Steering Group

An inclusive process

The 2017 edition of the Code was the work of an expert Steering Group, commissioned by the Committee of Scottish Chairs. The Group was chaired by Ian Marchant and its membership includes representation from the major stakeholders in Scottish higher education as well as members with governance expertise from the public, private and third sectors. The terms of its work are reflected in its Terms of Reference.


Ian Marchant

Ian Marchant (Chair)

Ian Marchant was Chief Executive of SSE plc, a leading UK energy utility company, for over 10 years until stepping down in the summer of 2013. Ian is also a former Chairman of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Delivery Group, the immediate past President of Energy Institute and former Chairman of the renewable energy firm, Infinis.

Ian is currently Chairman of the Aberdeen based quoted energy services firm, John Wood Group, non-executive Chairman of the Edinburgh based tidal energy company, Nova Innovation Ltd and Chairman of Maggie’s Cancer Charity. He is also a Non executive director of Aggreko Plc, and through his company, Dunelm Energy, is advisor to Scottish Equity partners and a number of energy related companies including Linknode and Cyberhawk.

He is Chair of the Advisory Board for the Centre of Energy Policy at Strathclyde University, a visiting Professor with the business schools at Edinburgh and Durham universities as well as being a member of the Prince’s Council of the Duchy of Cornwall and the President of the RZSS.

Keir Bloomer

Keir Bloomer is Chair of the Education Committee of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Chair of the Scottish Book Trust, Chair of the Tapestry Partnership (a professional development organisation for teachers) and Chair of the Commission on School Reform.  He was previously Chair of Court at Queen Margaret University. He was Director of Education and later Chief Executive of Clackmannanshire Council, a post from which he retired in May 2007.  Since then he has undertaken a wide range of educational consultancy work for government, local authorities, schools and others.

Lesley Knox

Lesley Knox is Chair of Dundee Design Limited and Grosvenor Group Limited, Deputy Chair of National Galleries Scotland, and a non-executive director of SABMiller plc, Centrica plc, Thomas Cook group plc and Legal and General group plc. She was formerly head of institutional asset management at Kleinwort Benson and Governor of the British Linen Bank.

Helen Martin

Ms Helen Martin

Helen Martin is an Assistant Secretary at the STUC, and her responsibilities include further and higher education, equality and international engagement. Helen is also Secretary to the STUC Black Workers’ Committee and the STUC LGBT Workers’ Committee. Helen was a Commissioner in the Widening Access to Higher Education Commission and currently sits on the advisory council of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Skills Development Scotland’s equality advisory group. Prior to joining the STUC in 2010, Helen worked as a policy officer in the Equality and Human Rights Commission and her background is in race relations having started her career at the Commission for Racial Equality.

Pat Mathewson

Pat was formerly the President of the University of St Andrews’ Students Association. He represents the student interest on behalf of students associations not affiliated to NUS Scotland.

Stuart Munro

Professor Stuart Monro

Stuart Monro, is Scientific Director of the Scottish Consortium for Rural Research and was the founding Scientific Director of Our Dynamic Earth. Stuart graduated in geology at Aberdeen University in 1970 and has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He is presently a member of Court at St Andrews University, previously having been Vice-Convener and a member of Court at the University of Edinburgh and in the past, served on the Council of the Open University. He was the first independent co-chair of the Scottish Science Advisory Council which advises Ministers on science policy. He is an Honorary Professor in the School of Geoscience at the Edinburgh University. He was awarded an OBE for services to science, the Distinguished Service Award of the Geological Society, honorary doctorates from the Open University, Heriot-Watt University and University of Edinburgh and an honorary fellowship from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Emma Philips

Emma represents UNISON and is one of two trades union representatives on the steering group. Further biographical details to follow.

Vonnie Sandlan

Vonnie Sandlan

Vonnie Sandlan is the NUS Scotland President for 2016/17. Vonnie has a keen interest in the role education can play in securing social justice. Working to improve access to education – particularly for those from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds – is a top priority for her.

Vonnie was a member of the Commission on Widening Access and is also an advisor to the board of Who Cares? Scotland, a national voluntary organisation providing advocacy, advice and support services across Scotland for children and young people with experience of care.

Before becoming NUS Scotland President, Vonnie served as NUS Scotland Women’s Officer in 2014/15. She studied an HNC in Early Education & Childcare at Langside College and served as President of Langside College Students’ Association before moving to the University of the West of Scotland to study BA Childhood Studies.

Ann Smyth

Ann Smyth

As a clinical psychologist Ann Smyth led a research group exploring, in international collaboration, quality of life issues for cancer patients. She was a member of the Board of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment for Cancer. Subsequently, as a Director within the then newly created Special Health Board, NHS Education for Scotland, she was involved in work with the HE sector across Scotland to deliver education and training for the changing needs of the NHS workforce. Thereafter she was elected to serve as a General Council Assessor on the Court of the University of Edinburgh. Over 8years of service her engagement included working groups addressing governance issues.


Tony Strachan

Tony Strachan

Tony Strachan holds an MBA from the Open University Business School and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.  In 2003, towards the end of a 35 year career with the Bank of England he became the representative or ‘Agent’ of the Bank in Scotland. He retired in 2010 and is now Deputy Chair of Heriot Watt University and on the Board of Aberdeen Harbour.  From 1998 to 2003 he was a Governor of Manchester Metropolitan University and served on the Court of the University of Salford.  Over the course of this career he has been active on a number of Boards and representative bodies.


Independent consultants for Phase 1 of the review

The Leadership for Higher Education has been appointed to assist the Steering Group with its work to develop the new Code and to ensure that discussions and consultations with students, staff and other interested stakeholders can take place at all 19 institutions across Scotland. The Leadership Foundation is ideally placed to support this project given its expertise in delivering governor development and strategic sessions for governing bodies within higher education.

John Lauwerys, Associate Consultant, LFHE

Until retiring from full time work John was Secretary and Registrar of the University of Southampton and previously held the same titled post at Royal Holloway University of London. Earlier in his career he held posts at Goldsmiths College, Imperial College and the London School of Economics. His role over twenty years at his last two universities was to lead the unitary professional services function and to ensure sound governance as secretary to the governing body.  Since retiring from full time work John has undertaken consultancy with more than twenty five universities of all kinds in the UK and Ireland. His assignments have included projects to improve service delivery and ways of achieving savings and more cost effective provision. Governance effectiveness has been the major part of his work and he has acted as external adviser for effectiveness reviews at sixteen universities including Nottingham, Sheffield, Anglia Ruskin, Warwick, West London, Chichester and Exeter. John was a member of the team that produced the draft of the new CUC Higher Education Code of Governance. He has also contributed to governor training sessions most frequently through the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.  In the last three years John has undertaken Court effectiveness reviews at four Scottish Universities, Abertay, Glasgow, Dundee and most recently Queen Margaret University. He also acted as the link person between CUC Scotland and the team developing the new CUC code. John is leading the direct consultation with the institutional stakeholders and preparation of the written outputs.

Aaron Porter

Aaron Porter, Associate Director (Governance), LFHE

Aaron is the Associate Director (Governance) for the Leadership Foundation and has held the role since January 2014, part of a portfolio of activity across the higher education sector. He has served on a number of boards in UK higher education including HEFCE, UCAS, the Higher Education Academy, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator and on the council of the University of Leicester. He was previously President of the National Union of Students in 2010-11, co-chaired with Professor Janet Beer (then Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University) the Beer-Porter group on Student Charters which reported to the then Universities Minister Rt Hon David Willetts, was a member of the HEFCE Online Learning Task Force, the Burgess Steering Group and the review of External Examiners chaired by Dame Janet Finch. Aaron leads the national Governor Development Programme across the UK which has engaged with over 550 governors during the last academic year, and has also led and supported a number of governance reviews for UK universities. Aaron is leading the work of the team and in particular undertaking the consultation with national stakeholders including trade union and student representatives.

Helen Baird

Ms Helen Baird, Managing Consultant, LFHE

Helen Baird is a Managing Consultant within the Leadership Foundation’s strategic consultancy team. She is a highly experienced management consultant and researcher who has delivered numerous successful strategic and organisational change management projects and studies over the past 18 years, the majority in the past ten years in the higher education sector. As well as working with a broad range of different types of higher education providers across multiple functions and at all levels, Helen has also provided consultancy to most of the sector’s key bodies and agencies. Her work focusses predominantly on: reviewing and helping shape organisations’ future direction; and researching and evaluating the impact of changes in government policy at sectoral and institutional level. Helen’s work has contributed to national policy development and her recommendations and advice have helped secure strategic change required at all levels for many organisations. Helen is project managing the work for the Review, managing the survey and open consultation, and collating and analysing all the evidence gathered.