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University of Manchester Governance Review Info

by Susie Hills, Selena Bolingbroke, Hanif Barma, Osaro Otobo, Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott OBE | Apr 13, 2021 | Governance & Policy, News

Governance at the University of Manchester

The governance arrangements at universities identify responsibilities and accountabilities. The governance framework at the University is set by the University’s Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, Standing Orders and Regulations.

The Board of Governors is the governing body of the University. It carries the ultimate responsibility for:

a) our overall strategic direction

b) the management of our finances, property and affairs generally, including the employment arrangements for all staff.

Senate reports to the Board and acts as the University’s principal academic authority, under the ultimate authority of the Board. It is responsible for:

a) The promotion of research;

b) The regulation and monitoring of standards in teaching;

c) The regulation of discipline of students;

More information on the governance framework at the University of Manchester is available here. From this page, you will be able to see all key governance documents and further details of the Board, Senate and key University committees.

Why is the review taking place?

Good governance is crucial to institutional success.

The Committee of University Chairs (CUC) publish a Higher Education Code of Governance (last updated September 2020) – which states “Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) must conduct a regular, full and robust review of governance effectiveness with some degree of independent input. This will provide assurance to internal and external stakeholders and allow a mechanism to focus on improvement and chart progress towards achieving any outstanding actions arising from the last effectiveness review. It is recommended this review takes place every three years.”

The University last conducted an external effectiveness review focused primarily on the Board and its committees in 2017. Therefore, a review in 2021 is timely: the review will be more wide-ranging than the previous version, reviewing the overall effectiveness of governance, including the role of and interaction between the Board of Governors, its committees, Senate and senior management

Who will be undertaking the review?

Halpin Partnership (Halpin) is a specialist higher education consultancy, drawing on a team of Consulting Fellows who have a breadth of experience and expertise across diverse fields in the education, public and corporate sectors.

Halpin was appointed by the University of Manchester in February 2021 to conduct an independent review of the effectiveness of the University’s governance arrangements, following an open and competitive tendering process. Biographies of the review team are available below.

Following a period of open consultation, the review team will present its findings and recommendations to the Board of Governors and Senate later in the year.

University support for Halpin’s activities will be through the Governance Office:

Halpin’s response to frequently asked questions about the review can be found below.

Review Timeline



  • Surveys to be sent to Board and Senate and a wider short staff survey
  • Desk review
  • Interviews
  • Observations of Board, Senate and committee meetings
  • Discussion Groups with Senate, staff and students


  • Analysis of findings and development of recommendations
  • Meeting with Nominations Committee
  • Findings and recommendations to be presented to Senate (for comment) and Board (for approval)

August onwards

  • Implementation of recommendations

Review Consultation

The review consultation period will remain open from mid-April to late-May.

Virtual Discussion Group sessions for members of Senate, staff and students will be held in April and May via Microsoft Teams. Dates are to be confirmed and we will update this page in due course.

Should you wish to attend a session, please send your name and preferred session to manchesterreview@halpinpartnership.com. Spaces will be limited so we please ask that you only book a space on a session if you intend to attend. We also request that you only attend one session only.

Share your comments

Halpin is keen to hear from all corners of the University. If you are unable to attend a virtual focus group session or you would prefer to send comments regarding the governance arrangements at Manchester with the Halpin Review team via email, please do so via manchesterreview@halpinpartnership.com.

Please note, all comments are confidential to the Halpin Review team. We will record the names of interviewees and focus group attendees for the purposes of scheduling. Any comments included in our final reports will not be attributed to any individuals.

Review Team

There are several members of the Halpin team working on this particular effectiveness review. Each team member will have a specific focus or area that they will be covering in this review. More details on their remit and biographies are below.

Hanif Barma, Consulting Fellow – Finance, Audit and Risk

Hanif has extensive experience of board and committee reviews, bringing a strong understanding of board culture and dynamics, board information and board processes. He is a Founder-partner of Board Alchemy, a specialist governance consultancy and is a former Director at PwC and Founder-partner at Independent Audit.

A Chartered Accountant with an MBA from London Business School, Hanif specialises in audit, finance and risk functions. He is a former Chair (and earlier Audit Committee Chair) of St Christopher’s Fellowship, a former member of the Audit & Risk Committee at City, University of London and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of corporate governance at Cass Business School. Following our work with the London Institute of Banking & Finance, Hanif was invited to join their Audit Committee

For Halpin, Hanif has recently conducted governance reviews at the University of Bath, London Institute of Banking & Finance and Quality Assurance Agency.

Selena Bolingbroke, Consulting Fellow – Governance Effectiveness

Selena is a senior leader in higher education, with experience in central and local government in roles that have combined her interests in education, enterprise and regeneration.

Selena is a former Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of East London, where she led on Strategic Planning and External Development and established the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Entrepreneurship. More recently, Selena was the Lead for External Engagement and Strategic Development at Goldsmiths, University of London, delivering their Civic Engagement strategy and gained over £2m of external funding to support a new Enterprise Hub.

Selena is an Associate Director of MetaValue, a consultancy practice focused on supporting entrepreneurial growth strategies in the not-for-profit sector, a Non-Executive Director of Wonkhe, a former Chair of two College Corporation Boards (Lewisham and Barking & Dagenham) a School MAT Governor, and former Chair of Cyclopark charity.

Susie Hills, Joint CEO and Co-founder – Project Director

With an unrivalled depth of knowledge in higher education fundraising, leadership and governance, Susie has advised and supported leaders and teams at universities across the UK, often during times of significant change. Susie is highly skilled at undertaking reviews of strategy, performance and structures and is in demand as coach and mentor. Susie is responsible for developing Halpin’s cross-sector governance expertise, having worked in the charity, corporate and HE sectors, and is a champion of best practice in governance. She is currently a Trustee of the Halpin Trust and, until recently, has been a member of the Board of Governors at Plymouth College of Art. In 2019, Susie was named as one of Unilever’s ’50 Leading Lights in Kindness’ by the FT in recognition of her work on kindness in leadership.

Susie has worked with a number of clients on highly customised governance reviews including UCL, the Universities of Bath, Kent and Westminster, UUK, QAA, and the Royal College of Art.

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Consulting Fellow – Senate Effectiveness and Assurance

Hilary is a Professor of Microbiology with a personal Chair awarded over 20 years ago and she is currently Honorary Distinguished Professor at Cardiff University. Hilary was a research scientist at the University of Exeter for 20 years, before moving into senior University leadership roles.

At Exeter, Hilary was Dean of the Postgraduate Faculty, responsible for quality assurance, curricula development and student experience. Hilary then moved to Bangor University where she was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, and later moved to the University of Swansea as Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor. There she led strategic development, research and innovation, performance management, student recruitment and equality, diversity and inclusion agendas until 2019.

Hilary has a total of 20 years’ experience on three different Senates and 15 years’ experience sitting on University Councils. She was also a member of Finance and Remuneration Committees at all three institutions. Hilary has chaired university Research Committees, prepared three RAE/REF university submissions, and was also involved in establishing two Medical Schools, line managing the Medical School and Health Sciences at the University of Swansea.

Hilary is the elected President of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS) having previously been the President of both the Microbiological Society and the International Society for Microbial Ecology. She was part of Research England’s Interdisciplinary Advisory Panel to advise UKRI and REF, led the Universities Wales Research and Engagement group and was a member of HEFCW’s Research Wales Committee.

She was also a panel member for REF2014, a member of the working group for the Stern Review and she is currently a panel Chair for REF2021.

Dame Angela Pedder, Consulting Fellow – Review Chair

Angela is an experienced senior NHS leader, with over 40 years’ NHS experience, including over 30 at Chief Officer level. Most recently, Angela was the Lead Chief Executive for the Devon Success Regime and Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.

Angela is a founding member of the Board and Vice-Chair of the South West Peninsula Academic Health Science Network. She has served two separate terms on the NHS Providers Board and has contributed to Secretary of State, NHSI and NHSE advisory forums.

She received an OBE in the 2007 New Year’s Honours List, a DBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List and an Honorary Doctorate for the University of Exeter in 2011.

Osaro Otobo, Consulting Fellow – Student Voice and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Osaro is currently Deputy Chair of the British Youth Council and is a member of multiple education and non-profit Boards. Her areas of expertise include the student voice, student democracy in governance and EDI.

A former student at the University of Hull, Osaro was elected for three successive years to work in the best interest of students at Hull, was a postgraduate student trustee and two-term President at Hull’s Students’ Union.

From lived experiences, Osaro created the Make Diversity Count campaign, calling for all UK organisations to have a robust discrimination policy, setting out how they deal with complaints of discrimination in a more effective and transparent way.
She believes in ensuring all students, especially those from liberation and widening participation groups, are supported effectively throughout their education journey. She also believes that student voices should be at the heart of an evidence-based approach to implementing change and getting meaningful, long-lasting results in the higher education sector.
Osaro is currently working on a governance review at the University of Sunderland with Halpin and has also authored Halpin’s recent report ‘UK Universities’ Response to Black Lives Matter’, co-chairing the subsequent discussion webinar in late 2020.

Katie Welsh, Project Manager

Katie has extensive project management experience. Her recent governance review projects include the Universities of Westminster and Kent, Cardiff Metropolitan and Leeds Trinity. She has also undertaken a variety of projects at Halpin, including professional services reviews at Sussex and Cardiff Metropolitan University, campaign feasibility studies with the Sainsbury Laboratory, the University of Sheffield and the Royal College of Music.

She previously spent six years in the project management team at the executive search firm, Perrett Laver, responsible for the administration of senior-level recruitment processes within the higher education practice on an international scale. She worked on over 100 senior level appointments, including Chairs of Boards, Vice-Chancellor and other senior academic, professional and professorial appointments.

She will be responsible for providing administrative support for the Halpin team and the University of Manchester and will be the point of contact and coordinator of meetings and group discussions.

The Review Team will also be supported by David Allen (Halpin Consulting Fellow and former Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive at the University of Exeter) and colleagues in the Education practice at Shakespeare Martineau who will be undertaking a detailed review of the University’s governance instruments.

Useful Information

As part of the review, Halpin will be ensuring the University of Manchester is compliant with the recently revised CUC Code of Governance. We will also be drawing on good governance practice outside of the sector. Here are some useful links to the various codes of governance, as well as higher education sector specific resources relating to governance:

CUC publications, including the Higher Education Code of Governance: https://www.universitychairs.ac.uk/publications/

Corporate Code of Governance: https://www.frc.org.uk/directors/corporate-governance-and-stewardship/uk-corporate-governance-code

Charity Code of Governance: https://www.charitygovernancecode.org/en

Office for Students: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk

Nolan Principles for Public Life: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life

QAA Quality Code for Higher Education: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/quality-code

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How was Halpin Partnership selected?

A public tender process was undertaken.

2. What experience does Halpin have of governance reviews?

Information on the review team and their experience can be found in the biographies above.

3. What should I do if I have questions about the review and/or would like to share my views?

The review consultation period will remain open until late May. Consultation will include interviews and discussion groups. To ensure confidentiality throughout the process, a dedicated email address has been set up where you can send your comments and questions directly to Halpin:


Virtual discussion groups with be held in due course via Microsoft Teams. We will update the times and dates in due course.

To attend a session please send your name and your preferred session time and date to manchesterreview@halpinpartnership.com

4. Is the review independent?

The Halpin review team is entirely independent from the University of Manchester. The review team have no conflicts of interest in undertaking this work and the Senior Leadership Team at Manchester is not involved in the review, other than as interviewees or participants.

The review team’s main point of contact at Manchester is the University Governance Office The review team has complete access to relevant documentation and information will be provided as requested.

The Halpin review team will provide initial findings to the Nominations Committee in June 2021 and this will undertake a process of fact-checking. This will be to ensure that we have not included factually incorrect information or missed any key points of information or evidence. Any changes that are made after that point will be made at the discretion of the Halpin review team, based on the information and evidence provided and after full and careful consideration.

5. Will the findings be published, and if so when?

Halpin’s findings and recommendations will be presented to the Board of Governors and Senate in July. The University is anticipating publishing the report in full, once it has been received and presented to the Board and Senate.

6. Will the review consider governance practice from outside the sector?

The review team includes experts in governance with experience both in and outside of the higher education sector. This wider experience and knowledge will help to inform the recommendations.

7. What is the process for the review?

The review process includes a wide variety of activity to ensure engagement with the University community. The review activity is underway with the consultation phase ending at the end of May.

Both the Board of Governors and Senate will be kept updated regularly on review progress.

8. Will you share data and consultation findings with Manchester during the review process?

Sharing consultation findings is not part of the review methodology. Halpin will provide analysis of findings and recommendations, but our notes will not be provided to the University.

All data will be destroyed at the end of the contract between Halpin and Manchester, in line with our Data Protection policy as detailed here.

9. How will you ensure anonymity and confidentiality?

We will record the names of interviewees and discussion group attendees for the purposes of scheduling. All comments made are strictly in confidence and our reports will not attribute any comments to any names.

10. How can the Halpin review team be contacted?

The Halpin team can be contacted via manchesterreview@halpinpartnership.com

Halpin Partnership has a trusted relationship with its clients and operates with sensitivity, discretion and confidentiality. We do not comment on client projects to third parties and will not be making any comments on the review undertaken for Manchester.

For any media enquiries, please contact the University of Manchester’s Media Relations team here.

If you have questions regarding Halpin and the services we offer please visit our main website at www.halpinpartnership.com or contact info@halpinpartnership.com.