A Report to CUC on: Good Practice in Six Areas of the Governance of Higher Education Institutions.
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A Report to CUC on: Good Practice in Six Areas of the Governance of Higher Education Institutions
This Presentation: Key features of the report What is good practice in governance? Emerging issues Measuring performance & effectiveness Recruitment, support and involvement Senates/academic boards and committees The growth of commercial activities Conclusions and questions
Key Features of the Report: Confirms Lambert that governance in HE is basically sound, but the pace of change in HEIs varies Identifies considerable innovation in some HEIs in enhancing governance Raises numerous issues needing further attention if governance is to remain robust Notes legitimate differences about what constitutes 'good' practice
What is Good Practice in Governance? Four views within the sector: ~ Meeting legal & regulatory requirements ~ Meeting agreed and relevant standards ~ GP is contextual and 'fit for purpose' ~ GP should be adopting best practice The report distinguishes between good and 'innovative' practice, and offers a 'menu' of approaches for HEIs to consider
The Definition of Good Practice in the Report: "Those actions taken to meet specific institutional needs to enhance governance, that are fit for institutional purpose and broadly compatible with professionally recognised standards and practice"
Emerging Issues: Governing body responsibilities moving from 'stewardship' to 'performance' Challenges for individual governors (time, workload, appraisal etc). Will the voluntary principle continue? What is an effective governing body, and how does it add value to HEI performance? The need for more support for governors and the sharing of good practice
Measuring Performance: Measuring not monitoring Substantial existing activity but not uniform Only some governing bodies have explicit responsibilities in this area Widespread use of 'basic' approaches: data reporting, use of KPIs, regular item on governing body agendas, etc Some innovation:balanced scorecard,EFQM Some benchmarking against peers
Effectiveness of Governance 1: All HEIs have conducted at least one review, and some have them annually Most initial reviews concentrated on governance processes with improvements claimed in conducting business Effectiveness of outcomes and value-added is starting to be addressed in a few cases Considerable interest in some HEIs in what makes an effective governing body
Effectiveness of Governance 2: Widespread use of surveys in reviews Some reviews by officers/working groups Annual checks of committee performance Little use of external approaches Increasing appraisal of governors Little data on reviews of officer holders HEIs need to address CUC proposals for reviewing academic governance
Selecting, Inducting & Supporting Governors: The governor’s role has to be clearly defined The qualities and skills required by the GB and in individuals should also be agreed Attracting good people needs different recruitment approaches, particularly where diversity is needed Orientation and induction processes are becoming more intensive and professionalised Governors need continuing support and development if they are to be properly 'engaged'
Involving the Governing Body: The GB (not the CEO) is accountable to the funding bodies Some core functions cannot be delegated Issue is how they are carried out and in what depth. (By reviewing performance not compliance.) CEO/Chair relationship influences the way the GB is involved
Involving the Governor: Sub committee membership helps to engender involvement (and commitment) Pre-briefings, seminars, away days, annual meetings, link schemes etc all promote better understanding of the academic world Information flows: concise papers with optional intranet access Extensive informal and social opportunities
Relationships with Senate/Academic Board: The essential pre-1992 and post-1992 differences A common need is for the GB to understand (and possibly challenge) academic proposals The relationship is an indicator of healthy governance Joint policy making committees of Senate and GB are increasingly seen as effective mechanisms for bringing both perspectives together
Some Changes in Committee Structures: A trend to smaller governing bodies with fewer members drawn from internal constituencies Trend to a reduction in number of GB committees in the pre-1992 sector Increase in powers of a central strategy, planning, resource and performance committee Executives using internal committees to support their decision making
Overseeing Commercial Activities: Huge differences in the scale and sophistication of commercial activity Key issue is for the GB to agree a commercial strategy and related HR policies and then oversee their management Usual mechanisms are for management and/or a specialist committee to monitor performance and report to the GB. Only major risks or investments come to the GB Involvement of specialist governors in venture capital and IPR issues
Conclusions Governance is becoming increasingly demanding and will need a 'professional' approach The overlaps between governance and management have to be watched Big questions remain about what an effective governing body is and how it really adds value There needs to be effective dissemination of both the new Guide and issues raised in this report There needs to be much more sharing of practice by governing bodies as well as officers