Baroness Blackstone, minister for education and employment this week criticised the "lapses" in the standards of conduct shown by some governors.
She told a conference in London that the proper conduct of a governing body set the tone for the college as a whole, not just those who worked or studied there.
"This is taking us into the territory of morals and ethics. There is only so far one can go with legislation. I have still to see a law of the land that says 'you shall be good' or 'that you shall all behave properly in all circumstances".
"Registers of interest and codes of conduct are meaningless if they are simply regarded as bits of paper to be produced before a funding council inspection. What matters is the spirit and intention behind them. Let us all take steps to ensure that the sector becomes absolutely beyond reproach in the conduct of its governors."
She also warned that governors had to be aware of the qualification achievement rates, and the student retention rates for their colleges. She suggested that governors should establish small "standards committees" to oversee progress and to "challenge" the performance of the college.