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 universities 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 expert witness. 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 works extensively with universities, as a visiting professor at Oxford and Bristol, as chair of the Executive Board of the Framework 7 Integrated Project Deploy, and as a member of advisory committees at Bath and City. He is a member of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council of the Ministry of Defence, Chair of the IT Policy Panel for the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. 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 AHUA
Appointed July 2009. Steve is Pro-Director, Strategy and Organisation at the Institute of Education, University of London. Steve graduated in Law from Lancaster University in 1986 following which he spent a further year as a sabbatical officer at the students’ union. In 1997, he became University Secretary and Clerk to the Board at Thames Valley University. In May 2001, Steve became University Secretary and Clerk to the Board at Leeds Metropolitan University, and then in 2004, Registrar and Secretary of the University. He was made a Pro-Vice-Chancellor in November 2005. Steve is Honorary Treasurer of AHUA and a former member of the board of trustees of the AUA.
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 the National Union of Students
Professor Michael Thorne
Nominated by Universities UK
Appointed August 2007. Michael has been Vice-Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University since the start of 2007. For the previous 5 years he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London. Prior to that he held appointments at University College London, Cardiff University, Sunderland University and Napier University. Most of his academic output has been in mathematics and computer science but most recently he has contributed to the education policy debate internationally. He currently chairs the government's Advisory Council on Libraries, is a Parliamentary Skills Commissioner and is a member of the Board of the Learning and Skills Network. His passion for music has seen him conduct all of Wagner's major operas in the last 7 years.
Dr Chris Turner
Nominated by Higher Education Wales
Appointed July 2009 and previously an alternate Director for AHUA. Chris is a career University Manager and is currently Director of Registry, Governance and Students at Cardiff University. He is Chair of the Welsh Secretaries Group and is also a non-executive Director of Cwm Taf NHS Trust.
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.
Alternate Director for 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.
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 UUK
Professor John Raftery has been a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University since 2005. His academic and consultancy work has encompassed risk analysis, cartels and restrictive practices and ‘quasi-rational’ economic behaviour. He has worked in Hong Kong, Scandinavia and the UK. Currently responsible for the student experience at Oxford Brookes, he is Chair of the Board of Abingdon and Witney College of Further Education in Oxfordshire.
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.