Candidate for the position of Professional Services Staff Governor

Image for Robin Higgins

Robin Higgins

Christ Church has been an integral part of my life for over 25 years. Between 1994 and 1997 I studied History and Radio, Film & Television. I also worked with the Students’ Union and was elected to the student council for three years.

After graduation I went for a week’s temping in the purchasing department of a local manufacturing company where I ended up staying for 3 years and re-training for a career in procurement. In 2004 the University advertised for a Purchasing & Contracts Officer. I applied for, and was offered, the job and I have worked here ever since.

In that time, I have been involved in many major projects including:

  • the MOSI programme
  • the fit out of Verena Holmes
  • the relocation of the Students’ Union to St George’s
  • the introduction of digital lecture capture
  • the set-up of the University’s sustainability committees

 

Working on these projects means I have a range of experiences that help me understand the different perspectives of the professional service teams, academic staff and the students I work for. It has also given me many of the skills and experiences the University expects its governors to demonstrate.

Core Skills – Certain skills and experience are expected of all Governors including “effective communication and interpersonal skills, …positive boardroom behaviours, analytical skills, strategic planning, leadership, governance, teamworking, personal development and stakeholder engagement”. These are all skills I have developed through my time at Christ Church and which I use on a daily basis to help me deliver improvements across the institution.

 

Background & Experience – My work has contributed to several aims of the strategic framework, especially Enabling Services and Sustainability. Many projects I work on support the delivery of front-line services, enabling academic colleagues to deliver an excellent student experience. My job is to ensure we achieve value for money whenever we buy goods or services meaning we can re-invest the money we save into new projects. The theme of sustainability is also particularly relevant as I have been a member of the University’s Sustainability Strategic Management Committee since its inception and I chair the Sustainable Procurement Working Group.

 

Professional Skills – I am studying toward my CIPS professional qualification. I hope to be fully qualified this summer.

 

My experiences qualify me for the role in other ways:

  • Having worked with professional service staff across the University for over sixteen years I believe I understand the drivers of this diverse group of staff
  • The behaviours described in the governor’s code of conduct – integrity, objectivity, accountability, honesty etc. - are all prerequisites for a good procurement professional
  • Through the projects I have worked on I have experience of many areas that fall into the remit of the Governing Body including finance, estates management, audit, planning and the proper conduct of business
  • I believe personal development is important, meaning I would be committed developing the additional skills needed to make an effective contribution to the Governing Body

 

Four years ago, a candidate for staff governor shared a quote in her manifesto:

 

“Sometimes people perceive the staff governor role as a union representative who takes issues to meetings and lobbies for particular causes. My role as a member of the Governing Body is to contribute to the collective responsibility…ensuring proper conduct of business, strategic planning [and] performance monitoring”

 

This quote perfectly encapsulates how I would like to support the work of the governing body if I were entrusted with this role. Working as a governor would be a great way to give back to the institution which has supported me for more than 25 years.

Robin