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GDP: Clerks and Secretaries Network Event

De Vere Holborn Bars - 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2SW
County / Region
United Kingdom
Position on the Pathway
Governor's Pathway
Fellowship Category
Event Type
Networking Events
Start Date
End Date
One day
Institution Type
Higher Education and Further Education
Price From

For Registrars, Clerks, Secretaries and governance professionals.

Secretaries and Clerks are pivotal to board success. This event provides those new and continuing in the role an opportunity to work together on issues critical for their own professional contribution and that of their governors.

Governing bodies and senior management teams depend on professional staff, including Clerks and Secretaries to manage the changes required to meet the needs of an evolving operating environment. The meeting of the national network of governance professionals brings together these individuals, who are often expected to inform and advise governing bodies on changes affecting their roles and responsibilities.

This annual networking event is organised in partnership with the  Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) and will consist of presentations from leading figures in governance.

The event will also explore a range of other topics such as:
•    Issues of higher education governance that have emerged over the last 12 months and remain challenging, and scenarios for the future shape of the higher education sector.
•    Lessons to be learned from what has happened in governance in other sectors over the last year. 
•    Lessons from effectiveness reviews.
•    Approaches to supporting the induction and professional development of governing body members.
•    Keeping abreast of new developments and responsibilities for governing bodies (including academic governance)
•    Managing relationships, both on the governing body and in the institution.



Venue: De Vere Holborn Bars - 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2SW.

09.30   Arrival: registration and refreshments

10.00   Welcome and introductions, Aaron Porter, Associate Director Governance, Advance HE

10.15   The regulatory framework, registration & ongoing provider engagement, Dr Camilla Briault, Strategic Business Manager, Competition and Registration team, Office for Students 

11.00   The composition of governing bodies - a changing skills mix, Alison Wheaton, Associate, Advance HE and PhD candidate in higher education governance, UCL Institute of Education

11.45   Refreshment break

12.00   The Data Agenda, Alison Allden, Governor, Northumbria University and Trustee, Regents University and former CEO, Higher Education Statistics Agency; Dr Adam Dawkins, Head of Governance and Assurance at University of York

This session will explore the factors for secretaries/clerks to consider in the flow and use of strategic data from senior management teams to HE governing bodies to inform critical debate, strategic decision-making and their role in helping provide regulatory assurance.

Alison Allden, on the boards of two universities and one regulator, will view data from a governor perspective with the added insight of her HESA experience and the appreciation of governance and regulation in HE, while Adam Dawkins will consider the need to ensure the right data, at the right time provides the evidence and metrics that support the board agenda.

The following topics will be covered:

•    Evidence-based corporate governance 
•    Strategic performance and KPIs
•    Published metrics and policy
•    Presentation and comprehension
•    The demands of data assurance

13.00   Lunch

14.00   Preview of the results of a survey of governance professionals across the HE sector on their opinions of sector governance effectiveness and the regulatory environment, Aaron Porter, Associate Director (Governance), Advance HE

14.45   Views on governance from HE and beyond, Professor Andrew Kakabadse, Professor in Corporate Governance, Cranfield University Business School

15.30   Closing remarks

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GDP: Clerks and Secretaries Network Event Programme



Aaron Porter, Associate Director (Governance), Advance HE

Aaron Porter is the associate director (governance) for Advance HE leading on engagement with governing bodies and governance across the UK, and has led over 15 reviews of board effectiveness. He has worked with over 75 universities both in the UK and overseas, as well as projects for national governments focused on higher education. He is a member of the governing council at Goldsmiths, University of London, a non-executive director of BPP University and is chair of the Board of Governance at Nelson College a specialist higher education college in East London.

Aaron Porter

Dr Camilla Briault, Strategic Business Manager, Office for Students  

Dr Camilla Briault is Strategic Business Manager at the Office for Students, where she provides advice and support to the Director of Competition and Registration, and manages the work of the directorate, which leads on the development and implementation of the OfS’s regulatory framework and the assessment and monitoring of registered HE providers. Before joining HEFCE in 2016 to work on the transition to the OfS, Camilla worked for a number of HE providers in a range of roles, including governance and compliance, working with the executive team to develop institutional strategy and policy, and managing the teams providing services to postgraduate research students. Camilla originally trained as an archaeologist and previously held academic positions in the UK and the USA.

Dr Camilla Briault

Alison Wheaton, Associate, Advance HE & PhD Research on University Governance, UCL Institute of Education

Alison Wheaton is conducting full-time doctoral research in university governance at University College London’s Institute of Education.  Her discussion paper on Payment for Governors was recently published by the Higher Education Policy Institute.  She has worked as an Associate with AdvanceHE governance-related projects including Governance 2020 and academic governance in private providers.

She served as President and Chief Executive Officer of GSM London – one of the UK’s largest independent providers of higher education – until 2016.  During this time, she served on the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Leadership, Governance and Management Strategic Advisory Committee. She was also a founder member of the new UK-wide Standing Committee on Quality Assessment.

Previously, Alison worked at Mitchells and Butlers plc, the UK’s largest branded hospitality retailer, in variety of Executive Director roles, including Strategy, Property, IT and Managing Director of Hollywood Bowl and the London pub estate.  She served as a Non-Executive Director Member of the London Development Agency where she oversaw the land assembly for the London 2012 Olympics.  She joined M&B from PepsiCola International, where she worked in Finance and Marketing.  She started her career at Morgan Stanley International.

Alison received her MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, her BA in Government and Economics from Cornell and attended the London School of Economics.

Alison Wheaton

Alison Allden OBE, Member of the governing body, Northumbria and Regent's University London

Since retiring from her role as CEO of the Higher Education Statistics Agency Alison has pursued a non-exec portfolio and consultancy career. Recently Alison has become a member of the Bar Standards Board, responsible for the regulation and training of barristers and she is on the Board of Northumbria University and Regent’s University London. She previously contributed to HE at a national level, including the Jisc Board, HEFCE’s Leadership, Governance and Management Strategic Advisory Committee and eScience sub committees of the ESRC and AHRC research councils.

Prior to that Alison was on the senior executive of Bristol University, Director of IT at Warwick University and Director of Computing for Goldsmiths College University of London. She began her career as an archaeologist and then moved to the British Museum’s computerisation team and took an MSc at LSE in computing and management.

In 2016 New Year’s Honours she was awarded an OBE for services to Higher Education.

Alison Allden

Professor Andrew Kakabadse, Professor of Governance and Leadership, Henley Business School, University of Reading

Andrew joined Henley Business School in July 2013 after 34 years at Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, where he finished as Professor of International Management Development in December 2012 and was awarded the honour of Emeritus Professor.

Andrew has been ACT Visiting Professor at the Australian National University, Canberra, was Visiting Professor at Hangzhou University, China, was Visiting Fellow at Babson College, Boston, USA, was Honorary Professorial Fellow, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia, was the H. Smith Richardson Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Creative Leadership, North Carolina, USA. Visiting Scholar in Residence at Thunderbird, School of Global Management, USA; Adjunct Professor at Southern Cross Business School, Australia. Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster; He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Management, Fellow of the British Psychology Society and Fellow of the British Academy of Management. He is adviser to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Houses of Parliament and member of the High Level Group, European Commission.

He has consulted and lectured in the UK, Europe, USA, SE Asia, China, Japan, Russia, Georgia, the Gulf States, India and Australia.  He was also Vice Chancellor of the International Academy of Management and has been Chairman of the Division of Occupational Psychology, British Psychological Society, 2001.

His current areas of interest focus on improving the performance of top executives, top executive teams and boards, excellence in consultancy practice, leadership, corporate governance, conflict resolution and international relations. His top team database covers 44 nations and many thousands of private and public sector organisations.  His study of the strategic skills of top teams has now extended into Japan, China, Hong Kong and the USA. Andrew is currently embarked on a major world study of boardroom effectiveness and governance practice.

As one of the world’s recognised leading experts on top teams, boardroom effectiveness and governance practice, Andrew is a member of the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame 2015. A list of distinguished thinkers throughout the world whose contributions to management thinking have made it what it is today.

Professor Andrew Kakabadse

Dr Adam Dawkins is Head of Governance and Assurance at the University of York - a new role he took up in June 2019, after eight years as Head of Governance and Secretary to the Board of Governors at Northumbria University Newcastle. Alongside the day job, Adam holds a doctorate in HE governance from UCL, and has authored a number of articles and texts in the field, most recently including in the Sage journal Educational Management and Leadership (2018), Trustee Responsibilities in Higher Education (2018) as part of the former LFHE's 'Getting to Grips' series, and a chapter on the public purposes of universities in Governing Higher Education Today: International Perspectives (2019) for Routledge.

Adam Dawkins

If you would like to find out more about our other governance events, please visit our Governance Development Programme page.

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