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 full consideration of the operation of the Remuneration Committee to ensure it reflects developing best practice. We have already made changes to our Remuneration Committee including the decision that the Vice-Chancellor will no longer be a member. In addition, as recommended by the HEFCE report, we will carefully consider the findings of the Committee of University Chairs’ (CUC) review of remuneration practice which will be published in April 2018.

Looking ahead, we understand that we need to continually improve to ensure our governance structures remain effective. Thank you for all you are doing in working together as a community to continue to deliver excellent teaching to our students and excellent research that solves real-world problems.

With kind regards,

Thomas Sheppard Chair of Council