Responding to the HEFCE report

Dear student,

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has today published its report into governance at the University.

I am indicating today that the University accepts the findings of the report and is open to all its recommendations.

We are committed to ensuring our University is well led and well governed and stand ready to make the changes needed. Council will meet next week and will be looking at the recommendations in detail.

We are pleased the report acknowledges that we have followed the national requirements in relation to our governance structures and their functions, but we accept we can do more in relation to best practice at a time where expectations of the sector are rapidly evolving.

The report contains criticism of the handling of February’s meeting of Court. The University deeply regrets that this meeting was not handled significantly better on the day. We further accept that this could have led to negative perceptions of this aspect of our governance, which is something we take very seriously. We have already started drawing up Standing Orders for Court, which will address how to handle potential conflicts of interest, so future meetings will be more effective for all involved. We are doing this thoroughly but swiftly, and intend to share these with members of Court next month.

Furthermore, we have already announced that we are conducting a full, independent and rigorous Effectiveness Review of Council. The review will include the operation of the Remuneration Committee to ensure it reflects developing best practice. We have already made changes to the Committee including the decision that the Vice-Chancellor will no longer be a member.

Looking ahead, we understand that we need to continually improve to ensure our governance structures remain effective. Our focus as a University is to ensure we continue to deliver excellent research that solves real-world problems and excellent teaching to you, our student community.

You can also hear directly from me by watching this video​.​

With kind regards,

Thomas Sheppard
Chair of Council

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