Governing bodies should consider if they have the knowledge and the capacity to enable effective oversight of access and participation plans.
As different providers will have different levels of complexity (including size, nature of the business and legal form), different governance arrangements may be appropriate for different providers.
Arrangements that may be appropriate for small providers might not be appropriate for large, complex providers, those with degree awarding powers or with university title.
Membership of governing bodies
A Leadership Foundation for Higher Education blog on challenges facing good governance highlights that the composition of a governing body is key in underpinning effective governance.
Some important considerations when considering membership of a governing body include:
- expertise - for example members who can examine specific areas of work or higher education specialists in providers where higher education is only part of its business
- diversity - Advance HE guidance states that if a governing body is representative of the diverse student community it serves it is better enabled to help improve provider performance
- links to senior teams at the provider – members of the governing body who can engage with the team responsible for developing the access and participation plan.
Regular induction and training sessions can enhance the governing body’s awareness and understanding of access and participation.