Clerks accreditation for local authorities


Why use the Accredited Clerk programme?

The importance of professional clerking has never been greater. Schools have been given increased freedoms and greater accountability and the government has recognised that the contribution professional clerking can make to effective governance of schools is very significant. Being accredited means you, and others, can be confident that the clerk is an effective practitioner.

The Accreditation Programme is an evidenced based assessment against national competence standards and therefore provides assurance of operating as an effective professional practitioner. The programme is also developmental and fits well with other in-house training and briefing programmes.

Programme outline

What areas of the clerk’s role does the programme cover?

The standards are built around the key elements of the clerk’s role including the potential additional responsibilities in an academy setting as follows:

  • administration practice
  • educational awareness and principles of legal knowledge
  • supporting and advising a governance body
  • communication and relationships
  • performance and professional development
  • enabling effective governance
  • supporting the company secretary (optional for academy and free school clerks)

Clerks are supported by a briefing, either face to face or via an e-learning module and receive telephone and e-mail support. Clerks compile a personal portfolio of evidence against the standards for assessment with the support of their assessor. Resources to support the programme are provided.

The support and engagement of the chair and headteacher are essential to the process. The completed portfolio goes through initial assessment by the assessor and then internal and external moderation to ensure consistent, high standards are maintained.

Successful candidates achieve a Level 3 certificate in Clerking for Governance Bodies in Schools and Academies (awarded by SFJ Awards & Industry Qualifications).

What are the routes for providers of clerking services and local authorities?

You can consider three routes:

  • if you have sufficient numbers of clerks and staff capacity to have your own trained mentors/assessors, then you can consider running the programme in-house under licence. Licence holders have centrally trained and moderated mentors/assessors and participate in assessment and moderation days. They receive support through the a Moodle site and programme lead
  • if you do not want to have your own mentors/assessors you can still offer the programme to your clerks and we will run initial briefings locally and allocate our external mentors/assessors to support your clerks through the programme
  • if you do not have capacity to run any of the programme in house you can direct clerks to apply as individual clerks to the programme and we will allocate a mentor/assessor to support them
Common questions

What is the difference between Training and Accreditation?

When people are learning a new skill, like driving, they undertake training to help them to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. When they reach a competent level they take a test to prove that they are fully competent. Accreditation is an assessment process that enables clerks to undertake self-directed learning and to develop professional practice. That practice is evidenced through an assessed portfolio tested against national standards.

Our clerks are undertaking one of the DfE support Development Programme for clerks. Should they still do the Accreditation Programme?

Hampshire Governor Services is one of five organisations providing a DfE supported Development Programme for clerks, as each organisation's programme is different, it will be important to look at the individual programme. The important aspect of the Accreditation Programme is the opportunity for the clerks to demonstrate competence in their role and improve the practice and effectiveness of their board through putting together a portfolio of evidence.

What are the outcomes?

The TAC Programme has been running for almost 20 years and is externally moderated. To date more than 1,000 clerks have completed the programme across the country, either as an individual candidate via direct assessment or via their LA service or clerking service employer. There are currently a number of LAs using this programme, working collaboratively to reduce costs and drive-up standards in clerking.

Customer feedback

Clerks who have completed the programme tell us they have:

  • developed their knowledge and skills
  • undertaken a wider range of professional tasks
  • improved the practice of their governing body
  • improved or enhanced professional working with their headteacher and chair
  • gained confidence and are able to intervene more easily to advise
  • gained a sense of achievement

Partners operating the programme under licence tell us:

  • it enhances the confidence of our clerks
  • we find they are more influential
  • even the most experienced benefit from completing the programme
  • it builds on our existing training
  • accrediting clerking skills is important to us
Programme cost

Running part or all of the scheme under the partnership licence is extremely cost-effective. We work together with all partners to minimise costs to the lowest possible level by sharing training, moderation and briefing costs. This is a not for profit enterprise and the scheme simply seeks to cover its costs.

There is a small annual contribution (licence fee currently £360) which contributes to the maintenance of the materials and framework. The cost variables are the salary paid to mentors/assessors and the number of clerks going through the programme. It is therefore possible for organisations to manage their overheads effectively.

There are initial start up costs:

  • small annual licence fee
  • mentor/assessor training cost
  • moderation cost
  • certification fee per portfolio

If you prefer not to have your own mentors/assessors, we can run initial briefings locally and allocate our external assessors to support your clerks through the programme. Or, if you do not have capacity to run any of the programme in house, you can direct clerks to apply as individual clerks and we will allocate a mentor/assessor to support them. The cost is £540 per candidate for 2020/21.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the benefits of the programme or to register your interest please contact us.