The Board Vacancies Portal was launched in 2018 as part of a collaborative effort between Advance HE, Committee University Chairs (CUC), the 30% Club and the Association of University Heads of Administration to provide a central place for higher education institutions and colleges to advertise governor and non-executive director roles. The Portal also acts as a central location for anyone interested in becoming governors and supporting important work diversifying higher education boards. Since its launch in 2018, the Portal has seen over 330 vacancies posted by universities and colleges recruiting board members and non-executive directors.
Advance HE and CUC have committed to developing the Portal in its second phase. This work aims to increase engagement with the Portal both in terms of advertised roles and candidates, to increase the reach and impact of potential governors and non-executive directors from a background outside the higher education sector and to increase the diversity of governors across the higher education sector.
John Rushforth, Executive Secretary of CUC, said, "The importance of governing body diversity is recognised within the HE Governance Code as supporting ethical behaviour, inclusivity and good decision making. The Board Vacancies Portal can contribute by helping institutions reach out to people with a distinctive voice. So the CUC is committed to making the Portal as effective as possible."
A recent survey by Advance HE with Governance Professionals revealed that 30% of respondents found the Portal increased the number of candidates, 25% found it hadn't, with 45% noticing no difference. On increasing diversity, only 5% of respondents said it had, with 70% noting no difference. As such, work must be undertaken to ensure the Portal supports board diversification practice. When seeking feedback on improving the Portal, respondents suggested, "It needs to be more visible externally, ie, to those who aren't actively searching for it", and "I wonder if there is any way to make it more visible publicly and drive traffic to it. Currently, you have to know it's there".
Dan Tinkler, Governance Development Manager at Advance HE, said, "The Portal has been operating for several years, including supporting recruitment over the Covid-19 pandemic. We are keen to ensure this is a highly effective free resource for members and the wider sector. It must work to increase the diversity of candidates, be visible to those beyond the HE sector and increase its reach in the UK and internationally. We look forward to partnering with CUC and the sector to develop the Portal further."
Focus group opportunities
Advance HE Associates Kay Renfrew and Lucy Parker have been appointed to undertake an initial assessment and consultation on the Portal's effectiveness.
As part of this project, we will be holding focus groups with those who have an interest in supporting this work. We are keen to form those interested in becoming governors, those who have registered for the Portal, governance professionals and members of Search Committees.
Online focus groups are scheduled to take place on the following dates in July 2022. If you are interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.
Monday 11 July
10:00-11:30 – Governance Professionals
13:30-15:00 – Recently appointed Governors
Wednesday 13 July
10:00-11:30 – Recruitment Agencies
13:30-15:00 – EDI Practitioners
Tuesday 19 July
10:00-11:30 – additional session for those unable to attend during the first week