Principle 3: Integrity

The Board acts with integrity, adopting values and creating a culture which helps achieve the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects. The Board is aware of the importance of public confidence and trust in Academy Trusts and their Schools, and the Board undertakes its duties accordingly.


Delivering the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects should be at the heart of everything the Board does. This may involve the Board making decisions that are difficult or unpopular.

Directors should show the highest levels of personal integrity and conduct, in accordance with the Principles of Public Life. All involved in the governance and leadership of an Academy Trust should recognise their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding, SEND and the promotion of British Values and in the case of Schools with a religious designation, the distinctive religious character and ethos of the School.

To achieve this the Board and Executive Leadership Team should create a culture that supports the Academy Trust’s values and adopt behaviours and policies in line with these values, setting aside any personal interests or loyalties.

Key outcomes

3.1 By observing the specific requirements of the Principles of Public Life, the Board safeguards and promotes the Academy Trust’s reputation by living its values and by extension encourages public confidence in the wider academy sector.

3.2 The Board, Members and those on Academy Trust and Local Committees undertake their duties in the best interests of the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects, creating a safe, respectful and welcoming environment for those who engage with the Academy Trust.

3.3 The Board makes objective decisions about delivering the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects and aims[1].

3.4 Board decision making is not unduly influenced by those who may have special or personal interests which may cause a conflict of interest or loyalty if not properly recognised and managed. All relevant interests are declared and, where relevant, those Directors who are conflicted withdraw from the discussion and decision making.

3.5 The Board’s decisions and actions are consistent with the Academy Trust’s stated values.

Guidance on implementation of Principle 3

3.6 Upholding the Academy Trust’s values

a. The Board ensures that all its decisions and actions are consistent with the Academy Trust’s stated values.

b. Directors regularly check whether there are inappropriate power imbalances within the Board and in the Academy Trust more generally. Where necessary, the Board addresses any potential issues, upholding the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects, values and public benefit.

c. The Board adopts and follows a suitable code of conduct that reflects the Academy Trust’s values and sets out expected standards of ethics, probity and behaviour.

d. The Board has policies and procedures to make sure that the Academy Trust works responsibly and ethically, has regard to the proper use of authority and acts in line with its own agreed aims and values.

e. The Board considers how the Academy Trust is perceived by the people and organisations involved in its work, including stakeholders, third parties, and by the wider public.

3.7 Ensuring the right to be safe

a. The Board ensures the Academy Trust promotes a culture in which everyone feels safe and respected.

b. The Board understands its safeguarding responsibilities to Pupils, staff and others who encounter the Academy Trust. The Board makes sure that there are appropriate and regularly reviewed safeguarding policies and procedures in place and that they are rigorously implemented.

c. As part of an Academy Trust’s risk management process, the Board reviews key safeguarding risks carefully and records how these are managed.

d. All Directors, staff and people who work with the Academy Trust have information or training on the safeguarding policy, so they understand it, know how to speak up and feel comfortable raising concerns.

3.8 Identifying, dealing with and recording conflicts of interest/loyalty

a. The Board understands how real and perceived conflicts of interests and conflicts of loyalty can affect an Academy Trust’s decision making, performance and reputation. The Board is transparent in the way it records, manages and discloses all such conflicts. The Board keeps up to date with official guidance, adhering to all requirements (e.g. on related party transactions).

b. Directors and committee members disclose any actual or potential conflicts to the Board, committee or Governance Professional and deal with these in line with the Academy Trust’s governing document and a regularly reviewed conflicts of interest policy.

c. The Governance Professional remains alert to any real, potential or perceived conflicts of interests at all levels of governance across the Academy Trust. The Governance Professional acts as an important source of advice on when to identify, record, manage and disclose conflicts of interests and loyalty for all those involved in the governance of the Academy Trust.

d. All Directors are vigilant in remaining objective and inform the Board and Governance Professional if they feel influenced by any interest or loyalty or may be perceived as being influenced or to having a conflict of interests.

[1] In Voluntary Academies, the Board will make objective decisions about delivering the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects in accordance with the overarching values of Academy’s Foundation.