Governance and compliance


Effectiveness Review 2020

Details of the Council Effectiveness Review 2020 and accompanying statement from UCL Council.

In January 2020, management consultancy Halpin Partnership was appointed by UCL to undertake an independent review of the effectiveness of Council. Halpin Partnership reported in June 2020. The report is available to download: 

Statement from UCL Council

UCL’s Council appointed the Halpin Partnership to undertake its four-yearly review of governance effectiveness in line with the requirements in the Committee of University Chairs Code of Higher Education Governance (2014). 

Under the terms of reference, Council requested that the review should be conducted independently by an external body and that specific recommendations should be made across the breadth of Council’s governance responsibilities.

The Halpin Partnership was appointed to deliver the independent Council Effectiveness Review report. Its final report and recommendations are based on a review  process which was conducted over five months including over 60 one-to-one interviews, several focus group meetings, observations of six meetings, a benchmarking exercise and desktop review of key documents. The recommendations aim to improve on existing good practice and move UCL towards sector best practice.

Council intends to establish a governance working group to oversee the process of implementing the non-controversial aspects of the report, and to consider how and if each of the more complex recommendations can or should be implemented.  This work is envisaged to take place over the course of the coming year and will begin with the non-controversial quick fix recommendations.  Council will engage with Academic Board and the wider UCL community in discussion about the more complex proposals set out in the report. In doing this, the council governance working group will also engage with the Academic Board Commission of Inquiry and will give serious consideration to its report and recommendations along with those in the Halpin report.

The Vice Chair of Council, Baroness Valentine, who chaired the Council Effectiveness Review Oversight Group said: “UCL’s Council and senior management team recognise the importance of ensuring that UCL has effective, inclusive and transparent governance. I am grateful to Halpin for the thoroughness of the report and the wide-ranging recommendations designed to ensure that UCL builds on its high standards of governance to become sector-leading.  The Halpin report contains some quick fix recommendations which Council will act on immediately.  Others are more complex and require a robust and sensitive process of evaluation along with the Commission of Inquiry recommendations, allowing sufficient time for consultation and engagement involving the whole UCL community.”

UCL’s President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, said: “I welcome the findings of the Council effectiveness review which will enable UCL to improve its governance and strengthen its position as one of the world’s top ten universities. This is vital at a time when the university, along with the entire global higher education sector, is facing substantial challenges.”

29 June 2020