Revised quality arrangements in England, Wales and Northern Ireland emphasise the need for a more central role for a provider’s governing body. The three national funding bodies wished to investigate whether governing bodies in an increasingly diverse higher education sector had differing levels of experience and capability in academic governance. UKSCQA is overseeing a project on how governing bodies can be supported in their roles, which is being carried out by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE).

The project’s purpose is to:

  • identify and analyse any gaps in the capabilities of governing bodies
  • design and pilot different approaches to the provision of additional support to governors
  • propose evidence-based, cost-effective and longer-term approaches to supporting governing bodies of both new and established providers, so they are able to provide reliable assurances to the relevant funding body.

It takes into account:

  • variation in maturity of governance arrangements in different providers at different stages of development
  • a need to respect the important role of senates and academic boards in academic governance
  • particular support needs of student members of governing bodies
  • benefits of a range of mixed-mode models for the support of chairs, secretaries and governing body members
  • flexible ways in which governing bodies from across an increasingly diverse sector will, in future, be able to identify and access support and development.

LFHE have made materials openly available from this project to providers across the sector. The current stage of the project represents a further iterative pilot phase where LFHE will be seeking to understand if the materials are effective across the broad diversity of the sector, and working to address any practical issues that governing bodies are facing.

Read further information on the LFHE project