CDN assists in developing governance across Scotland’s colleges through our board development programmes, supporting college board members by providing updates on latest developments in the sector and the information they need to fulfil their responsibilities.

Please also visit the Governance Hub which provides members of boards in the college sector, and their staff, with access to the key training courses and supporting resources that they need to fulfil their roles. To gain access to the Governance Hub, please contact your Board Secretary.  

Please feed back your support needs around governance to

  • Introduction
  • Key documents
  • Governance events


Business Group Meeting Discussion Strategy Working Concept

Good governance is fundamental to the success of all colleges

Every board member in the college sector is accountable for the proper use of millions of pounds of public money and for the provision of appropriate training and education to thousands of students each year. The sector, in conjunction with Scottish Government, the Scottish Funding Council, and other stakeholders, has established a Good Governance Steering Group to support colleges and strategic bodies. A mandatory Code of Good Governance was originally published in 2014 and recently updated in August 2016. A Board Development Framework has been produced to guide boards in building their own skills, knowledge, and performance.

It is crucial that every college board and the boards of regional strategic bodies understand their responsibilities and have the knowledge and skills to fulfil them well.  It is also vital that the senior staff of every organisation have an understanding of governance and know how to play their part in it.

These pages provide you with key information relating to college governance, please click on the tabs at the top of this page to find out more.

Please also visit the Governance Hub which provides members of boards in the college sector, and their staff, with access to the key training courses and supporting resources that they need to fulfil their roles.

Key documents

Scottish college board members’ role in equality and diversity

All colleges in Scotland are required to comply with equality legislation that impacts on the day to day work of the college, its strategic direction and how its board diversifies its membership.

Board members play an integral role in supporting equality and diversity in Scottish colleges as part of creating and driving the colleges’ strategic aims, by ensuring the college meets its legal responsibilities, and in helping to build a diverse and representative governing body.

This briefing explains the role of boards in overseeing the embedding and implementation of equality law within college processes, but also focuses on what it means for boards themselves.

Read the briefing here.

The Code of Good Governance for Scotland’s colleges

The Code of Good Governance for Scotland’s colleges is a core reference document for anyone involved in governance in this sector. Adherence to the Code which has been developed by the sector and its key stakeholders through the Good Governance Steering Group is obligatory for every board that receives money from the Scottish Funding Council.

The Good Governance Steering Group recently undertook a review of the Code of Good Governance for Scotland’s Colleges. As part of this exercise, a consultation took place to seek views from key stakeholders on the revisions proposed by the steering group. This review has now concluded and the updated Code of Good Governance for Scotlands Colleges August 2016 is now available.

The Scottish Funding Council has released guidance, ‘Good practice in college governance’ which articulates requirements for colleges to comply with the revised Code of Good Governance for Scotland’s Colleges.

Guide for Board MembersThe Guide for Board Members in the College Sector

The Guide for Board Members in the College Sector is another national publication produced by the Code of Good Governance Steering Group. It is a short, easily read guide to the responsibilities of being a board member in a college or regional strategic body in Scotland.

Guidance Notes for Boards in the College Sector

  1. A Board Development Framework takes into account best practice principles from the public, private and charity sectors. In producing the guidance, the Steering Group has sought to balance the desire for the sector to implement the code in ways which reflect the diverse needs of individual institutions while at the same time, making clear the high standards of governance required of every college and regional strategic body. This guidance supplements the requirements of the Code of Good Governance published in December 2014. The Development Framework is designed to help colleges and regional strategic bodies to put into practice the Code’s requirements covering board training, induction and development.
  2. Guidance Note – Conducting Externally Facilitated Effectiveness Reviews (August 2016) is new guidance for college boards, which has been developed in line with the updated Code and agreed by the Good Governance Steering Group. College boards are being asked to complete their initial externally facilitated reviews by 31 March 2017.
  3. On Board: A Guide for Members of Statutory Boards this guidance provides the basic information that you will need to understand your role as a member of the Board of a public body in Scotland and to help make your time with the Board fulfilling and effective.

Good College Governance Task Group Report

The Good College Governance Task Group  was announced in a Parliamentary Statement on 08 October 2015. The Task Group’s remit includes developing the necessary capacity and behaviour to improve governance.

The Good College Governance Task Group – Final Report focuses on areas for improvement, while acknowledging that college sector governance has many positives.

The Task Group has also produced the Good College Governance Task Group – Supporting Material Report, which is intended to be read in conjunction with the main report (above) and provides supporting detail.

Staff Governance Standard, a document produced by Scotland’s Colleges, the organisation previous to College Development Network.

Board Diversity and the PSED:  A guide for Public Authorities in Scotland

This guidance explains the requirements of the new public sector specific duty regulation, which aims to promote greater diversity amongst the members of the boards of Scotland’s public authorities. It is aimed at those responsible for implementing the PSED in public authorities in Scotland.

The Technical Guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty in Scotland has also been updated to include information on the new duty.Board Diversity

View Board diversity and the Public Sector Equality Duty: a guide for public authorities in Scotland here.  

View Technical guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty: Scotland here.

Glossary of Terms Relevant to the college sector in Scotland

View Glossary of Terms relevant to the college sector in Scotland here.



Governance events

CDN runs an annual programme of events for college board members

Session 2019-20 networking and training events and workshops included:

National Induction Programme

All college board members are expected to attend a national Induction Programme and thereafter keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

On behalf of the sector, CDN provides the national Induction Programme to support board members in their role. The programme is designed to reflect the requirements of the Code of Good Governance and to complement the induction offered by individual colleges and strategic bodies.

The induction events offer attendees the chance to build their own networks, as well as meeting the organisations and people shaping the future of the sector at a national level.

The induction training helped me to understand my role better and has given me confidence to play my part.

o Wednesday 30 October 2019, West College Scotland
o Wednesday 4 March 2020, Forth Valley College (Stirling Campus)
o Tuesday 31 March 2020, UHI, Executive Office, Inverness,
o Wednesday 6 May 2020, Dundee and Angus College
o Wednesday 20 May and Wednesday 27 May, Glasgow Kelvin College (Evening sessions – participants must attend both sessions for full induction)

Please contact your board secretary if you would like to attend one of these dates.

Student Board Members Workshop

Wednesday 13 November 2019, College Development Network, Airthrey Castle, University of Stirling

Online Training for Remuneration Committee Members and Audit Committee Members

Online training modules are available for Remuneration Committee Members and Audit Committee Members on the Governance Hub.

Please contact your Board Secretary for details of forthcoming events.