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Academic Governance Effectiveness Reviews

Providing academic boards or senates with evidence to provide assurance to the institution’s governing body.

Higher education institutions across the UK have put an increased focus on academic governance and assurance recently. In England it is now a regulatory requirement to ensure effective student outcomes as part of Ongoing Condition of Registration – B3, including student continuation and graduate employment metrics. In Scotland it is a requirement of the Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance 2023 to undertake an external academic governance effectiveness review alongside or separately to the governing body.

Following consultation with an external stakeholder group, Advance HE has refreshed its Academic Governance Effectiveness Reviews. Our reviews provide academic boards or senates with evidence to provide assurance to the institution’s governing body, as well as, the foundations for transformative change to support the ongoing effectiveness of academic governance.

Enquire now

If you are interested in completing an Academic Governance Effectiveness Review with Advance HE, please complete the form by clicking below and one of our team will be in touch to discuss this further.

Enquire now
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Benefits and impact

By undertaking an Advance HE Academic Governance Effectiveness Review, Academic Boards/Senates:

  • can benchmark their practice against other institutions
  • can provide the Board and governors with assurances over academic governance in line with regulatory requirements
  • have the foundation for further development work to be undertaken by in-house governance effectiveness teams
  • get access to Advance HE’s expert teams with vast experience across academic governance and wider governance structures.

Information webinar

25 January 2024, 10:30 - 11:15 (GMT)

Dan Tinkler, Governance Development Manager, Advance HE hosted an information session to share more details about Academic Governance Effectiveness Reviews. 

Recording coming soon

View the slides
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New Academic Governance Benchmarking Survey

In response to a lack of available benchmarking data in the sector for academic governance, working with the HE sector, Advance HE has co-created the survey to allow for comparisons between the Board and Senate/Academic Board. It asks key questions that educational boards should be benchmarked against. Themes include:

  • Commitment to effective governance
  • Academic governance and assurance
  • Structure and processes
  • Recruitment and membership
  • EDI
  • Working relationships and behaviours
  • Outcomes of Effective governance
  • The Committees
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A flexible model to suit all requirements

Our new offer has been developed to support all types of higher education institutions, in their specific regulatory and operating context, and with variable budgets. Institution can choose from three options:


  • A three-person team of Advance HE staff/expert associates
  • Working with the steering group to plan and implement the Academic Governance Benchmarking Survey
  • Observations of the Senate and key committees, conducting multiple interviews and focus groups
  • A developmental workshop
  • A comprehensive report on findings and recommendations
  • 1 year follow up consultancy included.


  • Working with a steering group to plan and implement the survey
  • Presentation and workshop with steering group on survey findings and next steps the institution should look to take.


  • Working with the steering group to plan and implement the Academic Governance Benchmarking Survey
  • An observation of the Senate or equivalent and conduct a small number of key interviews
  • A small report on findings and recommendations which will be presented to the steering group.
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Academic Governance Effectiveness Framework

This framework sets out some key factors for the consideration of academic governance effectiveness and is intended as a tool to support higher education institutions and further education colleges delivering higher education in their own effectiveness reviews. It draws on work by Advance HE and the Committee of University Chairs (CUC).

Access the framework
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Governance Effectiveness Projects: Academic Assurance

This collaborative project between Advance HE, UUK, CUC and GuildHE aims to convene the sector to understand shared challenges and approaches to academic assurance. Outputs are available to those working at Advance HE member organisations only.

Find out more >
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GDP: Understanding and Assuring Academic Outcomes and the Student Experience

26 June 2024, Virtual

This event draws on the insights gained from Advance HE's extensive work with its members. It offers a valuable opportunity for governance professionals to hear from experts in teaching and learning, students, and experienced peers. Together, we will delve into recent educational developments, regulatory requirements, and their implications for boards and governing bodies.

Find out more
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