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Imperial College London

Case Study
Governance Review

Imperial College London asked Halpin to undertake a review of its governance in 2022 and there were a number of recommendations and suggestions arising from that which are now being considered and implemented. The purpose of the report was to complete the advised regular review, with external advice. This was delivered in September 2022.

This involved the following:

  • Review of documentation, including Charter, Statutes and Ordinances, Council papers over the past two years, policies and regulatory codes, strategic plans, corporate risk register, and any other material relevant to the review
  • Survey of Council members and others who wished to contribute
  • Comment box for external stakeholders to contribute
  • Interviews with members of Council, officers and the incoming President
  • Meetings with campus trade unions (UCU, UNITE and the GMB), Imperial Together and Consuls
  • Observation of a Council and a Court meeting

The key outcomes of our review were accepted by Council. We supplied 18 recommendations and 8 suggestions which involved the following:

  • Consideration of possible changes to its composition to increase student representation and introduce a wider range of staff membership, while containing the size of Council
  • The introduction of a formal, integrated Scheme of Delegation from Council to committees and officers
  • The Deputy Chair rather than the Chair to chair the Remuneration Committee
  • Separation of the roles of Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Governor
  • Nominations Committee to meet on a scheduled rather than ad hoc basis, with the benefit of a skills and experience matrix to aid diverse recruitment, plug skills gaps and succession plan
  • The updating and formal reintroduction of a Code of Conduct for all Council members to adopt (and possibly staff as well), including the responsibility to live the College’s values and model desired behaviours
  • The introduction of more bespoke induction, a ‘buddying’ scheme for new members, development for members and an appraisal discussion each year, including for the Chair and Deputy Chair
  • The possible creation of a People Committee
  • Removal of residual governance responsibilities from Court and more flexibility in its membership
  • Greater informal engagement and communication between Council members, staff and students