Our principles of Governance

Nolan Principles

In accordance with our mission, vision and values, we strive to uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life from the Report of the Committee for Standards in Public Life (The Nolan Principles).  We expect that our governance will be conducted according to those principles, whether it is being enacted through our governors, our officers, or the wider staff or student community. The principles are:

  • Selflessness: Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their families or their friends.
  • Integrity: Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that may influence them in the performance of their official duties.
  • Objectivity: In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
  • Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
  • Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all their decisions and the actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
  • Honesty: Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
  • Leadership: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

In addition, following the recommendations of the recent governance review, we have added the principle of Respect for Staff, with the expectation that this will be reflected both in formal governance processes and in the behaviours which are evidenced by all members of the University:

  • Respect for Staff: We treat all our colleagues with dignity and respect and ensure they feel valued, empowered and supported.

Committee of University Chairs 

The Committee of University Chairs (CUC), the national body representing the Chairs of University governing bodies, publishes a code of practice on governance in the HE sector. The most recent version was issued in December 2014 (The Higher Education Code of Governance) and as part of the recent governance effectiveness review we have committed to complying with the Code. 

The Code makes it clear however, that good governance is not achieved simply by compliance but depends on a set of strong relationships, based on mutual respect, trust and honesty. It also identifies the primary elements of HE governance, which are that the governing body (in our case the Board of Governors):

  • is collectively and unambiguously accountable for institutional activities, taking all final decisions on matters of fundamental concern within its remit
  • 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
  • ensures institutional sustainability by working with the executive to set 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
  • receives assurance that academic governance is effective by working with Academic Board as specified in the Instrument and Articles
  • works with the executive to be assured that effective control and due diligence take place in relation to institutionally significant external activities
  • promotes equality and diversity throughout the institution, including in relation to its own operation
  • ensures that governance structures and processes are fit for purpose by referencing them against recognised standards of good practice. 

Whistleblowing Procedure

We are committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability and to the principles of academic freedom. All members of the University are encouraged to raise concerns about possible malpractice or wrongdoing in the running of the University and/or the activities of its staff at the earliest opportunity. Such concerns may be dealt with through the normal channels of communication (via Heads of School or service heads), and/or through HR procedures. However there may be instances in which members of the University may feel that to use those processes may jeopardise their position within the University and/or that the normal channels would be inappropriate to the nature of the concern. In those circumstances, the Whistleblowing Procedure offers an alternative route via the University Secretary (or another Board officer should the University Secretary be the subject of the concern) to ensure that:   

  • individuals are able to disclose relevant information without fear of reprisal and independently of line management
  • individuals who make a disclosure are protected from harassment and/or victimisation
  • the University has in place procedures to investigate allegations
  • allegations are dealt with in a transparent and confidential manner. 

The procedure should not be used to question financial or business decisions legitimately taken by or on behalf of the University, nor to re-open matters which have already been properly considered under other University procedures.