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Governance consultancy and enhancement services

Advance HE supports boards and governors within higher education to be effective and tackle the challenges faced in a highly turbulent sector.

Good governance is critical to delivering impactful HE and confidence and trust for stakeholders. Yet we know that understanding what is effective in your context is needed more than ever to navigate turbulence and be fit for the future. 

We build on our unparalleled track record of supporting and developing governors, governance professionals, institutions and systems of governance across the world to support boards to lead successful institutions. We provide invaluable insight across several key areas.

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Evolving higher education governance brochure

Our new Evolving higher education governance 2023-24 brochure details our support for boards, governance professionals and individual governors. Find out more about our consultancy and enhancement services, the dates for our Governor Development Programme 2023-24 and upcoming exclusive content and projects for Advance HE members.

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Advance HE’s comprehensive understanding of the sector, the challenges facing governing bodies and best practice in the sector, meant that their work was extremely productive and their report insightful.

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Services to support governing bodies 

We know that every provider of higher education is different and the requirements upon you will be different as a result. Whether you subscribe to the HE Code of Governance by CUC, the corporate governance Code or another; whether you are regulated by the Office for Students in England or operate under another system, we work with you to evaluate the effectiveness of your governance in context and offer wider support and development. We provide tailored services to universities, private providers or further education colleges offering HE to ensure that Governors and governance professionals have the resources they need to promote good governance in their institutions. Our consultants offer a range of expertise in the delivery of sensitive and developmental reviews from a range of settings.

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Our areas of work

Governance effectiveness and benchmarking

At Advance HE we use three key lenses to explore effectiveness, based on years of research and experience evaluating governance in higher education. These are enablers; behaviours; and outcomes. By looking through these three lenses we are able to explore the processes and policies, skills, culture and relationships and impact that add up to deliver good governance. Our programmes, events and bespoke consultancy all use this approach to ensure that your governance is as effective as it can be, drawing on the latest practice and insights from HE and beyond. We offer a unique and extensive benchmarking dataset.

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Equality, diversity and inclusion

Higher education is being challenged to become accessible, inclusive and representative of the society we live in. The voices calling for change are many and strong, the opportunities, energy and urgency likewise. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our values as an organisation and provide the framework for the work that we do with our members and clients. We are leading work in UK HE on enhancing EDI perspectives within institutional governance, in terms of both board diversity and board assurance, including partnering with other sector groups such as the global 30% Club for gender diversity and the global search firm Perrett Laver. We draw on insight from developing and running the internationally-recognised Charters accreditation schemes in race equality and gender equality for universities.

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Academic governance and assurance

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the institution’s ability to deliver learning and teaching has increased the attention on academic governance and assurance and its role in navigating the transformations needed for years to come. Through our vast experience supporting teaching and learning in the sector, Advance HE are unrivalled in our insights of good practice and what works. Our Academic Governance Effectiveness Framework provides a tool to review how your institution is performing

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Value and integrated thinking and reporting

Higher education is looking for an improved narrative about the value it creates for students, parents, funders, governors and society, and this is much deeper and wider than value for money – it is about understanding and joining up the relationships between the resources available to a university, the stakeholders impacted by the activities of the institution and the consequent creation (or destruction) of value across all activities. We are at the forefront of supporting institutions to explore Integrated Thinking and Reporting and bring in diverse, global perspectives on governance, strategy and stakeholder engagement

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Supporting Students' Unions governance

The effective governance of students’ unions is equally as important to the success of higher education and delivery for students as that of institutions themselves. As separate legal entities, charities, operating under the Education Act 1994, Charities Act 2011 and in some cases the Companies Act 2006 there is much that makes their governance complex.

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Achieving Degree Awarding Powers

Applying for Degree Awarding Powers is a significant undertaking for any provider and requires them to evidence effective institutional governance and assurance of quality and standards through a robust and intense process involving regulatory bodies.

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Who we've worked with

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Keep up to date with Advance HE

Monthly Governance Bulletin

Every month we send out a newsletter that collates the latest news from the month and our most recent resources, including blogs and Advance HE reports. The newsletter also highlights upcoming dates for key events and programmes within the Advance HE portfolio.

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Governance News Alerts

Our News Alerts provide regular updates from across the sector on the latest policy changes or introductions, updated guidance and news. We provide an at-a-glance view of the piece along with the implications for boards and governors.

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Resources and guidance

Advance HE is committed to producing and sharing news, guidance, research, publications, resources and toolkits to support good governance. Take a look at our Governance guidance pages where these are collated.

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