Advance HE uses expertise in governance to support and convene governing bodies throughout higher education, aiding with board effectiveness, governor development, strategic sessions and wider support for the governance community.
In partnership with experts from the sector, we produce a range of materials, collate helpful information and provide tailored services to ensure that Governors and Governance Professionals have everything they need to promote good governance in their institutions.
You can find a selection of these resources below for quick access. Additional resources are available in our Governance section.
Governance News Alerts
Our Governance News Alerts are designed for Governors, University Secretaries and Clerks and well as all those supporting or interested in governance in HE.
Our Governance Editor regularly posts summaries and links to the latest governance news and reports. Signing up to our Governance News Alerts ensures you receive this news directly to your inbox, allowing you to stay up-to-date with the latest information and changes.
Get the latest news about governance in HE direct to your inbox.
Supporting Governor and governance professionals development in 2019-20
Codes of Governance
There are two specific codes of governance applying to the higher education sector in the UK:
- The Committee of University Chairs (CUC) published The Higher Education Code of Governance (the 'CUC Code') in September 2020.
- An updated version of Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance was released in October 2017.
The UK Corporate Code of Governance applies to large public quoted companies and is updated every two years.
The Code is seen as a reference point for good governance. In addition, a number of other helpful resources are available on the CUC publications page.
Academic governance encompasses academic matters including student admissions, subject curriculum, assessment of students, academic standards and academic quality. The Senate or an equivalent Body (e.g. Academic Board or Court) are therefore responsible for ensuring an institution’s standards are maintained, quality is defined and monitored, and that there is continuous improvement.
We also have a number of case studies available from our work with institutions across the sector, which provide examples of how key enablers have been used in specific situations.
Reviewing Academic Governance in higher education: a framework
Insight Guide: governing bodies and academic assurance
We recently commissioned three films on the theme of good governance to build on the 2015 Governor Dialogues Project undertaken by Mary Joyce, Advance HE Governance Associate.
In these films, experts from across the sector explore questions such as: what contributes to an effective board culture, how can boards ensure that they are in touch with the experiences of students studying in their universities and how can boards improve their diversity?
Board culture and good governance
This film explores a number of key elements that help make a board effective as well as exploring how boards create a culture that facilitates good governance, creates healthy debate and fosters diversity of thought.
The student experience
This film explores what boards are doing to ensure they understand students’ experience of studying in their university and how they respond to students’ needs.
This film explores some of the dilemmas and solutions in improving the diversity of university boards.
Governance Briefing Notes
These downloadable summaries have been designed to support you in addressing different aspects of governance and can be disseminated as a helpful resource to colleagues who are new to particular areas of governance.
Each draws on the latest thinking and legalisation, providing a helpful guide to re-familiarise yourself with specific issues as they arise.
Getting to Grips Guides
As the governance of universities and HE colleges in the UK evolves, there are major implications for members of governing bodies. These include increasing expectations about how they undertake their role, a greater focus on measuring institutional performance and coming to terms with an increasingly complex environment. All this means that Governors need to be well prepared for their roles so that they can contribute effectively to their boards from the outset. The Getting to Grips guides provide a comprehensive introduction and overview of key areas of HE and the responsibilities of Governors.
As has been well documented, diversity within boards of those from under-represented groups is an important challenge for the higher education sector. Reports such as the Parker Review and the Davies Report, as well as Women Count by Norma Jarboe have highlighted the need for sector leaders to be more proactive in establishing and promoting diversity on boards.
Diversity Principles Framework
Following the publication of the report ‘Increasing the diversity of senior leaders in higher education: the role of executive search firms’ authored by Professor Simonetta Manfredi in March 2017, we have published a diversity principles framework to support greater diversity in board appointments.
The framework was constructed by consulting executive search firms in the higher education sector along with HR representatives. The framework builds on recommendations from Professor Manfredi’s report combined with the outcomes from the consultation. Executive search firms and hiring institutions can use the document for support when working together on board appointments.
Board Recruitment Framework
In line with the diversity principles framework, Advance HE has also launched a board recruitment framework. This includes guidelines for preparing job descriptions, person specifications and advert texts for board roles which are inclusive. This framework was constructed by combining resources from Advance HE with the Core Skills framework co-produced by the Scottish government Public Appointments Team and Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland’s office.
Board Vacancies Portal
In order for the higher education sector to attract more diverse candidates to sit on governing boards, there needs to be an increase in the accessibility and transparency of vacancies. Advance HE and Committee of University Chairs (CUC), in collaboration with the Association of Heads of University Administration and the 30% club, are pleased to announce the launch of a central repository for board vacancies in higher education via CUC’s website. The portal will provide aspiring board members with a central online repository of board level vacancies in the higher education sector. You can visit the portal to view current vacancies and post new vacancies.
The Self-Assessment Toolkit is an open-access online programme designed to assist you in assessing your continuing effectiveness as a higher education governor.
It is designed to enable Governors, with the help of your Chairs and/or Clerks/ Secretaries, to identify and review your particular governance strengths, together with any areas to concentrate on for future development.
This free toolkit offers a clear framework based on topics, skills and the understanding of university governance to help shape the governor development journey.
Getting into Governance
For those interested in finding out more about governance in higher education or becoming a Governor themselves, We have a range of helpful resources and information that provides an introduction to various topics:
Guidance to Support the Induction of New Governors
This guide has been written to provide a supporting document for institutions in the induction of new governors or for anyone wanting to understand more about the key elements of being a governor and the governance landscape of higher education.