Home / Roles / Governing Council Member | University of Derby

Governing Council Member University of Derby

University of Derby, Higher education recruitment by Peridot Partners

The University of Derby is seeking an experienced senior strategic leader of major capital projects and commercial property development to join the Governing Council. You will provide high-level insight, support and challenge that will help steer the University to achieve its ambitious strategic goals and contribute to the success and future potential of students.

  • Location: Derbyshire
  • Salary: Unremunerated, with reasonable expenses paid

Who we are

The University of Derby is working towards its 2018-2030 Strategic Framework, focused on achieving its core objective of delivering an applied university of today and for tomorrow.

We will aim to empower people across the globe to achieve their potential and make a positive contribution to society, by delivering excellence and opportunities for all. This is underpinned by our core principles:

  • Creating the right experience.
  • Working effectively.
  • Celebrating our impact.

What we do and how we do it through to 2030 will be shaped by our principles, against which all strategic and tactical decisions will be made to ensure Derby is best placed to succeed for its students, staff, and region. This success will be achieved by:

  • Moulding the next generation of game-changers.
  • Being a force for positive impact.
  • Opening doors for everyone.

The University has begun building a new £80m city-based Business School as the first phase in our ambitious City Masterplan that will transform the University’s estate — and we have an exciting opportunity for a senior leader of major capital projects and commercial property development to join the Governing Council. This is an opportunity to offer your professional expertise and apply scrutiny and support that will help steer this ambitious strategy and will contribute to the University’s continued success and impact on the communities we serve.


About the role

Appointments to Governing Council (the Board) and Committees

The University’s Governing Council is the governing body of the University and the board of directors of the company. Membership comprises of a majority of independent governors (lay members) alongside representatives from the University’s staff and student body. The Governing Council undertakes its duties through the work of its sub-committees, which are:

  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee
  • Skills Governance Committee
  • Nominations Committee
  • Remuneration Committee
  • Student Affairs Committee

Governing Council Member

Council Members are appointed for an initial term of up to three years and will need to commit 12 to 20 days per year for council and sub-committee meetings. New Members are provided with a full induction programme that will include mandatory governor training.

There are six full Council meetings throughout the year, inclusive of a Council strategy day. Preparation time will be required before meetings to read through board papers and to organise thoughts and contributions to debate. All members are expected to engage fully with the debate and contribute their expertise and knowledge as required to enable the work of the Governing Council and its committees.


University of Derby Undergraduate Prospectus 19 First Key Visual Shoot / Campaign

You will be invited to attend networking events and University graduation ceremonies, and we love to see as many of our governors as possible at University events and celebrations.

Governing Council Membership is unremunerated, but all members of the Governing Council can claim reasonable travel and other expenses incurred whilst undertaking governor duties.

In return for your commitment and contribution, you will benefit from being part of a successful and ambitious University seeking to maximise opportunities for its graduates.

You will also have the opportunity to build professional networks, collaborate with other governors and further build your non-executive profile and impact.

Who we are looking for

The University of Derby is seeking candidates with a passion for contributing to the development of educational opportunities, the senior leadership experience and insight to steer the University through to its future goals, and the commitment to contribute to the success and future potential of its students.

For this role, the University is seeking to recruit an independent governor with recent and relevant experience in commercial property and estates management and major capital project work at a senior level.

Individuals should bring the relevant experience, credentials and interests required to support the University’s direction of travel and to help it realise its institutional ambitions.

University of Derby Awards Ceremony November 2016.

We expect candidates to demonstrate a personal interest and commitment to higher and further education and to the aims, ethos and mission of the University of Derby. A strong and clear commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is essential to this role.

We are seeking candidates who can demonstrate senior level experience of overseeing major capital developments, project management of complex building refurbishments, or building surveying experience and an appreciation of corporate governance and management of risk. We are interested to hear from those who bring this level of experience from a commercial or private setting, have experience of major capital projects in the higher education sector, or have led on large national infrastructure projects. Senior level experience of developing fit-for-purpose net zero strategies in a commercial setting would be incredibly useful.

In addition, candidates must demonstrate an understanding of the standards expected of appointments to public office and experience of either membership of or reporting to a non-executive board would be useful. You will have a proven professional track record, excellent communication skills and the commitment to be a strong ambassador and advocate for the University. The ability to absorb information, distil detail and frame constructive lines of inquiry will be required. You will be skilled in challenging effectively at executive level but also able to offer insight and support.

You must have the ability to contribute to strategic thinking, bring an understanding of compliance challenges within a regulatory environment and be adept at working in a non-executive role, taking the pulse without being hands-on.

Candidates must be able to commit their time and expertise as required to fulfil the duties of a Governing Council Member and take every opportunity to be an active part of the University’s community. As the University’s Estates Strategy is overseen by the Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee, the appointed Council Member will be invited to join this sub-committee. You will find a schedule of the Council and Committee meetings available in the ‘About the Organisation’ section and you can review further information about the Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee via the University’s website.

As part of the University’s and Peridot’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, we are particularly interested to hear from applicants from under-represented groups. You can find further information about our commitment and the support available to candidates via the ‘Accessibility’ and ‘How to Apply’ sections.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528307


If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dr Sophie Carney

View profile

Welcome from the Chair of Governing Council

The University of Derby is an award-winning, ambitious, innovative and modern university. It offers industry-relevant, expert teaching from foundation and undergraduate degrees to postgraduate study and research. It values people and is future-focused. It is bold and fosters brilliance. Its culture is one in which diverse skills and experiences are valued. The University is open-minded, with individuals given the space and support to develop and grow.

At Derby, academic expertise, world-leading research and innovation is used to foster talent, support skills development, and promote links with businesses regionally, nationally and globally.

Winner of the UK Social Mobility Award 2020, in the top 20 in the UK for overall student satisfaction and recognised by the Guardian University Guide 2023 as one of the top 50 universities in the UK, Derby’s reputation for delivering excellence in research, knowledge exchange, teaching and practical experience continues to grow.

With more than 3,000 staff and around 21,500 students, and 5,500 in partner institutions, the University fulfils many important roles with a wide number of stakeholders. First and foremost, we deliver a great learning experience for our students, equipping them with the key skills and knowledge to help them achieve their life ambitions.

More than £200 million has been invested in the last ten years and the University offers superb facilities including a Nuclear Skills Academy, created in partnership with Rolls-Royce Submarines, STEM Centre, Forensic Training Facility and NHS-standard hospital ward.

We work extremely closely with industry, including Toyota, Alstom, and the NHS, across a range of initiatives and partnerships and play an important anchor role within Derby and Derbyshire. Our activities stretch beyond just the local however, with many exciting developments regionally, nationally, and globally promoting high value learning.

The University has recently launched an ambitious City Masterplan to transform its estate in Derby, beginning with a new city-based Business School. The University has an ongoing commitment and contribution to the inclusive and regenerative growth of Derby city and its surrounding area, encouraging enterprise and innovation collaboration with businesses and expert academics. This commitment is further enhanced through the University’s Civic University Agreement, which launched in 2022 and clearly articulates our ambition to drive forward key civic agendas including levelling-up, sustainability and arts and culture.

The role

The Governing Council plays a key role in supporting and challenging in equal measure a highly capable senior team to deliver the University’s strategic plan – a comprehensive current and future framework covering academic quality, research output, financial sustainability, estates, planning, risk management, student recruitment, business development and international partnerships.

The University’s Governors have a varied range of skills and experience, and they seek to complement the current membership with an independent governor who has recent and relevant experience in commercial property and estates management and major capital project work at a senior level, who can contribute their expertise to the University’s ambitious plans.

Being a member of Governing Council is an immensely rewarding experience, allowing the opportunity to be part of a team that demonstrates drive, determination and passion for the University.

Please take time to read through the information about the University and the roles of Governor and if you feel this could be for you, we would be delighted to receive your application.

Gurpreet Dehal
Chair of Governing Council

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528307

About the University of Derby

The University of Derby is a modern, innovative education provider that achieved its University status in 1992. Teaching at the Derby site actually dates back to 1851, when it was a Diocesan Institution for training teachers — so we have over 160 years of expertise in education. We have since become a University of first choice for students who want a supportive, aspirational environment where they can equip themselves for the career they choose. Our significant investment in world-class facilities is building on our reputation for student-focused, real-world learning in an increasingly competitive sector. Located in the heart of England, we build on our region’s heritage of innovation to provide industry-relevant, expert teaching at all levels.

Our combined higher and further education offering is spread over campuses in Derby, Buxton, Leek, and Chesterfield and we have some of the best university facilities in the UK.

During the last ten years, we have invested over £200 million in facilities designed to give students the very best possible learning environment. We have more investment planned and continue to develop teaching to be innovative, stimulating and engaging.

University of Derby Graduation 2014

Recent investments include:

  • £12 million STEM Centre including facilities for mechanical testing, robotics, and an anechoic chamber.
  • State-of-the-art £10.8 million Sports Centre.
  • Immersive Interactive Simulation Suite, the only one of its kind in a University outside London.
    • Forensic Training Facility with a dedicated crime scene house
    • Fashion industry facility at Chandos Pole Street
    • Industry-standard Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab

We achieve outstanding results for our teaching and research and with around 27,000 people choosing to study with us every year, we depend on the dedication of a team of 3,000 academic, professional, and support services staff.

We want everyone to receive the high-quality education they deserve, regardless of age, background or location. We were named University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020 and Higher Education Institution of the Year at the 2020 NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) Awards. And we have won the Guardian University Award 2020 for Social and Community Impact.

Challenging, interesting and constantly changing, the University of Derby is an exceptional place to learn and an incredibly rewarding place to work.


Learn more about us

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528307

Accessibility information

Every aspect of our university is committed to promoting equality and diversity through inclusion. We understand that in order to thrive at work, inclusion engenders a sense of belonging and we recognise that wholeness at work is key to engagement and high performance. We encourage and enable our staff to celebrate the richness of their diversity, participating in staff networks, contributing to awareness raising and role modelling practices and behaviours consistent with our values. Throughout the year, we hold multiple events that champion equality, diversity and inclusion — such as International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Disability History Month and LGBT History Month.

We provide staff with a blended approach to staff development, offering a wealth of online and face-to-face resources, which are thought-provoking and challenging to ensure that staff understand their responsibilities towards equality, diversity and inclusion. Working at the University is exciting and together, we will continually strive to make the University the most inclusive place it can be.

Some examples of our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted

The University of Derby is a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Accessible Scheme, holds a bronze Athena SWAN Charter award, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion, and won University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards 2020.

See the following links for further information about the University of Derby’s commitment to encouraging diversity and championing inclusion:

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528307

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Role Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “University of Derby – Governing Council Member (Estates)” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Dr Sophie Carney | sophie@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07399 528307

    Keaton Sharpe | keaton@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07498 071857

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.

    To comply with the Office for Students regulations on governance, the University of Derby is required to ensure each Governing Council Member has completed a satisfactory Fit and Proper Person Questionnaire. Appointments will also be subject to receipt of two satisfactory references and approval by the Governing Council.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 9th October 2023
    Candidates informed of outcome: Tuesday 17th October 2023
    Interviews: Monday 23rd October 2023

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and the University of Derby are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

    Data Processing, Protection and Privacy Policy

    By completing the form to view, or if you have access to this page from an email invitation, Peridot Partners will have processed your personal information. For more information about Peridot Partners’ data processing activities and your rights, please read our Privacy Policy.

    You might also be interested in: