A Multi-Academy Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee for the benefit of education. It is an independent legal entity with whom the Secretary of State has decided to enter into a master funding agreement. As such, it has Members and Trustees. It is funded by the DFE but independent of local authority control.
The members are akin to the shareholders of a company. They have ultimate control over the Academy Trust with the ability to appoint some of the Trustees and the right to amend the Trust’s articles of association. They are signatories to the articles, may appoint new members or remove existing members. They may issue a direction to the Trustees, by special resolution, appoint the Trust’s auditors and have the power ultimately to wind up the company. Members should be “eyes on and hands off”
The Trustees are responsible for the three core governance functions of setting direction, holding the CEO and Headteachers to account and ensuring financial probity. They must also ensure they are complying with charity law requirements. The Trustees are company directors and must comply with company law requirements, notably regularly attending meetings, managing conflicts of interest, seeking advice from the Executive team, and ensuring the Trust has appropriate procedures in place for reporting financial information. The Board of Trustees sign off the annual accounts and are responsible for the Trust’s accountability to parliament and to the Secretary of State.
Individuals who sit on LGBs are referred to as local governors. Trustees have complete discretion over what is delegated to each LGB. This is detailed in the Scheme of Delegation. Trustees must be satisfied about the LGB’s ability to adequately perform any functions delegated to them.
SCMAT’s LGBs have delegated authority over teaching and learning and standards in addition to health and safety and admissions. All financial and personnel matters rest with the Board of Trustees and the Executive. In this way LGBs can focus on the business of education. Because of this, the appointment of the LGB by Trustees is based upon, but not limited to, experience related to the following criteria: