Casting the net;Leading Article;Opinion;News and opinion

10th December 1999 at 00:00
THE 27,000 governor vacancies suggested by the Local Government Association's survey (pages 2 and 26) are likely to be an underestimate. Based on returns from less than half of all local authorities, it is bound to draw disproportionately on the experiences of councils, which invest in the recruitment and support of governors, and under-represent the position in areas where governors are not taken seriously enough even to monitor vacancies properly.

If the survey is not representative, the reliability of the finding that vacancies for governing bodies' own co-options out-number those for local authority nominees is also questionable. Councils with the largest shortfalls in their own recruitment are the least likely to reply.

But even taken at face value it offers little cause for rejoicing by local authorities. The number of co-opted members a governing body has to find can be up to 50 per cent more than than the number of local authority nominees. Local councils, furthermore, have a responsibility to encourage more volunteers for all categories of governor-parent, staff and community representatives. It is time more of them took this seriously instead of concentrating on the appointment of political placemen and women.

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