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We are responsible for developing and ensuring compliance with the governance framework of the University by supporting and advising a range of bodies and subcommittees and providing a general corporate and academic governance advisory service to the University.

Key responsibilities

Our key responsibilities are:

  • advising on the interpretation, application and review of the Charter, Statutes, Ordinances and relevant Regulations of the University which are our governing instruments as a chartered corporation and exempt charity
  • providing advice and guidance on exemplary stewardship through the University's key governance bodies
  • acting as secretariat to UEB, Council (and its core corporate subcommittees), and Senate, and providing advice, guidance and framework for consistency for colleagues outside the team supporting other Council and Senate subcommittees
  • Council members' individual and collective induction, development and evaluation; membership management, election, nomination and rotation
  • working with colleagues to support an Ethics Governance Framework (beyond that related to the University's research activities) as well as wider corporate governance-related policies for proper and responsible business conduct
  • horizon scanning in relation to national governance and related regulatory policy, including the Committee of University Chairs (CUC), and as a key focal point for the Office for Students
  • supporting a developing non-academic assurance agenda for the University, in conjunction with other professional support departments.

Contact us

The Governance and Assurance Office
H/B15, Heslington Hall

I joined the University of York in September 2022, as Deputy Head of Faculty Operations. In that role I oversee the work of professional support services, across the Departments of English and Related Literature, History, and History of Art, and I also support the Centre for Medieval Studies. In January 2024, I was seconded into the part time (0.4) role of Interim University Secretary, taking on specific aspects of the wider University Secretary role. 

I have worked with or in higher education since 2015. This has included senior roles in partnership and external relations, marketing and communications, student and professional services, and governance. Before that I worked briefly in the NHS and for much of my career in local government, with a focus on services for children and young people. 

I enjoy the breadth of issues, people and expertise that a higher education career has introduced me to, and the chance to serve in a sector that shapes and enhances the life chances of people from all over the world. 

Away from work, I coach a junior football team and enjoy live music and theatre.

Main responsibilities (See University Secretary Key Responsibilities (PDF , 59kb) for more information):

  • All aspects of oversight and support to the university's Council, including close working with the Chair and internal and external Council members
  • Oversight and input across key Council sub-committees
  • Coordination of consultation responses, and wider links with the Office for Students.

A picture of Dr Richard Harrison in the garden during summer

I joined the University of York in November 2022, to take up the role of Deputy Secretary.  I work across the Governance and Assurance Office’s activities.

I have worked in UK higher education administration, management and leadership for over 20 years, supporting the development and implementation of institutional strategy, policy and process including extensive experience of supporting the education provided by the universities at which I have worked.  I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and was also awarded Fellowship of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.  Additionally I am a reviewer for the Quality Assurance Agency, and serve on the board of governors of a further education college.

Key current responsibilities:

  • Head of Prevent Duty Operations
  • Line manager of the Governance and Assurance team.

Dr Philip Evans

+44 (0)1904 326424

I joined the University in September 1998 and in the intervening 25 years have served six Vice-Chancellors (if you count interims!) and five Registrars/COOs. After being initially located in the Academic Support Office, I then reported directly to the Registrar and Secretary for several years before being re-assigned to the Planning Office and more recently to the Governance and Assurance team (part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office).

Throughout this period I have provided support to the University's key governing bodies and to a wide range of subcommittees and working groups covering most areas of University activity.

Key current responsibilities:

  • Secretary to Audit and Risk Committee
  • Secretary to Workplace Health and Safety Committee
  • Support governing body/committee effectiveness reviews
  • Lead on University-wide elections to Senate and Council

+44 (0)1904326544

I joined the University of York in December 2000, working in the Academic Support Office initially in support of teaching quality assurance, and latterly as a member of the learning enhancement team. In 2013, I moved across to the Research Strategy and Policy Office, where I led on research integrity, governance and funder compliance, before joining the Governance and Assurance Office in November 2019.

Key responsibilities:

  • Servicing key corporate committees of Council: Finance Committee, Constitution and Nominations Committee and Remuneration Committee
  • Advising on aspects of the corporate and academic governance framework of the University, including the Scheme of Delegated Approvals
  • Advising on policy and assurance matters linked to the work of the Governance and Assurance team, with particular reference to the declaration of interests/gifts and hospitality, and transparency and openness in the conduct of committee business 
  • Training and development activities linked to the above.

+44 (0)1904 322080

I joined the University of York in May 2007 as the PA to the Vice-Chancellor before moving to become the Vice-Chancellor’s Department Administrator in 2014. In Spring 2020, I became a member of the GAO.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Providing assistant secretariat and specialist support for University Executive Board, including FOI enquiries
  • Supporting the development of guidance and training for internal staff acting as committee or working group secretaries.
  • Lead and manager of BoardEffect – the University’s governance electronic system
  • Supporting the University Secretary in his work in the regulatory environment specifically in relation to the University’s registered provider status with the Office for Students (OfS)
  • Managing the annual University calendar of meetings process.

For Council related matters:

For Senate related matters:

+44 (0)1904 324439

I joined the University in February 2020, working as the PA for the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Dean of the York Graduate Research School. After completing a short TRA in the Vice-Chancellor’s department, I undertook a two-year secondment as a project officer in the York Graduate Research School. Upon completion of that, my current administrative role is now split between the Governance and Assurance office and the York Graduate Research School. 

Key responsibilities in the Governance & Assurance office: 

  • Providing administrative support to Senate 
  • Providing administrative support and specialist advice to Council 
  • General duties relating to the above two committees (eg maintenance of committee web pages) 
  • Support in wider departmental matters (eg assisting with the management of the university calendar of meetings process)

We work with Legal Services on a range of legal and contract advisory work.

Find out more about the Legal Services Team

Bodies and Committees we support

We are part of the VC's Office and work with colleagues across the University. We support the following committees 

Find out more

Contact us

The Governance and Assurance Office
H/B15, Heslington Hall