Dithering Governors

Individual governors and the collective views of governing bodies have provided a wise source of advice to senior college managers for 11 decades and more. Unpaid and giving up much of their time they have proved to be a useful touchstone on community needs.

Like any stable and experienced body, a Board of Governors contributes to considerable procrastination and there will be issues from time-to-time that have not been encountered previously. One such case in the late 80s was when a promotion came up for a Senior Lecturer; these were sought after posts and occurred infrequently. The appointment process following short-listing was to give each lecturer 5 minutes to read 3 questions, and 5 minutes to answer them in front of the whole governing body. Heads of Department had again 5 minutes to read the 3 questions and 10 minutes to address the governing body. The rarity of the senior lecturing post caused a problem of equity in relation to how many minutes should be given for each candidate; a senior lecturer post coming somewhere in the hierarchy between lecture and head of department. After a fairly lengthy debate amongst the governors — officers were not allowed to offer their view — the board settled on seven and half minutes for each candidate. Equity prevailed.

Being exercised with fairness in the recruitment and appointment process did not always prevail. The term post-code lottery in determining the winning candidate preceded its current use in today’s political debate on the service provided by the NHS.

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