You are here

  1. Home
  2. Governance
  3. Government structure

Government structure

The Council

The University’s executive governing body is the Council, which is the body corporate, the owner of the assets of the institution and the employer.

Subject to the powers of the Senate, the Council exercises general control over the affairs of the University and is responsible for strategic planning, monitoring effectiveness and performance, finance, audit, estate management and human resource management.

The Council has a membership of 23.  The majority (13) are external non-executive members, of whom the chair, the Pro-Chancellor, is one.  There is also one executive member, the Vice-Chancellor, five members of the Senate one of whom shall be an associate lecturer appointed by the Senate, the President of the Open University Students Association and one other student, one associate lecturer and one member of the non-academic staff.  The Council meets four times a year, November, March, May and July.

The Council Constitution (pdf 353kb) provides full details of its membership, terms of reference, mode of operation and schedule of delegation.  Brief biographies for the individual members of the Council can be found on the Council Members page.

The Office for Students requires members of the Council, co-opted members of Council committees and senior members of the University to declare the names of any charities of which they are also a trustee.  The register includes all interests, including any charities that members are associated with.

Council Members

Register of Interests and Trusteeships (pdf 154kb)

The Council - Standing Order 7 (pdf 117kb)

Council Minutes

2024 Council meetings:

C-2024-01-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 5 March 2024 (Pdf kb)

C-2024-02-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 14 May 2024 (Pdf kb)

C-2024-03-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 9 July 2024 (Pdf kb)

C-2024-04-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 19 November 2024 (Pdf kb)

2023 Council meetings:

C-2023-01-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 7 March 2023 (Pdf 149kb)

C-2023-02-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 9 May 2023 (Pdf 158kb)

C-2023-03-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 11 July 2023 (Pdf 185kb)

C-2023-04-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held via correspondence between 24 August and 7 September 2023 (Pdf 116kb)

C-2023-05-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 26 September 2023 (Pdf 111kb)

C-2023-06-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 21 November 2023 (Pdf kb)

2022 Council meetings:

C-2022-01-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 1 March 2022 (Pdf 150kb)

C-2022-02-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 10 May 2022 (Pdf 147kb)

C-2022-03-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held between 3 to 6 May 2022 (Pdf 83kb)

C-2022-04-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 5 July 2022 (Pdf 146kb)

C-2022-05-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held between 6 to 14 September 2022 (Pdf 84kb)

C-2022-06-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 27 September 2022 (Pdf 96kb)

C-2022-08-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 22 November 2022 (Pdf 169kb)

2021 Council meetings:

C-2021-01-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 23 February 2021 (Pdf 162kb)

C-2021-02-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 11 March 2021 (Pdf 106kb)

C-2021-03-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 11 May 2021 (Pdf 183kb)

C-2021-04-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 13 July 2021 (Pdf 188kb)

C-2021-05-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 28 September 2021 (Pdf 100kb)

C-2021-06-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 23 November 2021 (Pdf 158kb)

2020 Council meetings:

C-2020-01-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 3 February 2020 (Pdf 38kb)

C-2020-02-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 10 March 2020 (Pdf 182kb)

C-2020-03-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 16 April 2020 (Pdf 140kb)

C-2020-04-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 12 May 2020 (Pdf 225kb)

C-2020-05-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 14 July 2020 (Pdf 202kb)

C-2020-06-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 28 August 2020 (Pdf 134kb)

C-2020-07-M - Minutes from meeting of Council held on 24 November 2020 (Pdf 194kb)

The Council Committees

Much of the detailed business of the Council is conducted through its specialist committees, which advise the Council on:

The Strategic Planning and Resources Committee (SPRC) (pdf 109kb) is a joint committee of the Council and the Senate, and reports to both as appropriate.

These are shown in the OU Governance Structure Chart (pdf 112kb).

Governance Effectiveness Reviews

The effectiveness of the University’s governance structures and arrangements are kept under regular review.  This review has a two-pronged approach:

An annual effectiveness review (AER) appraises business and decision-making against the terms of reference for all University committees providing opportunity to consider and implement changes when required, and between major governance reviews.  A more detailed (major) review of effectiveness and performance benchmarked against guidance set out in external Codes of Governance, regulatory requirements and good practice elsewhere in the higher education sector is intended to take place every five years.

Council Governance Reviews

The fourth major review of the Council and its committees took place in 2015/16

Information on the actions taken to respond to the 2009/10 Review is below.