Governance & Management

The Board of Directors

Membership & Responsibilities of the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors consists of at least nine and not more than seventeen Directors who are appointed to serve up to two three-year terms of office. At least half the Board members are Independent Directors who are not employed by the UCO and who are not osteopaths; of the others no more than two are osteopathic degree students and the remainder are qualified osteopaths. The Board of Directors (the Board) uses its best endeavours to ensure that it includes an appropriately diverse range of Directors; who also have expertise in areas such as finance, estates, education policy and management.

The Board of Directors is responsible for
  • Approving and reviewing the delivery of the UCO’s mission, vision and Strategic Plan.
  • Approving the UCO’s annual budgets, long term business plans and its duty to deliver public benefit according to the Charities Act 2011.
  • Ensuring that the UCO meets all Higher Education statutory requirements.
  • Managing risks related to the management of the UCO and its Strategic Plan.
  • Reviewing its own effectiveness as a Board of Directors including the effectiveness of  its sub-committees.
  • Monitoring institutional performance against the Strategic Plan and approved Key Performance Indicators.
  • Oversight of all academic issues.
Current Membership of the Board of Directors

More information about the members of the UCO’s current Board of Directors and their areas of expertise may be found on our website:

Governance by the Board of Directors

Governance by the Board and its committees is exercised by:

Approving all important academic matters which might affect the educational character of the UCO and its management.
Reviewing thehe Principal’s Report at each Board meeting which draws attention to all key on-going development issues at the UCO enabling Board members to raise any issues and have the opportunity to ask the Principal’s Group to address any related questions.
Taking a proactive role in ensuring that the UCO has robust internal financial controls and appropriate auditing procedures through its Finance & Estates Committee and Audit & Risk Committee.
Approving the UCO’s budget and reviewing performance on income and expenditure against the approved budget; the Board is also directly involved at the planning, resource allocation and risk assessment stage of all major initiatives in the School.
Agreeing the UCO's mission and vision and monitoring the realisation of that mission and vision and thereby assuming responsibility for the educational character of the UCO.
Recognising the benefits to be gained from reviews of Director effectiveness based on guidance from the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) and reflecting the Hallmarks of Effective Charity (CC10) guidelines from the Charity Commission.
Recognising the need for transparency in governance operations; in line with the guidance in the UCO’s Committee Handbook staff and students may attend Board meetings in an observatory capacity, except where there are issues of confidentiality.
Attending the UCO’s annual Staff Conference to engage at an operational level with all staff and presenting at Staff Conferences to further support this initiative.

Meetings of the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors normally meets four times per year at the UCO. Members of the Principal’s Group are invited to attend Board meetings and those of the Board’s sub-committees (see below).

Members of the Principal’s Group give presentations to the Board on a range of issues to further the Board’s understanding of the UCO’s operations and to provide briefings on any essential issues and the Principal regularly advises and informs the Board on all aspects of the academic and operational management of the UCO.

Minutes from Board Meetings:

Please find below minutes of past Board meetings:

Sub-Committees of the Board of Directors

Sub-committees of the Board act in an advisory capacity and are appointed on the recommendation of the Chair of the Board. Directors are nominated to Chair and sit on each committee according to their skills and areas of expertise and are joined in these committees by relevant senior members of staff. Each sub-committee operates under specific Terms of Reference approved collectively by the Board.

Current Board sub-committees include the following:

Board Sub-Committee
Sub-Committee Remit Overview
The Remuneration Committee
(of the Principal & Principal's Group)
The Remuneration Committee meets as required each year to set annual performance measures for the Principal and Principal's Group to assess their performance over the previous year. The Committee determines the policy for the total remuneration and benefits, including performance-related pay and bonus payments, of the Principal and Principal's Groups.
The Board Nominations Committee
The Board Nominations Committee normally meets each year (as required) to review the composition of the Board of Directors and recommends the appointment of members via the Annual General Meeting or through co-option.
The Fundraising Committee
The Fundraising Committee meets as required and reviews the fundraising strategy to ensure that the direction accords with the UCO’s wider strategic objectives. It also identifies individuals, trusts and organisations that may support the UCO’s fundraising objectives.
The Finance & Estates Committee
The Finance & Estates Committee meets four times a year and provides advice on financial management and is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the UCO’s financial and estates strategies.
The Audit & Risk Committee
The Audit & Risk Committee meets four times a year and is responsible for overseeing the UCO’s audit and risk management. This committee monitors the adequacy and effectiveness of financial and internal control systems, data assurance and reviews external audit functions.
The Academic Council
The Academic Council normally meets four times a year and is accountable to the Board for all academic matters related to the UCO.

Certain functions of the Board are delegated to the above committees but decisions are ultimately approved by the Board. The Board annually reviews these committees and their members to ensure there is a balanced range of skills and receives copies of minutes from these committees prior to full Board meetings to help inform decision making and to inform their academic oversight.

The Terms of Reference of and the relationship between these committees and the Board of Directors is shown within the UCO’s Committee Structure Diagram published here:

Recruitment of Directors

In keeping with the recommendations of the guide on governance published by the Committee of University Chairs (CUC)1, the Board seeks to ensure that there is a “balance of skills and experience among members sufficient to meet its primary responsibilities and to ensure stakeholder confidence”.

The Board elects a Chair and a Vice Chair, and the appointment to either of these roles can be for as long as the individual is entitled to remain as a Director. This process of election to both of these roles begins with expressions of interest from current Board members. These are considered by the Board and votes cast by the Board members; this process of election is administered by the Clerk to the Board. The Chair, supported by the Vice Chair, is responsible for the leadership of the Board and ultimately its effectiveness.

The Directors are recruited through advertisements and searches, and are carefully vetted and interviewed before appointment. Prior to their first Board meeting, new Directors are invited to attend an induction session which covers their role as charity trustees, the structure of the UCO, its strategy and an introduction to the higher education sector. Appropriate on-going training is provided to all Directors as required.

1 Guide for Members of Higher Education Governing Bodies in the UK; Incorporates the Governance Code of Practice and General Principles Page 11 Mar-09/14 (

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