Primary elements, core values and guiding principles

Regulation 141 of the Articles provides that the Corporate and Academic Governance Framework shall comply with: the seven primary elements of higher education governance, as set out in the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) ‘The Higher Education Code of Governance’, the application of which are influenced by the core values of higher education governance[1]; and the Office for Students Regulatory Framework, Notices and Advice[2].

The seven primary elements of the CUC ‘The Higher Education Code of Governance’ are as follows:

  • Primary Element 1: The governing body [i.e. the Board of Directors] is unambiguously and collectively accountable for institutional activities, taking all final decisions on matters of fundamental concern within its remit
  • Primary Element 2: The governing body protects institutional reputation by being assured that clear regulations, policies and procedures that adhere to legislative and regulatory requirements are in place, ethical in nature, and followed
  • Primary Element 3: The governing body ensures institutional sustainability by working with the executive [i.e. management] to set the institutional mission and strategy. In addition, it needs to be assured that appropriate steps are being taken to deliver them and that there are effective systems of control and risk management
  • Primary Element 4: The governing body receives assurance that academic governance is effective by working with the Senate/Academic Board or equivalent as specified in its governing instruments [i.e. Academic Committee]
  • Primary Element 5: The governing body works with the executive [i.e. management] to be assured that effective control and due diligence take place in relation to institutionally significant external activities
  • Primary Element 6: The governing body must promote equality and diversity throughout the institution, including in relation to its own operation
  • Primary Element 7: The governing body must ensure that governance structures and processes are fit for purpose by referencing them against recognised standards of good practice

In addition to the seven primary elements, the following core values of higher education governance, which include the “Nolan Principles of Public Life”[3], influence how we apply the seven primary elements:

  • Autonomy as the best guarantee of quality and international reputation
  • Academic freedom and high-quality research, scholarship and teaching
  • Protecting the collective student interest through good governance
  • The publication of accurate and transparent information that is publicly accessible
  • A recognition that accountability for funding derived directly from stakeholders requires HEIs to be clear that they are in a contract with stakeholders who pay for their service and expect clarity about what is received
  • The achievement of equality of opportunity and diversity throughout the institution

  • The principle that HE should be available to all those who are able to benefit from it
  • Full and transparent accountability for public funding

Regulation 142 of the Articles provides that the Corporate and Academic Governance Framework shall also embrace the following guiding principles:

  • The shareholders, directors and management should act in a way which does not detract from the need to: (i) set and maintain academic standards; and (ii) assure and enhance academic quality
  • To ensure staff and students have a real input into our strategic and operational development, including the effective setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality, there should be an appropriate balance between: (i) decision-making by the directors and management; and (ii) collegial deliberation
  • To support the effective setting and maintaining of academic standards and the assuring and enhancing of academic quality, an Academic Committee (with external academic advisors and student representation) should be established as a committee of the Board of Directors and should be empowered to advise the shareholders, directors and management
  • To ensure the effective setting and maintaining of academic standards and/or the assuring and enhancing of academic quality, the ‘cost of doing business’ for a provider of higher education by necessity includes expenditure which cannot be compromised
  • Students should be recognised as members of our academic community (rather than merely customers of the company) and their views should be effectively represented and acted upon where appropriate

 

[1] Committee of University Chairs, ‘The Higher Education Code of Governance’ (2014).  See: www.universitychairs.ac.uk

[2] See: www.officeforstudents.org.uk

[3] Defined by the Nolan Committee as selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honest and leadership.  See: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life