We recommend [the development of] a single point of contact for the range of ‘advice line’ services they run. These services could be re-launched and promoted widely as a national service of independent, expert advice.
Select Committee on Education and Employment - The Role of School Governors, July 1999
The Select Committee Report proposed a rationalisation of the present system to produce one helpline into which all the governors’ umbrella bodies would have input.
For a number of years, National Association of Governors and Managers and National Governors Council (NGC) (now merged together as the National Governors' Association) had each been providing independent telephone support and advice for school governors. However, following the publication of the above report on the role of school governors, both organisations indicated a willingness to work with the then Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to identify what skills and resources each had to offer and develop, on a partnership basis, more coherent support for school governors.
The two governor organisations, supported by the then DfES, jointly approached Worklife Support in 2000 to manage a telephone support service for governors.
Worklife Support is a major player in the UK employment assistance sector and offers legal, employment and other assistance services of a specialist nature within the education sector, including the innovative Well-Being Programme.
Together these organisations were tasked with producing a high quality professional support service for school governors. By working together to pool their considerable experience, both operationally and intellectually, it was thought that the then DfES could meet its objectives in providing the highest quality support for school governors. Bringing these organisations together, working towards the same goal, has been essential to the service’s success.
An advisory board was established, comprising members of NGA, representation from the then DfES and a co-opted adviser from ISCG.
This board is responsible for the strategic oversight of GovernorLine, reviewing the scope and direction of the service by consideration and dissemination of regular reports, annual evaluation and ongoing monitoring of the service.
The service was re-tendered at the end of 2003 and Worklife Support was awarded the contract to manage the service for a further three years, later renewed for a further two years up to the end of March 2009.
Worklife Support was also successful in the 2008 tender, being awarded the contract to supply GovernorLine for an initial three years from April 2009.
The service was extended to cover academies and Free Schools from April 2012 onwards.