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Council Effectiveness Review Questionnaire

Questionnaire: Council Effectiveness Review 2012

This questionnaire aims to capture quantitative and qualitative data on how effectively members of the University Council are equipped to perform their strategic and statutory responsibilities.

The effectiveness of the Council was last reviewed in 2007/08. A Brief Summary of the Findings and Recommendations of that review is provided should you wish to consult this information prior to completing the questionnaire.

John Lauwerys has been appointed by the University as an external facilitator to support the Council in its review of its effectiveness. In addition to reviewing the completed questionnaires together with Penny Egan, John is keen to speak to Council members face to face or on the telephone. If you would like to take the opportunity to speak with John directly please contact him at jfl@soton.ac.uk or on 01926 714470.

Please note: If you are using a mobile device to access and complete the questionnaire you may need to scroll to the side to see more response options on some questions.

If you have any problems completing the questionnaire please contact the Governance Team at universitycouncil@warwick.ac.uk or on 02476 522 708.

Responses to the questionnaire will not be attributed to named individuals without their consent but comments may be published anonymously to facilitate the Council's consideration of the results.


 

 
1. Role and Responsibility of the Council

The Council is the governing body of the University with particular oversight of financial matters and the University estate, as well as a more general remit to oversee the conduct of University business together with the Senate. The responsibilities of the Council are set out in the Statement of Primary Responsibilities derived from the University Statutes. This section explores the role of the Council in relation to its strategic and statutory responsibilities.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know  
I understand my statutory role as a member of Council  
I understand the University’s strategic goals  
I understand the Council’s responsibility for approving institutional strategy  
I feel able to contribute positively to the University’s strategic development  
The Council adds value to the effectiveness with which the University is governed  

 
2. Capacity and Capability of the Council

The Council has a membership of 33, the majority of whom are lay members drawn from the professions, business and industry and local authorities. Members of academic staff are also appointed by the Senate and student sabbatical officers represent the student community. This section explores the representation, diversity, knowledge and skills set of members of the Council.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know  
The size of the Council is optimal to ensure effective decision-making  
The Council has a broad and appropriate representation of backgrounds and experience  
The balance of new and continuing members of the Council is appropriate  
The contribution of attendees at meetings is helpful and appropriate  
The processes for identifying new members of the Council are effective in delivering an appropriately skilled and diverse body  
There is effective induction for new members  
I feel adequately informed about the University’s policy and operating context to be able to make decisions required by the Council  
I feel adequately informed about internal news and developments to be able to make decisions required by the Council  
I know where to find information I need about the University (personal contact or website etc)  
The skills of Council members are utilised effectively  

 
3. Relationships

The following questions explore the working relationships between Council members and between members of the Council and the University

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know  
I have constructive working relationships with other Council members  
I have a constructive working relationship with the Chair of Council  
I have a clear understanding of the location of strategic decision-making responsibility  
I feel able to challenge key issues  
There is an appropriate flow of information between the Council and its committees to ensure delegation of decision-making  
There is an appropriate flow of information between the Council and the Senate to facilitate the alignment of decision-making  
I am aware of the views of staff and students to inform my decision-making  
There are opportunities for different constituencies of Council members to work together on key issues  

 
4. Risk and Accountability

The following questions explore risk, accountability and transparency in Council decision-making.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know  
I understand the organisations to which the University is primarily accountable and in what ways  
I am confident that staff and student representatives know what the Council is responsible for  
Feedback from staff and students is used effectively to inform policy and practice  
The Council systematically monitors and measures institutional performance  
The Council receives appropriate management information to help monitor performance and risk  
The University has an effective approach to risk management  
Council holds University senior managers to account effectively  
Senior managers respond positively and proactively to Council decisions  
It is easy for members of the University to find out about key decisions made by the Council  

 
5. Operational Effectiveness

The following questions explore the organisation, content and conduct of Council business and meetings to ensure effective dialogue and decision-making.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know  
I receive timely and appropriate information in advance of formal meetings to be able to make effective decisions  
Council members are kept abreast of significant developments at the University and in the HE sector which could influence University strategy  
Methods of communication in preparation for meetings (emails and papers) are effective  
Council receives the right quantity and length of papers for its meetings  
Council papers are drafted in a style which encourages full engagement of members in the issues under consideration  
Meetings are of the right length  
Meetings are of the right frequency  
The location of meetings is convenient  
Meetings take place at the most convenient time of day  
The structure of meetings and agendas makes optimal use of the Council’s time  
There is a good balance between summary and supporting papers for meetings  
There is a good balance between strategic and statutory items of business in meetings  
Dialogue at meetings is transparent and constructive  
Meetings of the Council are chaired effectively  
5.5 How successful do you feel the various elements of the Council programme are in developing the knowledge of members and encouraging constructive debate?
Very Successful Moderately Successful Unsuccessful Don’t Know  
Council Briefing and Induction  
Strategic Discussion Topic  
Council presentation (the presentation prior to the formal meeting of the Council)  
Council Dinner  
Council Away Day  
Senate and Council Joint Session  

 
6. Council Committees

The Council has a number of specialist standing committees, principal amongst which are the Finance and General Purposes Committee, the Building Committee and the Audit Committee. The detailed work of the Council is mostly carried out through these committees and a range of other Council committees, usually with a mixture of lay, academic and executive membership.

Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know  
The main functions of Council committees are clearly set out  
I am confident that Council authority is appropriately delegated  
I am confident that the risks identified by Council Committees are reflected in the key institutional risks considered by the Council  
I am confident that there is an appropriate flow of information between the Council and its committees  
I am confident that the composition of Council committees is appropriate to meet the future needs of the University  

6.4 For Chairs and Members of Council Committees only
Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Don’t Know  
The main functions of the committee(s) are clearly set out  
I am confident that the delegation arrangements to the committee(s) of which I am a member are clear and appropriate  
I am confident that the committee(s) of which I am a member supports the Council’s responsibilities effectively  
I am confident that the committee(s) of which I am a member receives adequate information to make an assessment of the key risks within its remit  
I am confident that the risks identified by the committee are reflected in the key institutional risks considered by the Council  
I am confident that the composition of the Council committee(s) of which I am a member is appropriate  

 
7. Final Thoughts


This section provides an opportunity to outline your views on a number of key issues.

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You may complete the above questionnaire anonymously or identify yourself by name. Responses to the questionnaire will not be attributed to named individuals without their consent but comments may be published anonymously to facilitate the Council's consideration of the results.
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