The Board of Directors has 15 members. Nine, including the Chair, are Independent Directors appointed by fair and open competition and because of the value and relevance of their skills and experience. Six are Nominated Directors who represent the major representative bodies in higher education in England and Wales. The representative bodies may also appoint Alternate Directors, to attend Board meetings if their Nominated Director is not available. Directors are normally appointed for terms of office of three years, which are renewable.
The Board's responsibilities include: oversight of the performance and effectiveness of the Independent Adjudicator and the Scheme; setting the budget for the OIA and determining the level of subscriptions payable by providers each year; approving the rules and procedures for the operation of the Scheme and preserving the independence of the Scheme.
Board members are independent from the Office and are not involved in the review of individual complaints.
Chair of the Board
Ram Gidoomal CBE
Appointed as the new Chair of the OIA from July 2009. Ram Gidoomal has previously been the Chair of the Employability Forum, helping refugees into employment, and a member of the UK Border Agency Complaints Audit Committee. He also chaired the Anti-Discrimination subgroup of the Better Regulation Task Force and has had Non-Executive roles at Imperial College London and St George's University of London. He was appointed in a national recruitment campaign under rules of fair and open competition. He follows Professor Norman Gowar who served as Chair for two terms since the OIA's inception.
Gillian Fleming works independently in dispute resolution and professional regulation. She has extensive experience of deciding complaints in the public and private sectors. Gillian has been part of an Executive Team and was a Non Executive Director of a Foundation Trust Hospital. She is an accredited mediator and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Peter is the owner of Employability Works, providing board level support on HR matters to small businesses. He is associate director for employability at the Council for Industry and Higher Education. Previously he was Group Resourcing Manager of Fujitsu/ICL and board member of the Association of Graduate Recruiters.
Carey is a consultant and trainer specialising in mediation, conflict resolution and equality and diversity issues. She is an independent mediator. She provides training for Leap Confronting Conflict and Actuate Learning and Development; she is a visiting lecturer at London Metropolitan University and will be a course tutor on the first Youth and Conflict Foundation Degree and Leeds Metropolitan University in 2011. She was previously Chair of Mediation UK.
Appointed December 2012, Erica has joined the Board of Independent Directors. As well as being a current PhD student at Lancaster University Management School, Erica brings the experience of long standing involvement in the higher Education sector at international level: She graduated at the Australian National University in 2007 and completed a Master at Harvard University in 2009. Erica has also a wide range of experience in non-profit governance as well as serving in an advocate role for a student organisation and working as an investigator of international student complaints at the Australian Government Department of Education.
Appointed in July 2014, Andy Mack is a Director with Grant Thornton UK LLP, and a member of Grant Thornton's Public Sector Assurance leadership team. Andy is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. Andy is also a visiting lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he lectures in Audit and Assurance.
Dr Andrew Purkis OBE
Dr Andrew Purkis was a "fast stream" civil servant at the Northern Ireland Office before beginning a long career in the charity sector. He has been Assistant Director of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Chief Executive of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and of The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and a special adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury. More recently he has worked on health partnerships with the developing world. He has been Chair of four national charities and a Board Member of the Charity Commission for England and Wales. He is currently Chair of ActionAid, and an Independent Member of the Parole Board.
Dr Martyn Thomas CBE
Appointed December 2010. Martyn is a consultant software engineer and non-executive director. He was a founder of the software company Praxis and a partner in Deloitte & Touche before setting up his current company, Martyn Thomas Associates in 1997. He is a visiting professor at Oxford, Bristol, and Aberystwyth. He is a member of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council of the Ministry of Defence, Non-executive director of the Health and Safety Executive, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, where he chairs the External Affairs Committee. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Hull, Edinburgh and City universities and a CBE for services to software engineering.
Claire is a barrister at Blackstone Chambers where she specialises in judicial review, human rights and employment law. She is a member of the Attorney-General’s Panel of counsel. She volunteers as a community mediator with Lambeth Mediation Service, and is a primary school governor.
Nominated by CUC
Geoff Donnelly is currently the Chair of Oxford Brookes University where he has been a board member since 2003. Other appointments in the HE sector include being a board member of the University of Cumbria since 2010 and also a board member of the Higher Education Academy since 2009.
He has also had board appointments within a number of NHS organisations and he is a director of Diagnostic Healthcare Limited which is a private sector supplier to the NHS.
Prior to these appointments he held a range of executive appointments in the private sector in manufacturing, management consultancy and retail.
Nominated by GuildHE
Geoffrey is Professor of Lifelong Learning and Director of Strategic Partnerships at the University of Worcester. He chairs the University Research Degrees Board and is an active researcher specialising in lifelong learning and educational leadership. He is Chair of the UK Further Education Research Association, and has been Editor in Chief of the international peer refereed journal Research in Post-Compulsory Education since its launch in 1995.
Geoffrey is an accredited mediator and has been closely involved in community and educational projects in London and the West Midlands over the last 40 years.
Nominated by AHUA
Mark Humphriss is University Secretary at the University of Bath. He is convenor of the southern region of the Association of Heads of University Administration and a member of its Executive. Prior to joining the University of Bath in 2007, he worked for 17 years for the Church of England in a variety of roles.
Nominated by the National Union of Students
Sorana Vieru is the Vice President (Higher Education) of NUS. She was previously the Postgraduate Education Sabbatical Officer at the University of Bristol Students’ Union. She is halfway through a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Bristol where she also graduated from an MA in Philosophy & History of Science and also holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Birmingham.
Nominated by Universities Wales
William has worked in universities since 1990, starting in London and moving to Goldsmiths and then Brunel. He was Deputy Registrar at Hertfordshire for 6 years before returning ‘home’ to Wales in 2005 to be Academic Registrar at what is now Cardiff Met. In 2007 William joined Glamorgan; subsequently and following merger he is now & Executive Director, Governance, Legal & Assurance and University Secretary at the University of South Wales.
Alternate Director for the National Union of Students
Appointed in June 2014, Bethan is the Senior Higher Education Officer at the National Union of Students. She works closely with students’ unions on a range of policy areas including students’ union advice. Previous to joining NUS Bethan worked in local students’ unions with course reps, education policy development and as an academic adviser for students.
Alternate Director for AHUA
Dave has had twenty years’ experience in the university sector, which comes as some surprise because after he left school he joined the army. His first experience of university management was as President of the Students’ Union at the University of Reading. He subsequently served ten years at the University of Warwick; his last posting was as Director of Research and Development Services. In 2001 he joined the University of Birmingham as Academic Registrar, responsible for marketing, the student experience and corporate planning. He joined Leicester as Registrar and Secretary in 2006. He is responsible for leading the professional services of the institution, is secretary to the governing body and a member of the Executive. He has travelled extensively on behalf of the university including Beirut, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kurdistan.
Alternate Director for Universities UK
Before joining London Metropolitan University as the Vice-Chancellor in August 2014, John served as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at Oxford Brookes University. Working closely with students, he internationalized the whole undergraduate portfolio and radically changed the approach to quality enhancement leading to significant improvements in student experience and the league table position of the University. John has a background in management consultancy, having worked on assignments on risk in major public infrastructure projects and on cartels and restrictive practices in Hong Kong, Scandinavia and the UK. Professor Raftery was a member of Kofi Annan's Global Humanitarian Forum and served as an advisor to the UK-India and UK-India-US Research Initiatives. He has been a board member of several bodies including, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, the Open University, National Role Advisory Board and the Council of Ruskin College Oxford.
Alternate Director for GuildHE
Jon Renyard is University Secretary / Director for Student Experience at the Arts University Bournemouth. A graduate of the University of Reading, Jon has particular experience and expertise in quality management. He was Chair of the Quality Strategy Network from 2007-2013, and also chairs the GuildHE Quality Management Group. Jon became University Secretary at the Arts University Bournemouth in July 2014.
Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary
Ben joined the OIA as its first Chief Operating Officer in September 2008. He combines the role with that of Company Secretary. Ben is a member of the Management Team with key responsibility for finance and human resources management. Before joining the OIA Ben spent 15 years working with students, for the last 10 years as Chief Executive of Reading University Students' Union, and before that at the Students' Unions at Winchester, King's College London and South Bank Universities and as National Secretary of NUS.