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Governors’ resources

At the start of the 21st century institutions of higher education have become highly ambitious communities. Governing bodies must therefore also be ambitious, as they seek to mould the circumstances which will convert those aspirations into successful outcomes within a robust and reliable framework of governance.

Andrew Cubie, Chair of CUC (Committee of University Chairs), 2008

Governance is an increasingly complex activity and it is essential that governors have a clear understanding of their responsibilities within the context of the authority assigned to them through the Instrument and Articles of Government and the Regulatory Framework for Higher Education issued by the Office for Students (OfS) as Principal Regulator for the higher education sector.

The Governors’ Resources pages bring together a range of information about the University and the role of Governors in carrying out their responsibilities.  Designed to cover the arrangements as they apply to this University, this page draws heavily on the guidance issued by the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (now part of AdvanceHE).

If you are interested in becoming an Edge Hill University governor please download our Candidate Information Pack and send a CV and cover letter addressed to the Clerk to Governors to [email protected].

Section A: The Board of Governors

The Board obtains its authority through the Instrument and Articles of Government which are approved by the Privy Council.  These set out the composition and responsibilities of the Board as well as those which attach to the Vice-Chancellor, as Chief Executive and Principal Accounting Officer, and the Academic Board. Governance is not executive management. The two sets of responsibilities are designed to complement each other.

Governance responsibilities are further detailed in the Regulatory Framework for Higher Education in England issued by the Office for Students (OfS) which is the Principal Regulator for higher education.

The Terms of Reference for the Board are derived from the Instrument and Articles and are set out in the Statement of Primary Responsibilities.  Membership of the Board includes the Vice-Chancellor as a full member and also staff and student governors but with Independent members in the majority.

The Board operates through a Committee structure which is self-determined, except for the Audit Committee which is a regulatory requirement.  Standing Orders set out the rules by which all committees operate including the quorum under which business can legitimately take place.

The Board has determined role descriptions for independent members, the Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Clerk and has agreed procedures for the appointment of new members and the Chair of the Board.

Section A: The Board of Governors resources

  1. Instrument of Government
  2. Articles of Government
  3. OfS Regulatory Framework for Higher Education in England
  4. Statement of Primary Responsibilities
  5. Board Committee Terms of Reference
  6. Standing Orders
  7. Role of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Clerk and members of the Board
  8. The Seven Principles of Public Life
  9. Governor Appointment Process
  10. Scheme of Delegation

Section B: The University

This section contains information about the University; its History, Mission, Vision, Values and the current Strategic Plan. It also outlines the responsibilities of the Vice-Chancellor as Chief Executive and the Academic Board with a diagrammatic representation of the University’s management and committee structure.

The Board of Governors is responsible for approving the University’s Strategic Plan and periodic meetings with Governors are held to discuss strategy to supplement debate at Board meetings.

In addition to receiving the minutes of Academic Board, the major Academic Board Committees operate a Link Governor Scheme where a nominated independent member of the Board of Governors receives papers and may attend meetings as an observer.  This scheme is unique to Edge Hill and provides Governors with an opportunity to see academic decision-making at first-hand.  The committees currently covered by the scheme are:

  • Learning and Teaching Committee
  • Academic Planning Committee
  • Research Committee

Governors who are interested in becoming involved in the Link Governor Scheme should inform the Clerk.

The Governor Induction programme provides an opportunity to meet with a range of academic and service heads to better understand the core business of the University.  Further meetings with key staff can be arranged through the Clerk.

Section B: The University resources

  1. History
  2. Vision and values
  3. Strategic Plan
  4. Organisational Structure
  5. Executive Group Structure
  6. Key Performance Indicators
  7. Framework for Staff Remuneration and Conditions of Service

Responsibilities of the Vice-Chancellor

Responsibilities of Academic Board

Section C: The Students’ Union

The Board of Governors has certain responsibilities in relation to the Students’ Union:

To take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that the Students’ Union operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances.  (Education Act 1994)

Specific responsibilities include:

  1. Approval of the Students’ Union Constitution;
  2. Approving (after consultation with Academic Board) the rules for student conduct, complaints and appeals;
  3. Approve the annual Union block grant and budget

The Board has approved a Code of Practice in relation to Union activities and receives reports on the election process.

Section C: Students’ Union resources

  1. Constitution
  2. Code of Practice

Section D: General information

This section contains a range of general information and forms helpful to Governors.

Calendar of meetings

Please note the calendar is subject to change as necessary throughout the year.


Governors are entitled to claim expenses for travel to meetings at the University and travel and subsistence for meetings outside the University approved by the Chair.  Payment is at the standard University rates.


The term of office for Independent Governors is three years, renewable by re-election up to a maximum of nine years in total.  Governors seeking re-election are required to complete the appropriate form which is subject to review by Nominations Committee.

Staff and Student Governors are subject to separate election procedures.

Induction and staff development

New Governors are offered an appropriate Induction programme including a meeting with the Clerk, members of Directorate and other key University personnel.  Appropriate attendance at sessions organised by AdvanceHE is also encouraged.

Register of interests

As Trustees under Charity law, all Governors are required to make an annual Declaration of Interest which is published through the Register of Interests compiled by the Clerk.

External links

Governors may also find the following links useful:

Section D: General information resources

  1. Schedule of Meetings
  2. Members’ Register of Interests
  3. CUC Code of Governance
  4. Board of Governors’ Privacy Notice (GDPR)
  5. Board of Governors Complaints Procedure

The following documents may be of interest to Governors. Copies are available from the Clerk

  1. Corporate Planning Statement
  2. Annual Report
  3. Human Resources Strategy
  4. Human Resources Policies
  5. Whistleblowing Policy
  6. Estates Strategy
  7. Financial Regulations
  8. Treasury Management Policy
  9. Value for Money Policy
  10. Health and Safety Policy
  11. Risk Management Policy
  12. Student Disciplinary Regulations

For any further assistance please contact Helen Smallbone, Clerk to Governors, at [email protected].