Schools Boards differ from the traditional corporate model as Members are acting on a voluntary basis. This introduces complexities into the area of performance management. Performance management for voluntary Boards must be sensitively handled so that it is constructive, rather than destructive. It is vital that all potential Board Members are completely committed to an appraisal program before being appointed to the Board.
A Board appraisal program needs to start with a list of specific goals and targets relevant to each Board Member. Some will be general for all Board Members and others will specifically relate to the expertise that the individual brings to the Board. These goals and targets provide a framework against which the individual may be assessed.
Practical guide for conducting board appraisals
Implement a set of specific goals and targets for each Board Member.
The Chair conducts an annual consultation with each individual Board Member about their view on each other Board Member.
The Chair combines the gathered information with his or her own perspective.
The Chair participates in a one to one performance review with each Board Member.
This is an effective appraisal process as it has the advantages of confidentiality and the most potential for frank and open discussion. Another common method of performance management involves conducting a ‘whole of Board’ review using questionnaire, interview or a contribution, asking each Board Member for feedback. This may be complemented by a sub-group reviewing Board activity.
Guidance as to performance management criteria can be found at Appendix 3.