External Reviews of Governance

PAG Staff2023, Article, Capacity Mapping, Governance, Leadership, RAAC, Schools

External Reviews of Governance

Reviewing Your Governance

In this short blog, we discuss the importance and nuances of External Reviews of Governance (ERG) within the education sector and particularly within multi-academy trusts.

Regular governance reviews are a critical aspect of good governance, demonstrating a trust’s commitment not only to the quality of its leadership and decision-makers, but also its preparedness for future plans for growth or expansion. Reviews carried out by impartial, external third parties should be considered as best practice as Ofsted queries the level of external scrutiny, meaning marking one’s own homework is not good enough.

While external reviews of governance are vital, they are often overlooked as simply ‘nice to have’, dropping down the to-do list as more pressing issues (such as RAAC) naturally take precedence. Schools and trusts will often only look to undertake a review of governance, and not necessarily an external one, as a response to specific concerns from the DfE or Ofsted which need to be addressed quickly, often meaning changes or reviews are implemented reactionarily as opposed to with a view to genuine change and improvement.

There are though, plenty of positive and pre-emptive reasons to carry out an external review of governance, not least the importance of ensuring you are led by an efficient team. For instance, exploring your capacity for growth is a significant step in moving your trust to the next level, and with a proper, impartial external review of governance, you can avoid taking on too much with a team not ready for that step.

An external review of governance cannot and should not be a ‘tick box’ exercise. While many hygiene factors of an ERG need to be observed, the review should be tailored to the specific context of the trust. No two trusts’ reviews should look the same, even for similar organisations, as their objectives will almost certainly be different; there is little point reviewing your governance without a clear idea of where your trust wants to be in the next few weeks, months, and years and whether the current governance structure and system will support this. An external review of governance not only delivers a clear picture of where you are today, but allows you to look ahead to what’s next and understand how you’ll get there.


At PAG, we have a long history of supporting organisational growth with bespoke, best-in-class external reviews of governance. If you would like to speak to us about how we could do the same for you, please use the contact page above.