Governance Manual

4. How we work

4.1 Setting, monitoring and reviewing strategy

The key strategic aims for the Faculty Office take the form of an annually-updated set of ‘Master’s priorities’ which are effectively the equivalent of a business plan in many other organisations.

The Master’s annual priorities sit within the Faculty Office’s overall objects, as defined in section 2 of the Articles of Association.

These priorities are established by the Master, through consultation with the Master’s Council. The members of the Master’s Council are experienced professionals in all areas of the Faculty Office’s work, and offer advice to the Master on the priorities for the next year, as well as reflecting on progress on current priorities.

The Master’s priorities can contain items carried over from the previous year, which may be because the specific item was intended to last for more than one year, or has been subject to delay.

The Master’s priorities are the subject of a consultation with the profession and other stakeholders before being finalised.

Once the priorities are established, the Master informs the Master’s Audit Committee, the Advisory Board and the Qualifications Board of them, and allocates responsibility for their delivery as appropriate to these groups.

These groups then provide appropriate updates to the Master on the progress in relation to the priorities, and these are considered regularly at the Master’s Council.


4.2 Key performance indicators

The Master receives advice from the Advisory Board (and other groups on occasion) on the set of key performance indicators which are appropriate in providing an overall assessment of progress in several areas of the Faculty Office’s work.

The number of key performance indicators in place at any time can vary, but each is generally kept in place for several years in order to establish a trend in terms of progress in important areas.

The set of current key performance indicators is available via links in appendices.

The Master’s Annual Address includes an overall view of the previous year’s priorities. The address is normally delivered at the Notaries Society Conference in September, which is regularly attended by almost half of the notaries practising in England & Wales. The address is then published on the Faculty Office website.


4.3 Schedule of delegation / Reserved power

This Schedule of delegation shows to which level the Master of the Faculties and the Registrar of the Faculty Office may legally delegate their functions.  The principles under which the delegation is made and a list of reserved powers that only the Master exercises is at the end of the document.


Level 1: Master

Level 2: Registrar (or Deputy)

Level 3: Chief Clerk or Deputy Chief Clerk

Level 4: Staff


Red box        Function cannot be legally carried out at this level.

        √          Action could be undertaken by this level.

       X            Although legally possible to delegate to this level, it would not be prudent for the decision to be taken at that level.

Please note;

  • Set out key principles for governance and management


  1. Where legal functions are being carried out, responsibilities are normally set out in the rules and regulations of the Faculty Office made from time to time by the Master and published on the Faculty Office website.
  2. The general principles behind the way in which the Faculty Office works are:
    (a) The Master is the judicial head. She is responsible for all major policy decisions relating to notaries, both in England & Wales and overseas, but such decisions are often made in concert with the Senior Management Team (Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Chief Clerk and Deputy Chief Clerk). The role of the Master can be traced back to the Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533 but now the Master mainly derives their authority (as regards notaries) from the Public Notaries Acts 1801 and 1843, the Courts & Legal Services Act 1990 and the Legal Services Act 2007. The Master does not directly manage the staff of the Faculty Office or its operations.(b) The Registrar is the legal official responsible for the operation and management of the Faculty Office. All staff, operations and premises issues are managed by him. He:
    a. sets policy in concert with the Master and implements it;
    b. engages with partner bodies, governmental institutions and the notarial societies;
    c. is the registrar of the Master’s Qualifications and Advisory Boards;
    d. oversees disciplinary proceedings against notaries accused of misconduct;
    e. oversees the staff of the Faculty Office in conjunction with the Deputy Registrar and Chief Clerk.(c) The Deputy Registrar assists the Registrar and deputises for him in all of his roles.(d) The Chief Clerk is the person with day to day operational conduct of the work of the Faculty Office. He:
    a. manages the day to day operational capacity of the Faculty Office
    b. engages with partner bodies, governmental institutions and the notarial societies
    c. participates in the formulation of policy and in its implementation
    d. is the key contact for anti-money laundering enquiries, notarial misconduct and other sensitive matters
    e. oversees the day to day correspondence and activity of the Faculty Office clerks
    f. facilitates the qualification, admission and practice of notaries under the rules
    g. organises the disciplinary arrangements for notaries accused of misconduct
    h. provides the specialised knowledge and expertise in the operation and development of the regulatory and (the non-notarial) legal work of The Faculty Office.(e) The Risk, Compliance and Investigations Officer, and Deputy Chief Clerk assists the Chief Clerk and leads on investigations, monitoring and compliance issues.(f) There are a number of other staff who assist the officers of the Faculty Office including a part time finance officer.


Master’s reserved matters

 Appointment of a new notary, admission formats and fees (2)

Set minimum level of insurance cover (5)

Approval of the Notarial Practice Course and Office Practice Course (10)

Approval of admission formats and fees (11)

Appoint members of the Qualifications Board (12)

Appoint Chair of Qualifications Board (13)

Determine level of supervisors fees (19)


Determine education requirements for notaries returning from practice after a 5-year break (21)


Grant waiver from the requirements of the CPE regulations (26)

To set level of practising certificate fee and contribution to contingency fund (31)

Appoint members of the Audit Committee (32)

Appoint and dismiss inspectors (39)

Approve inspectors pro forma questionnaire (42)


On the basis of the information in the inspector’s report order further inspection or inspections of the notary’s practice, a requirement to undertake further training or the supervision by a notary of the notary’s practice, or aspects of it (44)

Appointment and dismissal of Assessors (48)

Designation of an informal complaints procedure and complaints body (51)


To appoint or dismiss members of the Advisory Board (58)


To appoint or dismiss Chair of the Advisory Board (59)


4.4 Organisational structure


4.5 Procedures

The rules of procedure governing the operations of the Faculty Office are contained within the Articles of Association listed in appendices.


4.6 Recruitment and nominations for Board and committee members

The Faculty Office’s policy on recruitment and nominations for board and committee members is listed in appendices.

The policy on the removal of board and committee members is listed in appendices.


4.7 Annual review of chairs

The Master meets annually with the chair of each committee or board, to review progress, support the chairs and assess any developmental needs in the chairs.

In preparation for those meetings, the Master will (with the exception of the Master’s Council) review the overall performance of each committee or board with the Registrar, and will consult with others to gather feedback as appropriate.

In the case of the Master’s Council, the Master will review progress with the Registrar.

Appropriate summary notes are retained of these annual meetings, but are not published given the nature of personal details they contain.


4.8 Induction process for new Board and committee members

The Faculty Office aims to provide members of committees and boards with induction procedures and support which enables them to carry out their role effectively.

On joining any board or committee new members will receive a copy of this governance manual and other key documents relevant at the time.

A formal induction session will be organised by the Registrar, at which new members will be guided through the history, legal structure, objects, strategy and plans for the Faculty Office, along with an overview of how the Faculty Office is managed and governed. New members will normally also be guided through the Faculty Office’s premises when they first visit for a meeting.

The Master will aim to meet (either in person or remotely) with each new member on their appointment.

Notes are retained of each new member’s induction process.