Corporate governance

The Corporation is the governing body established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 for the purpose of conducting ‘Bedford College’. The College is an exempt charity for the purposes of Part 3 of the Charities Act 2011.

The Corporation (sometimes called the Board) is responsible for setting the College’s strategic direction and ensuring that the College delivers excellent outcomes to students and the local communities it serves.

The powers and responsibilities of the Corporation are set out in the Instrument and Articles of Government; the Corporation also has to comply with the Financial Memorandum, Post-16 Audit Code of Practice, Charities Act 2006 as well as general laws relating for example, to equality, health and safety, freedom of information and employment.

The Corporation

The Corporation is currently made up of 18 members including the Chief Executive (who is a member ex-officio), two elected staff members, and two elected student members.

Recruitment of external members is managed by the Search & Governance Committee of the Corporation to ensure an appropriate balance of skills and experience to facilitate strong governance of College activities.

The Search & Governance Committee welcomes all applicants and particularly applications from women and those from minority ethnic backgrounds to ensure the composition of the Board reflects the local communities that we serve.

External members are initially appointed to the Corporation for a period of four years and are eligible for consideration of re-appointment for a further period of 4 years. Appointments beyond 8 years are currently considered under exceptional circumstances only.

The Corporation is advised by the Clerk who is independent of college management and has access to independent professional advice.

Associated Undertakings

Bedford College has established 2 wholly owned subsidiaries, Bedford College Services Limited (BCS) in 2009 and Bedford College Professional Services Limited (BCPS) in 2016. As the sole shareholder of both companies the Corporation is responsible for the appointment of directors to the boards, for agreeing the overarching frameworks of governance through the Articles of Association and for approval of the financial statements. The Boards of both companies benefit from the input of non-executive directors recruited for their skills.

Further information on voluntary non-executive director roles can be obtained from the Clerk to the Corporation who also acts as the Company Secretary to the subsidiaries. 

In addition, Bedford College is a founder and sponsor member of Bedford College Academies Trust Limited (BCAT).  The Corporation is proud that in September 2017 two new schools, Wixams Academy and Wixams Tree Primary opened under the Trust. The Corporation has ongoing responsibilities as a member of BCAT for the appointment of directors, oversight of governance arrangements and approval of the accounts.

View more information about our Corporation members (Governors)

» Roles & Responsibilities

As outlined previously, the Corporation’s statutory roles and responsibilities are mainly set out in the Instrument and Articles of Government. The Corporation is responsible for:

  • Determining the educational character and mission of the College and overseeing its activities.
  • Approving the quality strategy of the institution.
  • The effective management of resources to ensure the solvency of the College and the safeguarding of its assets.
  • Approving annual estimates of income and expenditure.
  • Employing senior post-holders, including their appointment, determination of pay and conditions, etc.
  • Setting a framework for the pay and conditions of service of all other staff.

The Corporation has a set of Standing Orders which are the rules by which it operates. These include the College's policy on public access to Corporation meetings and the rules of the Search Committee, which advises on appointments to the Board; there is also a Code of Conduct for members.

All members are required to declare financial and other interests, which are held by the Clerk in a Register open to inspection. In addition eligibility is confirmed on appointment and annually thereafter.

The Corporation meets at least once every term. To ensure that the Corporation can look at issues in detail it has established a number of advisory committees, each of which has a specific role and focus. All information about Board members, operational and procedural matters relating to the Corporation and the conduct of its business, and issues of governance practice can be accessed from the Clerk.

Contact the Clerk to the Corporation

Rachel Nicol
Clerk to the Corporation
Bedford College
Cauldwell Street
MK42 9AH

Tel: 01234 291003

Agendas and minutes of the Board and its Committees are available online.