Support Staff Governor
Firstly, thank you to everyone who voted for me in the recent board of Governor selection process. I am delighted to be able to take up this role and to be able to offer a support staff voice to the board.
I have now attended a few meetings and was honoured to attend the Scholarship Award ceremony where I was able to meet and chat to the New Chancellor Dawn Airy.
Before I joined the board, I did not know much about them other than they are often referred to in terms of important stuff to the university. I have often thought of this as an almost “wait till your father gets home” concept.
Joining the board is a very formal affair, not quite Harry Potter’s Sorting Hat but you do need to go through some formal clearances. Once these were completed, I was invited to my first meeting. Initially I had to wait outside while the board approved my appointment before being invited in. This was initially quite daunting, particularly with all of the senior team present. However, the Chair of the Board Clive Elliott made me feel very welcome and at ease.
I am classed as a full member of the board and have have equal responsibilities as a charity trustee. I am also classed as holding a public office and as such I have signed up to the Seven Principles of Public Life: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership.
Who are the Board of Governors?
This is group of people from a diverse range of backgrounds many of whom give up their time voluntarily to ensure the wellbeing of the university. As well as internal representative such as myself, academic staff and students the board also has several independent members who undertake their role on a voluntary basis.
The role of the board is not to oversee the day-to-day processes of the university. The primary task is to support strategy development and to seek assurances around some of the bigger issues and legal requirements that the university face.
What is the role of the board?
In brief the board are there to seek assurance that we are meeting our regulatory requirements and that the major decisions relating to the running of the university have been researched, thoroughly thought out and risk assessed fully before approving them.
This can often see the likes of John, Steve, Lynda, and Liam being asked some complex and direct questions. These are interesting and useful exchanges for all parties. The work and life experiences from the different governors allow for many different perspectives to be added. Whilst the role of the board is to challenge some of the key decisions it is not to threaten them or to throw them out, it is to add value to them and to ensure that they are fit for purpose before implementing.
The Governors always seem to get really nice food.
Yes, the food we get is always lovely, but there is no such thing as a free meal. Governors’ meetings usually take place after working hours and most members are giving up their own time to look after the wellbeing of the university. Meetings can go on for several hours. In addition to this there is a lot of preparation work required before meetings.
Some of the questions I have been asked by colleagues.
Can you represent all support staff views at the meetings?
No this would be impossible, However, what I can do is offer my voice as a member of support staff.
I would like to think that my role working across the university with many different support colleagues allows me to align my own views with that of a broad spectrum and this is the approach I will always be taking with the board.
Can you secure us a pay rise?
The board is not responsible for pay negotiations or decisions over areas such as hybrid working. So, I can’t get you an extra 25% pay, I can’t get the heating turned up or down in your building and I can’t guarantee you a parking space in September.
However, the board can seek assurances that university staff are paid fairly
Do you get paid extra for being a governor?
Whilst I do claim back the time, I spend in out of hours meetings and at ceremonies as time of in lieu, I do not get any additional increments in pay for this role.