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Governing Body Effectiveness

In the current environment, effective governance of higher education institutions has become a high profile issue.

Codes of HE Governance and Effectiveness

The CUC Code of Governance suggests every governing body of an HEI in the UK (not including Scottish HEIs) should undertake a review of its effectiveness every four years, in Scotland the Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance says that governing bodies are expected to review their effectiveness every year with an externally facilitated evaluation every five years. The CUC Code of Governance (article 7.11, p.26) suggests that ‘Many governing bodies find an external perspective in this process useful’.

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Governance Reviews

Drawing on our network of experts, we are able to provide an external perspective for institutions looking to undertake a review of their governing boards.  

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Framework for Supporting Governing Body Effectiveness Reviews

Advance HE's recently updated Framework for supporting governing body effectiveness reviews in higher education sets out the key factors for consideration of higher education governing body effectiveness and offers a tool to support our members as they conduct their effectiveness reviews. The framework is free to Advance HE members

At the heart of our approach is the framework for identifying and supporting governing body effectiveness reviews in higher education, developed in partnership with the Committee of University Chairs.

Key Factors for Governance Effectiveness

The framework sets out three key factors (Enablers, Working relationships, Outcomes) for consideration of governing body effectiveness and offers a tool to support members in conducting their reviews. These three inter-related elements are an effective basis for underpinning higher education governing body effectiveness reviews.

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Governance Cycle

Additional resources

Briefing Note 25: The factors that influence whether governance is effective?

Good governance is not only about the institution meeting its legal and regulatory requirements and the relevant higher education (HE) code of governance. Compliance is important, but the ability of governors to probe strategy and policies and exercise sound judgement is critical. Governors need to be capable of supporting or challenging proposals presented by the executive to the governing body. Once a decision has been agreed, the role of governors is to scrutinise implementation. Good governance is the exercise of oversight and accountability, and a reluctance to accept poor performance. Management, by contrast, is about planning, organising and day-to-day operations.
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