Updated Friday 7 October 2022

We would like to update you following an independent review of Imperial’s Council, which is its governing body.  

The concluding report finds Imperial’s governance fundamentally sound and makes 18 Recommendations and 8 Suggestions for improvement. We accept all of these in principle and will move swiftly to implement them.    

The full report suggested that we make changes to the composition of Council to capture a wider range of views and experiences from within our Imperial community. We concur that Imperial’s Council must reflect and serve our whole community and we are committed to improving its diversity.      

With this commitment to diversity at the heart of our considerations, we intend to make the following changes to the composition of Council.   

  • Increase academic staff membership to two, one of whom will be an early career academic.    
  • Introduce two additional Council members drawn from our professional, technical and operations staff.    
  • Increase student membership to two, one of whom should be a postgraduate.

We will retain as members the Deans and Chief Financial Officer, who provide important academic and operational insight and contributions from across the university.   

The report makes clear that many of those consulted wished to discuss how the Council managed disclosures of bullying from 2020 and recommends that Council holds a workshop to clear the air, learn lessons and move on. We will arrange for this workshop to be independently facilitated and held before the next meeting of Council on 2 December. 

Bullying and harassment are unacceptable and must not be tolerated anywhere within our community. We have strong systems in place to enable this for both our student and staff communities, and the workshop should support those. We will never be complacent and we will continue to listen to our community on this important issue. 

The review, which was carried out as part of a regular process under the Committee of University Chairs Code, looked at the effectiveness of Imperial’s Council and took place between June and September this year. It involved consultation with all parts of the Imperial community including through a survey open to staff and discussions with campus trade unions, the students’ union, the Consuls and the Imperial Together Action Group. It was conducted by Halpin Partnership, a consultancy specialising in the higher education sector.     

The Recommendations offered in this report are wide-ranging and the matters it raises are important. Implementing them successfully will require careful consideration.  

We will keep you updated on our implementation plans.