Headlines: June 1st, 2005

Parent Governor Representatives who are elected to sit on local authority scrutiny committees are to get special guidance on the important contribution they are making to local decision-making and accountability within the education system.The Centre for Public Scrutiny and The Department for Education and Skills have jointly produced an induction pack to help new Parent Governors to understand their role and the practical issues associated with being a ‘citizen governor’. The pack, released today, stresses the importance of building relationships, particularly through the innovative introduction of local authority mentors who help to develop a shared understanding of the role and encourage parent governors to be effective representatives.

The induction pack includes background information on the scrutiny function, details of the interaction between PGRs and the local authority and suggestions for further support. A second document – ‘The Effective PGR – From Principles to Practice’ – offers advice on the four principles of effective scrutiny and how to apply them in a committee environment. It includes practical examples of effective scrutiny of educational matters.The pack also lists organisations involved in decision-making and scrutiny within education, a year planner to record scrutiny committee activities and checklists so Parent Governors can ensure they have received thorough induction and guidance.

Dr Jane Martin, Executive Director at the Centre for Public Scrutiny, said Parent Governor Representatives had an important and interesting role but the complexity of the task should not be underestimated, especially as PGRs were busy people working in a voluntary capacity and might be new to a local authority.

The induction pack will be distributed to all PGRs in England this month together with a mentor pack for the governors and local authority representatives who provide mentoring support.