future Charity Chair Discussion Groups (

AoC Code of Good Governance - wording change

In response to feedback from the DfE, we will be making the following changes to the wording in the Code.

The second bullet point under Behaviours in Principle 3: Leadership and integrity, currently reading 'Externally appointed governors keep their independence,' will be updated to 'Governors must remain impartial and act with objectivity.'

The changes can be found here.

DfE Finance Record

The DfE have published an updated finance record template: College accounts direction - GOV.UK (

Please draw attention to questions 11a and b, regarding governance reviews, in the miscellaneous section of the
finance record.

FE Governance Guide – Investments

Adjustments have been made to the investments section (under Financial and estate management) of the FE governance guide. This is in the wake of the Charity Commission's updated investments guidance.

Please find the exact changes made to the investments section below.

Workforce/Governor Data Collection

The ESFA have issued a reminder regarding the workforce/governor data collection. Please find it in item 4 of the ESFA newsletter: ESFA Update further education: 18 October 2023 - GOV.UK (

The Charity Commission - Charities and social media

The DfE have shared a guidance on how to understand how your legal duties are relevant to your charity’s use of social media.

Please read the guidance here.

The Chartered Governance Institute - Governance Reviews Service

The Chartered Governance Institute has announced new support regarding governance reviews

It has revised its 'Code of Practice for Board Reviews' and has published a guidance note on reporting on reviews (for listed companies but useful for reference).

From September, it will offer training and accreditation for reviewers, together with workshops/toolkits/templates for commissioners of governance review services.

You can find out more here: Board Performance Review (

FE Governance Guide – Minor Changes

Please click here to see the minor changes made to the FE governance guide.

2 August 2023

Updated ‘FE and sixth-form college corporations: governance guide’. Replaced references to 'funding agreements' with 'accountability agreements'. Amended equality, diversity and inclusion section to clarify Public Sector Equality Duty requirements. Added a link to the Education and Training Foundation's qualifications for governance professionals, in the section on a governance professional’s specific role. Added a link to Department for Education guidance on asset disposals, in the further reading and resources.

Digital Skills/Strategy

Please see below for digital advice and support service for charities/the 3rd sector. This has a range of free resources and advice which may be of interest:

Catalyst - digital advice and support for UK non-profits (

Report on Charity Digital Skills:

The 2023 Charity Digital Skills Report is live - Zoe Amar Digital

UK Corporate Governance Code

The Department for Education has issued the following statement regarding the UK Corporate Governance Code:

''It's come to our attention that there is a misunderstanding in some quarters regarding the UK corporate governance code. As we aren't sure how widespread this misunderstanding is, we thought it would be helpful to clarify the position.

Under the funding agreement, a college corporation/designated institution must follow one of three governance codes: the charity governance code, the UK corporate code or the AoC code of good governance. If the corporation/DI follows the charity code or the AoC code, it must confirm compliance in its annual returns. If a corporation/DI follows the UK corporate code, it must confirm that it has had due regard to this. The reason for the 'due regard', rather than confirming compliance, is because not all aspects of the code are relevant to charities.

The misunderstanding we have come across is that, if a corporation/DI follows the charity code or the AoC code, it must also have due regard to the UK corporate code. This is not the case. If a corporation/DI has adopted the AoC code or the charity code, it does not need to pay any attention at all to the corporate code.

The exception to the above is where a board decision has been made to follow the UK corporate code in addition to one of the other codes.''

OFQUAL: Letter to governors and trustees about qualification results 2023

Please see the link to a letter from Ofqual to all college governors and trustees about this years upcoming results.

Letter to governors and trustees: Qualification results 2023

DfE Update: Adopting a new business (trading) name

The DfE's guidance for FE on changing the name of an institution has been updated to reflect the new powers of the Charity Commission (working name is) under the Charities Act 2022.

These powers are now in force. You can find the guidance here.

Curriculum Efficiency Benchmarking Tool

As part of the FE Commissioner's package of help and support for colleges, a new benchmarking tool was released in March using data collected in the 2022 Finance Record (FR22).

Known as 'Compare your curriculum efficiency', the tool includes a range of curriculum efficiency measures which have never previously been available to colleges as a national data set (the tool is distinct from the ESFA financial benchmarking tool). By selecting a menu of ‘family groups’, colleges can compare themselves against relevant data sets.

Due to the sensitivity of curriculum planning data, the benchmarking results have been anonymised so that confidentiality is preserved for this section. All colleges can access the tool in View Your Education Data.

Charities Act 2022 – Implementation Update

The Charity Commission has published an update on the implementation of the Charities Act 2022: Charities Act 2022: information about the changes being introduced

The only point of immediate relevance to exempt charities is the change to the rules on charity names. These rules will be extended to working names. The Charity Commission will, in consultation with the principal regulator, be able to direct an exempt charity to change its working name in certain circumstances.

The Commission will publish guidance at the point these parts of the legislation come into effect in June. The DfE will also update its names guidance around the same time.

ESFA Update further education: 10 May 2023

Please see the ESFA's latest update on further education by clicking here.

DfE Publications - 26 April 2023

The DfE have published the College Accounts Direction, Post 16 Audit Code of Practice, and Regularity Self-Assessment Questionnaire 2022-23.

Please find the relevant links below.

ESFA Update further education: 12 April 2023

The ESFA has compiled information on the following topics:

  • New guide for FE colleges on asset disposal
  • College and local authority accountability agreements
  • Community Learning, new Learning Aim Class Codes from 2023 to 2024

Please click here to read.

Announcement of funding for FE professional development – teachers, leadership, governance

DfE has announced funding for the professional development of leaders, governors and governance professionals, plus teachers. There is a link to the DfE tweet below and the communications script is also attached for info.

The link to the DfE tweet can be found below. Please also find attached the communications script for information.

Department for Education on Twitter: "For new further education teachers, a guiding hand from a mentor like Jason can make all the diffe
rence. That is why we are investing £14m in professional development for FE teachers, leaders and governors - bringing out the best in them, to bring out the best in learners.''

Bite-sized guides to aid colleges in meeting new requirements following reclassification

The DfE published a series of guides to assist colleges in achieving the reclassification requirements. Please click here to find out more.

College staff are strongly encouraged to read this guidance and must take any actions necessary resulting from the new arrangements.

16 to 19 funding: information for 2023 and 2024

The guidance on 16 to 19 funding for 2023/24 has been released. The guidance shows the updates and changes that will made to the funding in the next academic year. Please click here to find out more.

ONS Reclassification

We sent out a lot of information on 29 November about the ONS decision to reclassify colleges and DfE’s response.

Our member alert and all the links are available on the public part of our website here:

These slides address the specific governance aspects of this development.

To view all our upcoming events and webinars, please visit our website.

Further Education Estates Planning Guidance

The DfE has released a guidance on estates planning. Please click here to find out more.

FAQs for Governance Development Programme

The ETF has published FAQs onto the Governance Development Programme webpage. This document has some guidance for participants and also includes instructions on how governors can share their progress with GPs both (in written and video form).

The FAQs is a document that ETF will keep adding to over the next year, as new queries do come in.

Future Learn FAQs

Please contact the Governance Team for further information.