The Committee of University Chairs (CUC) has published a revised Higher Education Code of Governance in December 2014. The revision updates and extends the previous version of the Code, reflecting both broader public debates about governance and learning from past failures of governance at individual higher education institutions. Presented using a different format and style, the revised Code marries new content with material retained from the previous version of the Code. Alongside a set of core values, seven primary elements of higher education are identified. Whereas previously to meet the requirements of the Code institutions were asked to ‘comply’ or ‘explain’, they are now asked to ‘apply’ or ‘explain’.
While the role of the Code in supporting good governance is recognised, so to is the need for ‘a set of strong relationships based on mutual respect, trust and honesty to be maintained between the governing body, the clerk to the board, the vice-chancellor and the senior management team.’ The importance of such relationships and examples of how they can be achieved in practice is a recurring theme of our Governor Dialogue series of interviews with chairs of governing bodies.
In the drafting of the Code, the diversity of constitutional forms, institutional histories and scale has been accommodated. As a consequence the Code offers governing bodies the opportunity to meet its mandatory requirements by adopting actions proportionate to the institution's context.
The revised Code does not apply to Scotland where a separate Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance applies.
The following actions are suggested for governors seeking assurance that their institution will comply with the revised Code.
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