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Governance competency mapping – a new resource to support governor development

09 Nov 2022 | Dan Tinkler Dan Tinkler, Advance HE Governance Development Manager, explains the flexibility of the Governor Competencies Map in supporting the development of individual governors and of governing bodies

The governor competencies maps have been designed to recognise that governors operate in a much more complex environment than in the past. HE is a very fast-moving and turbulent policy environment, financial uncertainty and the need to build confidence with key stakeholders about the value and role of higher education in society is more important than ever. This is a unique set of challenges that governors and boards need the understanding of and skills to navigate.

The Advance HE governor competencies map is a brand new resource that's been launched for governors across the higher education sector. It is designed to support individual development of governors and boards a whole.  

The map covers three core areas: ‘behaviours and values’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’ set against 16 core competencies. It’s very flexible and can be used as an interactive resource, or governors can download the PDF.

This free resource maps core competencies against Advance HE resources and support which has been developed over a number of years – as well as wider higher education sector or charity and corporate governance resources. So it's about providing a tool and support that governors can use to map their own knowledge and develop capability and understanding in areas where they may want more information.

Dan Tinkler, Advance HE Governance Development Manager, explains the flexibility of the Governor Competencies Map in supporting the development of individual governors and of governing bodies

In particular, we have mapped our comprehensive Governor Development Programme (GDP) against relevant competencies. So governors, governance professionals, or chairs are able to map their progression and are able to see which courses, or events,  they may want to go on more easily . The map is designed to work across all HEI provider types, regardless of size, mission, or the regulatory environment that each institution is operating in, with good governance principles being the universal requirement.

In designing the map  we anticipate that it will  be used as follows:

  • Governors undertake self-assessment working through and identifying their own needs; and where they may wish to enhance knowledge or understanding to support any personal and professional development.
  • As a practical tool to support chairs and boards with individual annual reviews or development meetings that may take place between governors and the Chair of the Board or a Senior Independent Governor who may be responsible for supporting governor development and reviews/appraisals.
  • It may be something that a governance professional wishes to use when undertaking a governing body self-evaluation to identify further training and development and resources and support the board. The Competencies Map is designed to work alongside skills matrixes and can also be used as to support the recruitment, selection, induction and succession planning for boards and their committees by identifying key competencies and development pathways for individual governors or future potential governors.
  • Institutionally, to improve governance and governing body effectiveness across higher education.

We believe the map is the only one of its type specifically for higher education governance and follows good practice models in other sectors such as, professional education, and charities. It is designed to be used as a simple and user-friendly resource which will be updated as and when new training and development opportunities arise or when Advance HE publishes or identifies further resources that we believe will support board members and governing bodies.

We will also seek to work with our Members in the future, both in a consultative and co-creation approach, to evaluate the effectiveness of the governor competencies map and identify future development opportunities to support the practical use of the Map and any longer-term support for identifying and accrediting competencies for governors or boards in a manner that will benefit the higher education sector. 

In summary, the idea of competencies map to support boards as they navigate and address sector and institutional challenges through the lens of their own and collective board development is essential for the sustainability of HE.

Discover out more about our work and the latest in HE governance at the Advance HE Governance Conference 2022 on 24 November in London. 


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