Our Board has 15 members. Nine, including the Chair, are Independent Directors/Trustees appointed through fair and open competition in line with the Nolan Principles because of the value and relevance of their skills and experience. Six are Nominated Directors/Trustees appointed by representative bodies in higher education in England and Wales (Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA); Committee of University Chairs; GuildHE; Higher Education Wales; National Union of Students (NUS) and Universities UK (UUK)). These bodies may also appoint Alternate Directors/Trustees, to attend Board meetings if their Nominated Director/Trustee is not available.
Board members are normally appointed for terms of office of three years, which are renewable. No member can serve for longer than nine consecutive years.
The Board's responsibilities include:
- oversight of the performance and effectiveness of the Independent Adjudicator, the Chief Executive and the Scheme;
- setting the budget and determining the level of subscriptions payable each year by members of the Scheme;
- approving the Scheme Rules;
- preserving the independence of the Scheme.
Board members are independent from the Office and are not involved in the review of individual complaints.
Dame Suzi Leather - Chair of the Board
Dame Suzi Leather has been Chair of the OIA Board since October 2016. She has a wide professional background having been Chair of the Charity Commission, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the School Food Trust, the School Meals Review Panel and the Council of Food Policy Advisers. She was the founder Deputy Chair of the UK Food Standards Agency and has also served on the Council and Ethics Committee of Exeter University.
In the health field she chaired the Exeter and District Community NHS Trust and the Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She has been a member of the Human Tissue Authority, an observer member of the Human Genetics Commission and sat on the steering group of the UK Stem Cell Bank.
More widely, she was a member of Consumer Focus and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. She is Vice President of Hospiscare and serves on the board of the General Medical Council. She is Independent Chair of Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.
Andy Mack - Deputy Chair
Appointed in July 2014, Andy Mack is a Director with Grant Thornton UK LLP, and a member of Grant Thornton's Public Services Assurance leadership team. Andy is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. Andy has a strong interest in higher education, having acted as a visiting lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University for six years. He currently teaches accounting on behalf of Grant Thornton as part of an Executive MBA programme at Cranfield University.
Andrew is a solicitor and works as a consultant to advise leading businesses, trade associations and public sector clients on commercial contracts, competition law, distribution and risk. He was formerly a partner at Eversheds LLP. Andrew is an Independent Trustee of the Royal College of Physicians of London and a school governor and has also held lay representative and patient representative roles.
Dr Wendy Finlay
Wendy is Vice-Principal – Student Experience at University College of Estate Management. She has worked in higher education management since 2004, having moved across from a career as a post-doctoral research associate. Wendy has worked at a range of institutions delivering higher education during her career, including universities, alternative providers and an FE college.
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.
Appointed in 2010, Carey Haslam is a conflict consultant, providing process design, training, facilitation and coaching to statutory and third sector organisations. She has been working in the ADR sector since 1991; she is an accredited independent mediator and specialises in workplace, SEN and community disputes. She is particularly interested in diversity and inclusion. She has specific experience in the youth sector as she was the Director of Delivery at Leap Confronting Conflict, the national youth and conflict charity. She was previously the Chair of Mediation UK.
Jonathan has a public policy background in both central government and the not for profit sector. He is currently an Independent Director of Ombudsman Services (which handles energy and communications complaints), the Lending Standards Board, the Personal Finance Society (the professional body for investment advisers), and Trustee of the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion. He was previously a Trustee of Citizens Advice for two terms. Before that he had a varied career as a senior civil servant over 35 years including working as adviser to two Prime Ministers, spells in the Cabinet Office, Foreign Office, Home Office and European Commission in Brussels and five years as Director General of the Government Equalities Office.
After graduating from Birmingham University in 1995, Sophie spent 4 years as a police officer for West Midlands Police, before changing careers to manage support services at Birmingham University’s Guild of Students. Following a role as a mental health lead for a community interest company, she became a Neighbourhood Manager for Birmingham City Council in 2009. In 2011, Sophie moved to Wolverhampton Students’ Union as Deputy Chief Executive and, in August 2015, onto her current post as Chief Executive for Worcester Students’ Union. She has also held a number of volunteering roles, including a local authority governor and PTA treasurer.
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 six 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.
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.
Professor Alistair Fitt
Nominated by Universities UK
Professor Alistair Fitt is the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. An applied mathematician, he previously worked for 22 years at the University of Southampton. Alistair's external involvements include close connections with EPSRC and other funding agencies. He is the President-elect of the IMA (the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications) and is also a member of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Board and a non-executive director of a number of companies.
Nominated Director for AHUA
Dave has had 20 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 10 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 to Beirut, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kurdistan.
Claire Sosienski Smith
Nominated Director for NUS
Claire Sosienski Smith is the current Vice President for Higher Education at the National Union of Students. She is the former sabbatical Women’s Officer at Cambridge University Students’ Union. In that role she was Trustee of the Students’ Union and head of the Women’s Campaign, one of the six liberation campaigns at the University of Cambridge.
Dr Diana Walford
Nominated by CUC
Diana is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Regent’s University London. She is a medically qualified haematologist. She has been Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford University; Director/Chief Executive of the Public Health Laboratory Service; Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England and Director of Healthcare on the NHS Management Executive. Non-executive posts have included Deputy Chairperson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; non-executive director of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; non-executive director, NHS Blood and Transplant Authority; trustee, Sue Ryder; member, State Honours Committee; governor, the Ditchley Foundation.
Professor Paul Layzell
Alternate Director for Universities UK
Paul Layzell is Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London. He has held posts at Sussex, Manchester and UMIST and was Programme Manager for the UMIST-Manchester merger. A software engineering academic, he studies how software systems can best be adapted to meet the changing needs of organisations and users. He is Chair of AQA, the UK’s largest public awarding body for A-level and GCSE qualifications, and a board member of JISC.
Dr Kevin Mundy
Alternate Director for Universities Wales
Kevin is University Secretary and Director of Corporate Services at Bangor University. He is secretary to the University Council and as Director of Corporate Services his responsibilities include governance and compliance, planning, human resources, quality assurance, sustainability, strategic partnerships and communications. Prior to arriving in Bangor in 2002, he worked at the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield.
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.
Sarah joined the OIA as Head of Leadership Office in 2013 and took on the role of Company Secretary in December 2017. She provides support and advice to the Senior Leadership Team and the Board and oversees the office’s administrative function.
Before joining the OIA, she spent 17 years at the University of Reading, and she has also worked with the NHS.