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Getting to Grips Guides

The "Getting to Grips" guides provide a comprehensive introduction and overview of key areas of higher education and the responsibilities of Governors.

Overview

Getting to Grips is a range of publications, aimed specifically at governors focusing on topics such as: Being a New Governor; Academic Standards, Quality and the Student Experience; Audit; Estates and Infrastructure; Finance; Human Resource Management; Internationalisation; Research and Knowledge Transfer, Information and Communications Technology, Risk and Procurement. Getting to Grips guides are available to Advance HE Members only. If you would like to request hard copies please contact governance@advance-he.ac.uk 

  • Members Price: £6.99 Postage
  • Non-members Price: £20.00 plus £6.99 Postage

Getting to Grips with Safeguarding

The aim of this guide is to prompt governors of higher education providers (HEPs) to understand the difference between legal safeguarding responsibilities and their general duty of care, and to help governors to think about how these are addressed in their own HEP.

Published On: 16/07/2018

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Getting to Grips with Trustee Responsibilities in Higher Education

This Getting to Grips Guide focuses on trustee duties and responsibilities for those individuals serving on the council, board of governors, courts (in the Scottish institutions) or other name for the governing body as the “trustee board” of a higher education institution (HEI) with charitable status in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The guide places specific trustee obligations in the context of charity legislation, regulation and HEIs’ governing instruments.

Published On: 25/09/2017

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Getting to Grips with Efficiency

In this guide, we explore the concept of efficiency and the efficiency agenda within the higher education sector. While there is no one size fits all solution to efficiency, we hope that the inspiration and insight in this publication will provide governors with the information to help guide their institutions to greater efficiency.

Published On: 11/08/2017

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Getting to Grips with Finance 2016

In its annual overview of the higher education sector in England, HEFCE confirmed that the financial health of government-funded higher education institutions in England is currently stable overall. However, and perhaps somewhat worryingly, it noted that there are significant variations in the financial performances of individual institutions across the sector, with financial projections for the period ending 31 July 2017 showing that, overall, the sector is predicting lower surpluses, a fall in cash levels and a rise in borrowing. As a governor, it is your responsibility to ensure that your institution is building a sustainable future. But how can you do that? What questions do you need to ask? This material provides some help.

Published On: 04/01/2016

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Getting to Grips with Procurement

Procurement is about accessing goods and services from third parties to fulfil the strategic and operational objectives of the institution. It therefore involves the entire process of identifying requirements, drawing up specifications, assessing risks, managing tenders, awarding contracts, and managing and monitoring supplier performance. It includes planning for and deciding what to buy at the outset, after having conducted a thorough analysis of needs, and at the other end of the process, varying contracts as requirements change over time.

Published On: 24/04/2015

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Getting to Grips with Being a New Governor

As the governance of universities and higher education (HE) colleges in the UK evolves, there are major implications for members of governing bodies: increasing expectations about how they undertake their role; a greater focus on measuring institutional performance with associated implications for information and strategy; coming to terms with an increasingly complex environment in which governance takes place; and so on. All this means that governors(particularly new ones) need to be well prepared for their roles and the challenges they face so that they can contribute effectively to their boards from the outset. 

Published On: 01/03/2013

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Getting to Grips with Information and Communications Technology

Information and communications technology (ICT) is pervasive in the modern HEI: it is central to the student experience, vital to research, and underpins almost all major aspects of decision making, planning and administration. However, the effective management of ICT is not a trivial task and all too often we read in the media of ICT projects that have failed to deliver, have significantly overspent or that cannot provide the information required. 

Published On: 01/03/2013

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Getting to Grips with Academic Standards, Quality and the Student Experience

If you are new to HE, you may be struck that decisions on academic and student issues seldom appear to be made by governing bodies, and you might wonder how – and if – governors should be involved. You will not be alone, and all new governors are confused at some time about 'who does what' when it comes to academic decision making.

Published On: 01/05/2011

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Getting to Grips with Internationalisation

As a governor, how much do you know about the international activities of the HEI of which you are a board member? How much do you think you should know? To start with try answering three simple questions:

  • Approximately how many international students has your HEI enrolled this year?
  • If your HEI has any international partnerships with universities and colleges in other countries, can you name three of them?
  • Have you read the internationalisation strategy of your HEI, and has the board of governors discussed it and approved it? Isit kept under review?

Published On: 01/05/2011

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Getting to Grips with Research and Knowledge Transfer

As a governor with "ultimate responsibility" for all matters in your HEI, it's essential you have a clear idea of why research and knowledge transfer are important if you are to be involved in approving and monitoring an institutional strategy in which they may play a central part. Moreover, some HEIs are successful despite being relatively inactive in these areas, so the place and importance of research and knowledge transfer cannot simply be assumed. 

Published On: 01/05/2011

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Getting to Grips with Audit

Effective audit is an essential source of information and support for governors. Even where confidence in management is high, all governors will at some time ask themselves: can we have confidence in the information that is provided to us, and the processes providing it? A sound audit provides some of that reassurance, and through independent scrutiny, assurance can be obtained that standards of control, management and governance are satisfactory. In practice, it is an essential part of enabling you to be satisfied that your HEI is being properly governed, managed and controlled.  

Published On: 01/01/2009

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Getting to Grips with Estates and Infrastructure

If you are a governor new to higher education, you might wonder what your role should be in relation to the provision of all the buildings and campus facilities (the estate) and the services (infrastructure - particularly IT) on which it depends. If 'your' institution is large, then the property portfolio may initially be bewildering.

Published On: 01/01/2009

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Getting to Grips with Human Resource Management

When you started as a governor, you may have wondered what your responsibility for human resources (HR) entailed - apart, of course, from being a member of the board which appointed the head of institution, assessed his or her performance, and determined executive remuneration. Surely workforce management is the responsibility of managers? In fact, your responsibilities are wide-ranging, and this chapter provides an overview.

Published On: 01/01/2009

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Getting to Grips with Risk

The best starting point for considering your responsibilities as a governor for risk is probably the external environment, and all the changes taking place with implications for most HEIs, for example: increased competition; changing student expectations; continued pressure on funding; greater internationalisation; commercialisation opportunities; involvement in partnerships and 'third mission' activities; and so on.

Published On: 01/01/2009

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