Delegations under Section 66 of the Education Act
Introduction: Amendments to the delegation processes set out in section 66 of the Education Act 1989 came into effect from 25 January 2005. Please Note the Ministry also published a general circular on this topic.
Non Trustees: The major change was that a Board can now delegate its powers/functions to committees consisting of non-trustees. Committees must have a minimum number of 2 persons, at least one of whom must be a trustee. Committees may also consist of a person or persons approved by the Board’s responsible minister.
Resolution and in Writing: Section 66 explicitly states that delegations must be by way of resolution and written notice to the person or persons. It also states that the delegate must not sub-delegate the power or function without the written consent of the Board. The Board is not able to delegate the general power of delegation. The delegation can be revoked at any time by resolution and written notice to the delegate(s) or by any other method provided for in the delegation.
Existing Committees: If a Board has an established committee which has been dealing with matters such as personnel or student discipline (suspensions/expulsions etc), it should ensure that there is a clear written delegation by way of resolution to the committee. Delegation of powers/functions can be general or specific. This would minimise the risk of any legal action being brought against the board or committee for acting without authority.
Confirming Eligibility to Become a Trustee: Before a person is elected, co-opted, or appointed as a trustee, the person must confirm to the board that he or she is, to the best of his or her knowledge, eligible to be a trustee,having regard to the grounds of ineligibility in section 103. These requirements have been amended and a specified form has been promulgated as “Application for consideration for appointment or co-option as a Trustee” which is available at www.nzsta.org.nz (see Board Elections area).
Delegations to Employees: Each delegation must be specified, approved by the board and set out in writing. See an example of the delegations recommended by the Ministry from their finance resource.
Renewal of Delegations: There is a misconception that delegations must be renewed annually. This is incorrect, a delegation continues in force until it is revoked. This is the case even if the membership of the Board changes. However, it would be good practice for a schedule of all the delegations made by the Board to be tabled at the first meeting of the Board each year or following an election. This is so that all trustees are aware of them and any changes, if felt necessary, can be discussed.
NZSTA member boards please note: The NZSTA Trustee Handbook has a section on delegations. This must now be read in light of changes outlined above.