Skip to main content

Leadership & Governance

The Board of Governors of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is unambiguously and collectively responsible for overseeing the RCS’s activities, determining its future direction, and fostering an environment in which RCS’s mission is achieved and the potential of all of its students is realised. The Board of Governors ensures that RCS complies with the legislative, regulatory and best-practice framework within which Scottish higher education operates.

The Board of Governors has ultimate responsibility for the deployment of resources in RCS and for the strategic plans of the institution. It also has a monitoring role in the overall performance of RCS, and the Principal is accountable to it for the effective and efficient management of RCS. The Board of Governors is responsible for the well-being of RCS’s staff and, with the Academic Board, it is also responsible for the well-being of students and RCS’s reputation.

The Board of Governors is also the Board of Directors of RCS in its capacity as a Company Limited by Guarantee with shareholders.

About the Board of Governors

The Board’s Statement of Primary Responsibilities sets out the Board’s purpose, responsibilities and accountabilities. The Statement also identifies those powers which the Board reserves to itself and summarises the roles and responsibilities of the various categories of Governors and the Secretary. The Statement is kept under review by the Board and reflects the Board’s various statutory and other regulatory responsibilities and obligations. The Statement also provides an important reference point for the Board’s periodic effectiveness reviews.

Statement of Primary Responsibilities

The powers and categories of membership of the Board of Governors and the Academic Board are prescribed by Statutory Instrument, which is available below:

Statutory Instrument

The Conservatoire’s Articles of Association reflect the requirements of the Statutory Instrument and also the fact that the Conservatoire is a company limited by guarantee with a shareholding. The Articles of Association detail how the Board should conduct its business.

Articles of Association

Board Membership

The membership of the Board of Governors is prescribed by Statutory Instrument: the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Order of Council 2014 as amended by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Amendment Order of Council 2020 (the “Order”). Within the terms of the Order, the Board must operate with between 21 and 29 Governors, comprised of the following categories:

Lay Governors

Not less than 11 and not more than 19. Within those upper and lower limits, it is for the Board to determine the number of Lay Governors to be appointed;

The Chair;

Senior Lay Governor.

Lay Governors are not remunerated and are appointed to the Board of Governors by the Board of Governors. The role of Chair is elected according to the requirements of the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016 and the Vice Chair is selected by the Lay Governors. The Board also appoints a Senior Independent Governor from amongst Lay Governors who, amongst other things, leads an annual appraisal of the Chair’s performance.

Ex Officiis

The Principal;

The Deputy Principal;

The President of the Students’ Union; and

The Vice President of the Students’ Union.

Staff Governors

One appointed by the Academic Board from among the members of the full-time academic staff who are members of the Academic Board;

One elected by the full-time academic staff from among such staff; and

One elected by the full-time professional services staff from among such staff.

The Board of Governors meets in full four times per session. There is an AGM held in December each year. Any Conservatoire student or staff member may attend a Board meeting as an observer – 2 weeks’ notice of such attendance should be given to the RCS Secretary.

If you are interested in becoming a Governor or require further information on any aspect of the Board’s work please contact the RCS Secretary.

You can download our current board’s register of interest below:

RCS BoG Register of Interest


Becoming a Governor

New Lay Governors are appointed to the Board from time to time on the basis of the Board’s analysis of its membership in terms of the balance of skills, attributes and experience of its current members.

The Conservatoire has recently appointed a new lay member and it is not currently looking for any more. As and when vacancies for lay members of the Board of Governors become available they will be advertised here and more widely. For further information about becoming a member of our Board, or to submit an expression of interest, please contact the Academic Registrar and Secretary, Professor Vicky Gunn. Your application will then be considered by the Board’s Nominations Committee, which maintains a register of individuals who have declared an interest in becoming a Governor of the Royal Conservatoire. If a suitable vacancy arises on the Board, you may be invited for interview.

Staff and students of the Conservatoire are most welcome to suggest candidates for consideration as Lay Governors. Any such suggestions should be passed to the Board’s Secretary, who will relay them to the Nominations Committee.


Equality and Diversity

In meeting the required elements of experience and expertise, the Board will seek to achieve a balanced membership in terms of equality and diversity. The Board will also seek to achieve a blend of experience both from across Scotland, mindful of its national role, and beyond Scotland, so as to maintain appropriate ethnic, national and international perspectives.

Specifically in terms of gender, the Board committed to achieving a minimum of 40% of either gender of lay governors by 2018. This was achieved and the lay Governors in the current Governing Body (2023) comprises 50% female and 50% male.

In 2020 the RCS began work on a comprehensive Anti-Racism Action Plan which is live on the RCS website under Equality and Diversity.


Balance of skills, attributes and experience

The Board has identified the range of skills and experience which, collectively, it must include within its membership so as to effectively meet its primary responsibilities. The Board’s statement in terms of its desired balance of skills and attributes is given below:

Download the Board of Governors: Balance of skills, attributes and experience


Role and Person Specification for a Governor

As well as identifying the skills mix that the Board needs, the Board has also identified the role and person specification for individual Governors (irrespective of their particular area of expertise):

Download the Specification for the role of Governor


Committees of the Board

The Board operates a number of Committees which, in accordance with their agreed remits, undertake work on behalf of the Board. These Committees are:

  • Academic Board
  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Infrastructure Committee
  • Fundraising Committee
  • Fair Access Committee
  • Finance and General Purposes Committee
  • People and Culture Committee
  • Nominations Committee
  • Remuneration Committee

Lay Governors are appointed by the Board to those Committees, which report to each meeting of the Board. Committee remits are given here:

See Committee Structure and Remits

Dates 2023/24

Any Conservatoire student or staff member may attend a Board meeting as an observer 2 weeks’ notice of such attendance should be given to the Secretary.

In academic year 2023/24, the Board will meet on the following dates:

  • 27 October 2023
  • 26 January 2024
  • 26 April 2024
  • 21 June 2024

Current Members of the Board

Governors, individually or collectively, can be contacted via the RCS Secretary.

Lay Governors

  • Andrew Butcher (Convenor of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and Member of the Audit & Risk, Development & Fundraising and Remunerations Committees)
  • Dr Jo Buckley (Member of the Fundraising and People and Culture Committees)
  • Morag Campbell (Convenor of the Fair Access Committee, Member of the Infrastructure and People and Culture Committees and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion)
  • Professor Stuart Cross (Member of the Academic Board and Finance and General Purposes and Nominations Committees)
  • Dr David Hare (Senior Independent Governor, Convenor of the Remunerations Committee and Member of the People and Culture and Nominations Committees)
  • Dr Robert Laidlow
  • Sharon Mair (Convenor of the People and Culture Committee and Member of the Fundraising Committee)
  • Professor Dorothy Miell (Chair of the Board and of the Nominations Committee, Member of the Infrastructure, Finance and General Purposes and Remunerations Committees)
  • Ed Monaghan (Convenor of the Buildings Committee and Member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee)
  • Professor Nacim Pak-Shiraz (Member of the People and Culture, Nominations and Remunerations Committees)
  • Philip Rodney (Convenor of the Fundraising Committee and Member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee)
  • Professor Matthew Rooke (Member of the Audit and Risk, Infrastructure and Fair Access Committees)
  • Caroline Roxburgh (Convenor of the Audit and Risk Committee and Member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee)
  • Dr John Taylor (Member of the Audit and Risk, Finance and General Purposes and Fundraising Committees)

Ex Officio

  • Professor Jeffrey Sharkey (Principal and Convenor of Academic Board. Member of the Fundraising, Finance and General Purposes, Infrastructure and Nominations Committees and of the Risk Management Group)
  • Dr Lois Fitch (Deputy Principal and Member of the Academic Board and Risk Management Group)

Student Representatives

  • Ken Haga Fairbrother (President of the Students’ Union and Member of Academic Board, the Fair Access and Nominations Committees and attends the People and Culture Committee)
  • Ulysse Tonnelé Verjus (Vice President of the Students’ Union)

Elected

  • Elizabeth Jenkinson, Academic Staff
  • Ruth Calder, Support Staff

Appointed by Academic Board

  • Jean Sangster (Member of the Academic Board and Nominations Committee)

Trade Union Governors

  • William English (Unison)
  • Alexander Lee (EIS)

More About RCS