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University Council

University Council Minutes 8 February 2022

Last updated: 17 October 2022

Minutes of the meeting held on 8 February 2022 at 9.15 am in FW015, Fullwood House, Park Campus, Cheltenham.

Academic Board Membership (for C.22.01 and 02):

Rob Blagden
Dr Rachael Bullingham A
Andrea Chalk
Anne Dawson
Lorraine Dixon
Stewart Dove
David Last
Carol Loade
Neil Leighton
Amanda Pill
Dr Matthew Reed
Suzanne Sheldon
Carrie Wasley A
Julia Webb
Saba Yousif

University Council Membership:

Ingrid Barker
Paul Crichard
Nicola de Iongh (Chair)
Chris Fung
Stephen Gardiner
Aimee Jones (also on Academic Board)
Stephen Marston (Chair of Academic Board)
Steve Mawson
Stephen Maycock
Dr Andrew Misiura (also on Academic Board)
Mehjabeen Patrick
Dan Ramsay
Dr Adeela Shafi (also on Academic Board)
Pamela Sissons
Elonka Soros
David Soutter
The Rt Revd Robert Springett
Asha Sutton (also on Academic Board)
Dr Peter Warry
Julie Walking

Board Apprentices:
Julia Hopkins

In Attendance:
Rob Blagden (for C.22.17)
Gemma Gellman (for C.22.02)
Prof David James (also on Academic Board)
Prof Jackie Labbe (also on Academic Board)
Clare Peterson (for C.22.18)
Camille Stallard
Jess Lawson (for C.22.01, 02 and 12)
Alastair Wasilewski (for C.22.01)
Dr Matthew Andrews (Officer) (also on Academic Board)
Tanya Collins (Minutes)
Penny Gravestock (Minutes)

C.22.01         Office for Students’ Consultations:

C.22.01.1      1. Student Outcomes


Received: a presentation from the Vice-Chancellor regarding the Office for Students (OfS) consultation on a new approach to regulating student outcomes. 

C.   Considered: points in the presentation relating to the following:

  1. the proposed requirement of condition B3, that providers must deliver positive outcomes for students in order to maintain OfS registration;
  2. the proposed mass of data that would be collated / published would result in providers having up to 48 indicators, depending on the range of modes and levels of the courses they offered.  Each indicator would also be shown in different views and as split indicators;
  3. benchmarks and a summary of proposed numerical threshold levels;
  4. the goal of the proposed split indicators and views were to enable the OfS to identify pockets of provision where a provider was delivering outcomes below their numerical thresholds even though its overall performance was above numerical thresholds;
  5. the information the OfS proposed to publish for each registered provider as part of its regulation of student outcomes;
  6. follow up steps that would be taken to consider whether a provider had complied with condition B3 in relation to each separate indicator or split indicator, the different approaches the OfS could take to identification of the providers they assessed each year, and its proposal to prioritise a group of individual providers for detailed assessment;
  7. that publication of OfS numerical thresholds and approach to implementation would give providers the opportunity to take pre-emptive action to improve performance such that the OfS would not need to take enforcement action;
  8. levels of interventions / possible sanctions including the OfS taking account of additional information supplied by a provider about its context where the regulator had decided to intervene due to unsatisfactory performance;
  9. plans for implementation after the consultation closed on 17 March 2022;
  10. what the proposals meant for the University.  The institution was close to the 60% threshold for progression into professional / managerial employment.  There may also be pockets of provision below the threshold that would need to be addressed.

C.   Noted:

  1. it was confirmed that further study and self-employment would be included in the student outcome measures;
  2. the proposals did not appear to take account of all types of students across the University’s provision and their views on the value they considered they got from being at university and / or the course they were studying;
  3. that the proposals would not only apply to universities, but to all providers registered with the OfS, of which there were more than 400.

C.22.01.2      2. Teaching Excellence Framework


Received: a presentation from the University Secretary and Registrar regarding the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) consultation. 


Noted: points in the presentation relating to the following:

  1. the purpose of the TEF, including policy intention, incentivising excellence above the minimum baseline quality requirements;
  2. an outline of the TEF proposals, including scope, awards at both provider and aspect level, the evidence on which awards would be based, indicators, judgements, frequency, timeline, cycle and fees;
  3. the focus of the two aspect ratings on ‘student experience’ and ‘student outcomes’;
  4. it was anticipated that the TEF submission window would open in early September 2022 and close by mid-November 2022, and that institutions would be notified of their ratings in April 2023 and published in May 2023
  5. TEF aspects and relation to baseline conditions, including ‘educational gains’;
  6. the University’s percentage point difference from benchmark in relation to indicators.  The University performed well in terms of completion and student voice, and although it performed less well in relation to progression, it was still 79.7 percent within the benchmark range;
  7. TEF ratings at provider and aspect level, and the relationship between aspect and overall ratings.

C.22.01.3      3. University of Gloucestershire’s approach to academic regulation and improvement


Received: a presentation from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor regarding the University’s approach to academic regulation and improvement.


Noted: points in the presentation relating to the following:

  1. responsibilities of Council and Academic Board in relation to quality assurance and quality enhancement;
  2. the University’s quality enhancement framework embodied a risk management approach that considered both past performance of a School / Partner, their competence going forward, and the contexts within which they were operating now;
  3. the framework’s rolling programme included Improvement and Enhancement meetings, held in Autumn, which drew on Enhancement Dashboards for Schools and Professional Service Departments;
  4. things that could trigger action included National Student Survey (NSS) results, Graduate Outcomes, and continuation / completion rates.  The HoS from Health and Social Care (HSC) noted how the School’s NSS results had been affected, particularly in regard to January course starts, University systems, communications, and staffing.  For example, rapid growth in provision and new teams had brought people with credible practice but who were not necessarily experienced educators who understood all of the necessary quality assurance requirements.  The HoS for Creative Industries reported that the School’s strategic management team was focusing on Graduate Outcomes / employment and work with the Your Future Plan (YFP) team to ensure the YFP offer was embedded within the curriculum.  The School was also focusing on the development of new and existing partnerships with industry partners, and ensuring support to bring on all students, not just those who were excelling, to ensure everyone could do well and find work opportunities.

C.22.02         The Awarding Gap


Received: a presentation from Dr Adeela Shafi, Associate Professor in Education, on preliminary findings of the Closing the Awarding Gap Project which was exploring potential links between BAME+ student experience and attainment at the University of Gloucestershire.


Noted: points in the presentation relating to the following:

  1. a summary of the current position, and reason for the project and its aims;
  2. Academic Board had commissioned the project to understand the University’s awarding gap in relation to the sector.  The University’s awarding gap in 2019/20 (17%) compared unfavourably to the national average (13.3%), and its target was to reduce the gap by 8% by 2024/25.  The research project was a step towards achieving that target;
  3. anonymised comments from research participants regarding diversity within the University, lack of mental health support and communication of issues affecting BAME+ students, and mixed views conveyed regarding the University’s No Detriment Policy;
  4. the overall message from participants to date was a lack of communication, including the need to think carefully about how communications might be received / perceived as well as raising awareness about what the University was doing about the awarding gap.  Participants appeared to feel they were not being heard or that their voices would not be appreciated;
  5. early recommendations in relation to further work on decolonising the curriculum, improving community and belonging, diversity within the University, and communication of issues affecting BAME+ students;
  6. difficulties encountered in getting sufficient participants for the project and asking people to talk about their experiences.  The HoS (HSC) offered to promote the project within her School to encourage participants, and it was also suggested that the project could be promoted by Council members through their mentoring of students and by the Students’ Union via societies.  It was recognised that feelings of safety and disclosure were important in talking about matters of this nature, which was emphasised to participants. 


Resolved: it was noted that the report of the findings and final recommendations would be available when the project had been completed.

C.22.03          Prayer
The Rt Revd Robert Springett opened the meeting with a prayer.

C.22.04          Welcome and Apologies

Received: apologies for absence from Julia Hopkins and Steve Mawson. It was noted that Ingrid Barker, Dr Andrew Misiura, Mehjabeen Patrick, and Elonka Soros would be joining the meeting via Microsoft Teams.

C.22.05          Business of the Agenda

Noted: that there had been no request to unstar any item on the agenda, and that therefore papers C/11/22 to C/17/22 would be taken as approved or noted as stated.

C.22.06          Declarations of Interest

Received: a declaration of interest from Camille Stallard regarding item C.22.15, and it was noted that the Chair of Finance and General Purposes Committee would present the recommendations regarding loan funding.

C.22.07          Minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2021       

 Resolved: that the minutes were an accurate record of the meeting held on 25 November 2021.

C.22.08          Matters Arising (C/01/22)

 Received and noted: the matters arising as outlined in the paper.

C.22.09          Chair’s Business


Received and noted: a verbal report from the Chair, noting in particular the upcoming Chancellor’s Lecture and the Governance Workshop scheduled for 31 March 2022.


Received: updates from each of the Committee Chairs on key discussions held at recent meetings:

  1. Governance and Nominations Committee, 8 December 2021;
  2. Council, Foundation and Chaplaincy Committee, 11 January 2022;
  3. Council Chairs’ Group, 21 January 2022;
  4. Finance and General Purposes Committee, 25 January 2022.


Noted: that since the last meeting, there had been no use of the Company Seal nor any exercise of delegation. There had been one decision made via circulation, which was the feedback given regarding nominees for the role of Chancellor, and it was noted that an update had been provided under Matters Arising. It was also noted that the draft Strategic Plan had been emailed to Council in January 2022 to allow further opportunity for feedback, prior to the final version being presented for approval at the meeting that day.

C.22.10          Students’ Union Update (C/02/22)


Received: the Students’ Union (SU) update, noting in particular:

  1. the activity to help build belonging amongst the student population;
  2. ongoing campaigns, including #NeverOk and the focus on student safety;
  3. particular areas of concern, including the provision of independent advice for students, noting that an application for funding had been submitted to the Barnwood Trust;
  4. Welcome Back fayres held at Francis Close Hall and Oxstalls, particularly important for the January starters;
  5. the upcoming Varsity sport events between the University’s students and those from Worcester;
  6. discussions with the Vice-Chancellor and Student Registrar about the NUS campaign regarding non-disclosure agreements, noting that it was not considered to be a particular concern at the University;
  7. the planning underway for the 2022 Student Awards;
  8. the booking system introduced to all students and staff to reserve any of the SU social spaces.

C.22.10.2       Considered:

  1. the difference seen in engagement in sport between students based in Gloucester and Cheltenham;
  2. the success of bringing students back together on campus and the events that had worked particularly well.


Noted: the update on SU activity, such as the upcoming events, campaigns, and projects. Council also noted the highlighted areas of concern.

C.22.11          CONFIDENTIAL: Vice-Chancellor’s Report (C/03/22)


Received and noted: a paper updating Council on major developments affecting the University since the previous meeting, highlighting in particular:

  1. publication by the Office for Students (OfS) of the proposals for the future regulation of student outcomes and the future operation of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), as considered with Academic Board under item C.22.01;
  2. the recent publication of the Government’s Levelling Up paper, noting the potentially important proposals regarding local government reorganisation;
  3. the latest application data for 2022 entry, following the UCAS application deadline;
  4. an update on local and sector-wide industrial relations.


This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.12          Strategic Plan 2022-2027 (C/04/22)


Received: the final draft of the Strategic Plan for 2022-2027, designed to reflect and incorporate outcomes of previous discussions in terms of mission, vision, goals, actions, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The Vice-Chancellor highlighted the aim to create a positive, engaging, compelling story about what the University was trying to achieve. The Director of Planning summarised the type of feedback received since the previous version had been circulated, and noted the development of underpinning strategies (including a new one around institutional reputation). The development of a delivery plan to monitor the institutional KPIs was noted with an example template included in the paper. It was proposed that a separate sub-group should consider the best way to report back to Council on a regular basis.

C.22.12.2       Considered:

  1. the need to ensure that Council referred back to the Strategic Plan every time major decisions were made as it was the University’s ‘anchor’, reflecting what it was as an institution;
  2. the use of a delivery plan to allow continual monitoring of the Strategic Plan to ensure it remained relevant as the operating environment evolved;
  3. whether the Plan reflected sufficiently the University’s position in the wider marketplace or whether it was too introspective. It was noted that there was further work to be undertaken regarding the University’s identity and distinctiveness in the sector and that the Vice-Chancellor had asked the Director of Communications, Marketing, and Student Recruitment to address this and to come back to Council with a new marketing plan in June 2022 (noting that was different from the overarching Strategy);
    ACTION: Vice-Chancellor / University Secretary and Registrar
  4. that the Strategic Plan set out the University’s current position and its intended aims, whilst being mindful of what was sensible to include in a widely-published document;
  5. the use of the delivery plan to include measurable KPIs against the targets, which would also help identify the University’s position in the market;
  6. the need to ensure that the delivery plan showed how the Plan, and in particular the agreed values within it, were ‘lived’ across the institution.

C.22.12.3       Resolved: Council:

  1. approved the final draft of the Strategic Plan and Summary for publication;
  2. considered the proposal for publication of the Strategic Plan and related thematic strategies;
  3. considered the proposal for reporting on delivery of the Strategic Plan, and agreed that a sub-group of Council should be invited to consider its development.

C.22.13          CONFIDENTIAL: December Finance Report and Forecast 1 (C/05/22)

This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.14          CONFIDENTIAL: OfS Long-term Forecast (C/06/22)

This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.15          CONFIDENTIAL: City Campus Loan Funding (C/07/22)

This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.16          CONFIDENTIAL: Ambition Growth Plan: Workforce Workstream – Workforce Development in the Ambition Plan and University Strategy (C/08/22)

This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.17          Digital Strategy 2022-2027 (C/09/22)


Received: the Digital Strategy for approval, which was is the mandate for continual system, data and process improvements to ensure technology was focused on effective support of student and staff experience at the University. The Director of Libraries, Technology, and Information reported on the development of the Strategy, noting the feedback received from Schools and Departments and the particular emphasis on the need to address staff and student skills.

C.22.17.2       Considered:

  1. the benefit of cloud solutions;
  2. the resource available to support cyber security, noting expertise within Council’s membership and whether there was potential to offer placements to the University’s own students (whilst remaining vigilant of the need to protect personal data);
  3. the potential to extend access to an automated chat support system to 24 hours which would be particularly helpful for students;
  4. the role of the Department in reviewing and streamlining systems across the University.

C.22.17.3       Resolved: Council reviewed and approved the Strategy.  

C.22.18          Belonging: Our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy (C/10/22)


Received: the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy which set out a vision and strategic direction incorporating goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the University to create a more inclusive and accessible culture. The EDI Manager noted that the development of the University’s first strategy of this kind showed its readiness to realise the ambitions within it. The development process through discussions with staff networks, senior management teams, and University’s EDI Committee was also highlighted.

C.22.18.2       Considered:

  1. whether the ambitions for the KPIs were sufficiently ambitious, for example whether Goal 1 should aim for the elimination of gaps in staff appointments, rather than just narrowing them. It was noted that the elimination of any gap within the five-year life of the Strategy was very unlikely, but it was suggested that the narrative could state the University’s ultimate goals;
  2. whether there were opportunities to take any positive action to support specific groups;
  3. a request to add neurodiversity to the list of characteristics;
  4. the need to encourage inclusive behaviours amongst existing staff;
  5. that through the wide consultation and discussion for the development of the Strategy, it may have been diluted and become less ambitious. It was felt that there was an opportunity to be braver on what the University could expect to achieve;
  6. that each area of the Strategy would require leadership and for every person in the University to take ownership. It was felt that the level of ownership had not yet been achieved, and that the urgency to move the agenda on was not reflected in the Strategy;
  7. that ownership and accountability started with Council and was rooted in the University’s values;
  8. opportunities to work in this area with student societies, particularly to show the University’s lack of tolerance for any non-inclusive behaviour. It was noted that the University did not currently have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for harassment and bullying, although that behaviour would not be accepted on any level;
  9. whether it was appropriate to set targets that reflected the demographics of Gloucestershire which was not as diverse as other regions, and the need to ensure that those joining the University felt that they were part of the community (and how that could be reflected in the KPIs);
  10. the plan to use the recent EDI Survey to provide a baseline for the University to see how it could improve and track progress;
  11. the business case for becoming a more diverse institution and the need for positive action;
  12. the opportunity to explore ‘belonging’, and then moving to ‘togetherness’, and identifying how to make that move;
  13. the need to be clear for existing staff what they needed to do to meet the Strategy, and to give examples that made it real.

C.22.18.3       Resolved: Council considered the Strategy and approved it subject to the following changes:

  1. it should have a greater sense of ambition and aim to move forward more quickly;
  2. it should include reference to the recent EDI survey;
  3. the KPIs should be clearer and include more metrics.

[Post note: after the meeting, it was agreed that the final version should be presented again to University Executive Committee for approval.]

C.22.19          CONFIDENTIAL: 2022-23 Budget Process* (C11/22)

This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.20          Council and its Committees: meeting dates* (C/12/22)

Resolved: Council approved the proposed revisions to dates for 2022/23 and the new dates for 2023/24 as recommended by Governance and Nominations Committee.

C.22.21          Student Engagement: Annual Report to University Council* (C/13/22)

Noted: the Student Engagement annual report.

C.22.22          Health and Safety Annual Report 2020/21* (C/14/22)

Received and noted: the Health and Safety annual report.

C.22.23          CONFIDENTIAL: City Campus Progress Report* (C/15/22)

This item was considered under Confidential Business.

C.22.24          Report from the Governance and Nominations Committee* (C/16/22)


  1. progress with the appointment of a new co-opted member of Finance & General Purposes Committee and a new Board Apprentice;
  2. the completion of the annual effectiveness review and appraisal of the Chair of Council.

C.22.25          Council Schedule of Business* (C/17/22)

 Noted: the Schedule of Business.

C.22.26          Minutes from Council Committees*

Noted: that the minutes from the following meetings would be available from

  1. Governance and Nominations Committee, 8 December 2021;
  2. Council, Foundation and Chaplaincy Committee, 11 January 2022;
  3. Finance and General Purposes Committee, 25 January 2022.

C.22.27          Any Other Business

 Noted: that it was the last meeting of Council for Professor David James who was retiring from the University. Council thanked Prof James for his work and support for the University.

C.22.28          Date of Next Meeting

 Tuesday, 29 March 2022 at 9.15 am via Microsoft Teams.



Action list for the meeting held 8 February 2022

Minute numberActionResponsibility
C.22.12   C.22.12.2c                                           Strategic Plan 2022-2027   It was noted that there was further work to be undertaken regarding the University’s identity and distinctiveness in the sector and that the Vice-Chancellor had asked the Director of Communications, Marketing, and Student Recruitment to address this and to come back to Council with a new marketing plan in June 2022 (noting that was different from the overarching Strategy);
    Vice-Chancellor / University Secretary and Registrar

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