Committees and working parties

Governing bodies can set up working parties or committees.

Governing bodies can delegate some but not all functions, either to the Headteacher or to individual governors. They can also establish governor committees with delegated functions to help share the workload. Committees with delegated authority can make decisions, which they must report back to the governing body. Working parties, without delegated authority can make recommendations to the next meeting of the governing body, but not decisions.

Go to Managing the work of the Governing Body for tools on

  • Deciding your structure
  • Deciding delegation
  • Agreeing Terms of Reference

For each committee the governing body must determine and set out in writing:

  • the terms of reference, for each committee, specifying the extent of the powers delegated to the committee

The governing body should also consider the arrangements for the following:

  • members of school staff can chair committees but cannot chair the full governing body
  • the clerking
  • determining the quorum
  • the frequency with which the committee or working party should report to the governing body
  • in the case of working parties, the date by which the working party should complete its work


At an agreed point in each school year, the governing body reviews the number, membership and operation of committees and working parties appointed for a particular task.

The question of delegation and committee terms of reference is dealt with in detail in Managing the Work of the Governing Body (Tools 2 and 3). A revised CD ROM was sent to all chairs of governors and clerks in July / August 2007.