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AECC University College

Case Study
Governance Review

In recent years, AECC University College (AECC UC) has successfully achieved degree-awarding powers and university status, purchased St Thomas Garnet’s School building, and won a bid for LEP funds to develop a rehabilitation centre on that site which is now complete and open. Halpin Partnership was commissioned in March 2021 to undertake a light-touch governance review to determine key governance changes to support the Board’s effectiveness. This took place as AECC embarked on a new strategy focusing on expanding its portfolio of health programmes and building on AECC UC’s heritage as a world-leading chiropractic training provider.

Our methodology included:

  • conducting a desk review of Board and committee papers, and governance documentation
  • conducting a survey of the Board, one-to-one interviews and focus groups interviews with the other governors
  • observing key meetings (Board meeting, strategy meeting, Academic Board meeting and committee meetings).

Our work found that AECC UC is an organisation with big ambitions to expand significantly in the future. The challenges these ambitions bring will involve more risk taking and compliance with more regulation, and the Board must develop a consensus on how much risk is acceptable, or rather, how far opportunities can be embraced.


  • Following use of the Halpin Governance Maturity Framework, AECC UC was presented with a report highlighting areas where it performs well and those where there are opportunities for improvement.
  • Of the 36 recommendations and 19 suggestions, 14 recommendations were prioritised for completion within six months.
  • Action-oriented outcomes were suggested, including reviewing resourcing needs to ensure that AECC UC has the capability to deliver the changes that the Board requires to operate efficiently.


“The Halpin team took the time to get to know us as an organisation and to understand our circumstances as a small specialist provider. They were incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise and assisting us to adapt it (where required) to our needs. Their review gave us assurance about our governance processes.”

Jeni Bremner, Chair of the Board of Governors