Monday, 14 July 2008

The future of governance

On Friday I went to a hugely stimulating workshop on the future of governance in the context of Extended Services, Children's Services and the whole concept of local delivery of family services.

The overall impression that I brought it away is that there is a clear recognition of the need to change the overall governance of service delivery as the concept of what a cluster is becomes embedded into the city. The basic philosophy behind this is that wherever possible all family services (including schools) will be delivered locally through one of 40-odd clusters. Interestingly these clusters are generally defined by groups of local schools. Whether or not the cluster is 'responsible' for children living in the cluster or educated in schools within the cluster is an interesting issue that remains unclear. The relevance for us, as a Special School, is that we take puipils from right across the city not just our local cluster (indeed we are not even included in a clsuter at present) and so the model needs tweaking for us - just like the Extended Services model is slightly different because of the geographic reach of our school.

It is important to note that we were not just talking about school governance, but overall governance of all the services offered to families in a cluster. The default model seems to have been that, because they are generally the only existing legal entity in a cluster, school governing bodies have become the focus for extended governance. I sensed an undercurrent of opinion that this was not viable into the future, not least because school governing bodies have a defined statutory role this does not include overall governance of the wide range of services likely to be delivered through the cluster arrangements. Other models, including Trusts and Charity Companies are being explored elsewhere in the city.

Watch this space, not least as I will use it to develop my own thinking on the topic...

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