Higher Education Governance Guidance

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Unison has responded to the consultation on a Scottish Code of Higher Education Governance.

Democratic structures create public bodies which are open and transparent in their dealings with the public. Universities must be accountable to communities which they serve. The Independent Commission on Good Governance in Public Services (2005) laid out 6 principles of governance. UNISON supports these principles as the basis for governance of Scottish universities.


Those appointed to governance roles should be:

  • Focusing on the organisation’s purpose and outcomes for the citizens and services users
  • Developing the capacity and capability of the governing body to be effective
  • Performing effectively in clearly defined functions and roles
  • Promoting values for the whole organisation and demonstrating good governance through behaviour
  • Taking informed transparent decisions and managing risk
  • Engaging stakeholders and making accountability real

UNISON therefore welcomed the findings of the Prondzynski review and hoped to see the recommendations swiftly implemented. We are disappointed at the slow progress towards achieving these aims and in particular the resistance of management to trade union participation on governance bodies. We hope that we can now more forward swiftly to introduce a new fit-for-purpose code and see university management properly scrutinised and supported by governance structures which are suitable to the twenty first century.