Governance of Learn Devon

The Good Governance Standard for Public Services Guide identifies six principles of good governance:

  • Focusing on the organisation’s purpose and on outcomes for communities and learners.
  • The governance body performing effectively both as individuals and as a team in defined roles and responsibilities.
  • Promoting values for the whole organisation and behaving with integrity.
  • Taking informed, transparent decisions and managing risk.
  • Developing the capacity and capability of the governance body to be effective.
  • Engaging stakeholders and making accountability real.

Activity of the Governing Body

Learn Devon sits as part of Devon County Council and is part of the Financial, HR, Audit and departmental oversight. This document relates to the activity of the governing body set up to provide a wider educational and community oversight and challenge as an advisory body.

The key activities of the governance body is to:

  • Review and Agree the Strategic Plan for Learn Devon, ensuring that it supports the needs of the community.
  • Ensure that the organisation’s self-assessment report (SAR) reflects the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and the requirements of external funding agencies.
  • Challenge all aspects of the provider’s performance against strategic priorities and agreed targets (including Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Finance, Learner Satisfaction).
  • Assess the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) arising from the SAR: the QIP will reflect appropriate targets and KPIs identifying any areas of underperformance and action to address this.


The membership provides an opportunity both to represent the communities Learn Devon works with and provide an additional skill set to support the strategic development of the organisation. Members must be able to commit time to support the organisation much like the role of a school governor, where the commitment extends beyond simply attending meetings.

The Governance Board is comprised of:

  • Elected Member: Portfolio Holder (Chair)
  • Elected Member: One other by appointment
  • Senior Officer: Head of Services
  • Senior Officer: Head of Learn Devon – to represent the service and senior management
  • Staff Representative – one by election of staff group
  • External governors – two by appointment

Commitment to Membership

Three meetings per annum. Each meeting is likely to also require 1-2 hours preparation time to read through papers.
In addition, Learn Devon welcomes contribution to the Self-Assessment Report.

Learn Devon would provide regular reports (approximately bi-monthly) on finance and performance against internal Key Performance Indicators and would welcome comment/challenge on performance through electronic and/or face to face basis according to the existing commitments of the membership.

Attendance at Ofsted inspection would be welcome in a supportive role – although it is recognised that Learn Devon usually only receive 3 days notification of the visit, this will be dependent on other commitments.

Learn Devon will provide appropriate support and training where required e.g. online safeguarding, PREVENT training.

Information about the Learn Devon Board and Board Membership

The board sets Learn Devon’s strategy and provides strategic leadership including the approval each year of a delivery/ business plan. The Board’s remit includes:

  • Oversight of the general running of Learn Devon acting as a sounding board and providing support and a critical challenge to the Head of Service and core team.
  • Agreeing and monitoring the progress of the delivery plan.
  • Agreeing and monitoring the annual budget (1 and 3 year forecast)
  • Identifying key themes of work, guided by the priorities of the delivery plan.

Appendix A: Board Member – Role Description


Board Member of the Learn Devon Board


  • Provide input to strategic leadership and be a proactive advocate for Learn Devon and its work.
  • Extend the network, influence and resource of Learn Devon and its work.
  • A small number of Board Members volunteer to lead oversight for particular areas such as performance, risk and finance.
  • Support the Chairperson, Chief Executive and Learn Devon Staff.

Role of Board Member is to:</h3)

  • Advocate for Adult Education in Devon County council and a Champion for Learn Devon within their own sector and networks.
  • Promote the vision for Learn Devon Contribute to effective Board performance and management.
  • Ensure that Learn Devon remains fit for purpose.
  • Ensure all aspects of Learn Devon are fully and effectively monitored and evaluated.
  • Ensure all partners are kept updated on the developments within Learn Devon.
  • Support and respect the roles of the Head of Service and staff of Learn Devon.


  • Board members should work and/or reside in the geographical county of Devon.


  • This is a non-paid position. Travel and other reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.


  • Initially a three-year term to be reviewed annually.

Board Member – Person Specification

Board members will need to possess demonstrable experience across the following:

  • Strategic vision, planning and management.
  • Involvement in adult learning, formal or otherwise.
  • Leadership
  • Communication and networking
  • Negotiation and mediation
  • Cross agenda working
  • Decision making
  • Equality and diversity
  • High level experience, adult learning related or otherwise, in one or more sectors relevant to the work of Learn Devon this may include:
      • Relevant local authority functions
      • Health / social Care
      • Education / Young Peoples services
      • Voluntary / community
      • Business / commercial

Board Members will need to possess demonstrable knowledge and skills across the following:

  • Commitment to and broad understanding of the benefits of adult learning.
  • Understanding partnership working.
  • Ability to build and sustain constructive relationship.
  • Ability to motivate and inspire.
  • Creative and innovative
  • Skilled communicator and negotiator.
  • Ability and willingness to act as an advocate for adult learning.
  • Understanding and commitment to equality.
  • High level expertise in one or more of the following:
      • Strategic planning and management.
      • Marketing/ PR/ Communication.
      • Research.
      • Financial planning and management.
      • Business planning.
      • Performance management.
      • Fund raising and inward investment.
      • Networking and advocacy.
      • Negotiation and mediation.

Board Members will need to process the following personal qualities:

  • Commitment to the vision and objectives of Learn Devon
  • Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
  • Diplomacy and discretion.
  • Team working ethic.
  • Willingness to devote necessary time and effort.


Updated June 2021