Governance of Colchester InstituteStrategic PlanHigher Education StrategyOur GovernorsAccess to InformationFurther Governance InformationMinutes – Board and Committee Meetings

Governance of Colchester Institute

This governance page helps to communicate information and background about the way in which the College is governed and about how the Board of Governors support the everyday activities of Colchester Institute. We are a mixed economy college of Further and Higher Education, established by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The statutory Instrument and Articles of Government sets down the membership, the powers and the responsibilities of the Board of Governors. Much of the further education work of the College is funded through the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the College is required to abide by the Financial Memorandum and the Audit Code of Practice. The Governing Body has responsibility for key areas of the College and for monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of College policies in a number of areas including:
  • Health and Safety
  • Equal Opportunities
  • The Disability Discrimination Act
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Safeguarding
The Colchester Institute Board of Governors is made up of members from a wide range of backgrounds, reflecting the communities the College serves and members elected by the staff and by students. The Principal is the only member who is both a Board member and a member of the executive. The Board has overall responsibility for the educational character and mission of the College, for the general oversight of its activities and is accountable for the proper use of public funds and for exercising a duty of care for the assets of the College. The Board of Governors and Colchester Institute are committed to ensuring that there is no discrimination within the College on the grounds of age, disability, family responsibility, marital status, race, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, trade union activity, and any other irrelevant criteria.

Higher Education Strategy

For more information, please see the following documents:

QAA checks how UK universities and colleges maintain the standard of their higher education provision. Click here to read this institution's latest review report.

University Centre Colchester | Strategic Plan 2021-24

The Principal

Alison Andreas

About Us - Principals Welcome | Alison Andreas

Alison Andreas MA (Oxon)

The Principal serves on all the Board Committees except the Audit and Risk Committee and Governance, Remuneration and Search. Alison joined Colchester Institute in 1997 and has held a range of management roles including in Human Resource Development and Quality.  She has been a Senior Post-holder at the College since 2008, latterly Vice Principal: Quality and Support and was appointed as Principal and Chief Executive in 2014. Previously to working at the College, Alison studied French at the University of Oxford and held a range of management posts in large industrial organisations.

Independent Members

Lisa Blake


Lisa is a Partner in the Public Sector Assurance team and BDO’s Lead Partner for East Anglia. She is CIPFA qualified and has a post-graduate diploma in Public Finance and Leadership from Warwick Business School. Lisa currently works with a range of public sector organisations including London Borough Councils, District Councils, NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups as an appointed external auditor of their financial statements and assessor of value for money arrangements. Prior to joining BDO Lisa worked for the Audit Commission.  Lisa is also a Trustee of the Maldon District Community Voluntary Service.

Lisa joined the Board at Colchester Institute in May 2019 and is Chair of the Audit and Risk and member of the Governance Remuneration and Search Committees.

Stephanie Bettinson

Stephanie Bettinson

Stephanie Bettinson FCCA

Stephanie is a senior audit manager at BDO Ipswich, now part of the senior management team for East Anglia as well as the lead for people recruitment, retention and management. She is a qualified chartered accountant, with extensive experience of leading and managing large scale complex corporate audits. Her role is split between continuing to lead on large corporate audits, whilst also managing the team across East Anglia and implementing the strategy for the region. Her experience is far ranging, with extensive experience in the construction, healthcare and technology sector.

Stephanie joined the Board in April 2022 and is a member of the Finance and Resources Committee.

Richard Block

Richard Block

Richard Block

Richard qualified as an Environmental Health Officer after completing a BSc (Hon’s) Environmental Health over 25 years ago. He has subsequently completed several post graduate management and leadership qualifications and has developed substantial experience fulfilling a range of senior roles within both London Borough Councils and District Councils. Richard is currently Assistant Director for Corporate and Improvement at Colchester City Council with responsibility for key corporate services including IT, Human Resources, Governance and Communications and Marketing.

Richard joined the Board in April 2022 and is currently a member of the Finance and Resources Committee.

Peter Cook

(Pen Portrait to follow)

Chris Donovan

(Insert Photo)


Pen portrait to follow

Pen portrait to follow

Thomas Empson

(Insert Photo)


Pen portrait to follow

Pen portrait to follow

Caroline Williams

Caroline Williams

Caroline Williams is an Ofsted Inspector. She is a qualified teacher with a masters degree in education. Caroline was formally a deputy principal of a GFE college in Essex and prior to that served as a vice principal responsible for curriculum and quality. Caroline held senior leadership positions for 17 years during which time she was responsible for quality improvement, 16-19 study programmes, adult learning, apprenticeships, higher education and provision for learners with high needs, learner support and careers education. Caroline continues to work with providers to support quality improvement.

Caroline joined the Board in October 2022 and is a member of the Curriculum and Quality Committee.

Irene Kettle


Irene Kettle is a communications and PR consultant, media trainer and journalist.  She was the first female Editor of the four-edition Evening Gazette, Colchester. She became Editor in Chief at Newquest (Essex), which included running the Halstead Gazette, Clacton/Frinton and Walton Gazette, Braintree and Witham Times, Harwich and Manningtree Standard, Essex County Standard and the Evening Gazette (now the Daily Gazette).

A member of The Society of Editors and The Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Irene has also worked with the National Council for The Training of Journalists.

Irene devotes much of her time to public service.  In 2017 she was awarded Rotary’s highest honour when she was made a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of her contribution to Colchester through her charity work and journalism.  A Past President of The Rotary Club of Colchester Forum, Irene’s contributions to the service organisation’s charitable and voluntary activities include teaching Essex young carers to cook through Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food organisation.

Irene is a Trustee of two Colchester charities:  the 294-year-old Almshouses Charity of Arthur Winsley and Colchester Institute Foundation Trust.

Irene is an enthusiastic supporter of the Anthony Nolan charity and works as a recruiter, attending events (including at Colchester Institute) to sign up potential life-saving donors to its stem cell register.

Irene is married and has an adult daughter.

Irene was appointed to the Board in February 2020 and is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Jasmin Patel


Jasmin is a Residential Solicitor at Birkett Long LLP.  Jasmin was appointed to the Board in January 2020 and is a member of the Finance and Resources Committee.

Kevin Prince


Kevin was Head Teacher of St Helena School, Colchester until September 2011, a post he had held since September 2007. Prior to this Kevin has taught in South Essex and London. Kevin was appointed to the Board in January 2008, became Vice Chairman in January 2012, and took over the role of Corporation Chair in January 2019. Kevin is a member of all Committees expect the Audit and Risk Committee and is Chair of the Curriculum and Quality Committee.

Kevin is also a Director of the Essex Golf Union and the assistant manager for the County’s U25 team.

Terry Smyth


Terry began his career in the NHS as a nurse and nurse teacher, before moving into further and higher education. From 1984 to 2003, he worked at Colchester Institute in different academic and management roles, his final post being Head of Faculty of Music, Arts and Health, and Director of Higher Education. After early retirement in 2003, he spent nearly ten years as a freelance education consultant working for local, regional and national clients. From 2012 to 2014 he was chair of governors at Elmsett Primary School, a period during which the school raised its performance from “requires improvement” to “good”.

He holds a BA from the Open University, and a MA in Educational Management and Administration from the University of East Anglia. In 2017, he graduated from the University of Essex with a PhD in Sociology,  after which he became an honorary Community Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Essex.

Terry has published many articles in the health and education fields, and written two books for the care sector. His latest publications are chapters in edited collections: “Your father’s in the front room: interviewing the children of Far East prisoners of war” in War Experience and Memory in Global Cultures Since 1914 (2018), and “In search of fathers – the pilgrimages to Asia of the children of Far East prisoners of war” in Remembering Asia’s World War Two (2019).

His latest book – ‘Captive Fathers, Captive Children: Legacies of the War in the Far East’ – is based on his PhD research and will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in October 2022.

Terry was appointed to the Board in July 2018. He is a member of the Curriculum and Quality Committee, the Audit and Risk Committee, and the Designated Governor with responsibility for Safeguarding.

Richard Wainwright


Richard retired from HSBC in 2018 after a 39 year career encompassing all the traditional banking roles, albeit the majority of positions have involved working with businesses both large and small to secure and manage their finances.  For 30 years Richard fulfilled these roles in London but following a house move to Colchester in 2004, from 2009 he worked with businesses across East Anglia.

Richard is Joint Vice Chair of Governors and chairs the Finance and Resources and the Governance, Remuneration and Search Committees.

Staff Members

Brenda Rich

Brenda Rich

Brenda Rich

Brenda is Programme Leader for BSc Construction.  Before joining Colchester Institute Brenda spent several years in the construction industry as a Commercial Manager, working for global companies.  Benda was appointed to the Board in October 2020 and is a member of the Curriculum and Quality Committee.

Dawn Swainson

Dawn Swainson

Pen portrait to follow

Student Members




Staff Members are elected by the staff of the College. There is one academic staff member and one support staff members elected by the academic staff and support staff respectively.

Student Members are elected by the students of the College.  There is one HE student member and one FE student member elected  by the higher education and further education students respectively.

Policy on access to information not contained in the Publication Scheme


From 1 January 2005, in addition to accessing standard information via the Publication Scheme, a person may make a request for specific information which has not already been made available in the Publication Scheme. This must be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Requests for information

Requests for information :-

  • Must be made in writing (including e-mail)
  • Must include the name and address of the applicant
  • Must attempt to describe the information requested
  • Can state a preference for the form in which the information is to be received, such as, in written form, by inspection on the premises, in the form of a digest or summary.

Dealing with requests

All requests received should be sent to the Director of Human Resources who will ensure that the information is provided in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act as follows:-

  • Respond to the request within 20 working days
  • Provide the information in the form requested, where reasonably practicable
  • Advise the applicant if we do not have the information requested or if the information falls within the exempt categories.
  • Ask for further information, if necessary in order to identify the information asked for.
  • Assist the requester and provide advice as necessary.

Fee policy

Requesters will be charged a fee, to cover the costs associated with supplying the information.

On receipt of the application for information, a fees notice will be issued detailing the amount payable. Information will not be supplied until the fee is received.

Record keeping

Good record management procedures are necessary to respond to requests for information in compliance with the FOI Act. The college procedures will therefore be reviewed and revised and managers will be expected to adhere to these.

These will include separate procedures on Electronic Records management including E-mail.

The following is a general guide to good record management:-

  • Bear in mind the possibility of future public access to all files. Avoid comments which could be misunderstood or cause embarrassment on general release.
  • Documents should be drafted in such a way that exempt information eg. personal data can be edited out before release.
    Only keep the information that is really needed. Review files and eliminate superseded drafts.
  • Adhere to legally defined retention periods.
  • Ensure confidential information is disposed of appropriately (shredded in the case of paper)


Applicants dissatisfied with the college’s response to a request for information may raise the complaint through the college Compliments and Complaints procedure. If he/she is still dissatisfied with the college’s response having exhausted the internal procedure, he/she has the right to complain to the Information Commissioner.

Further Governance Information

Becoming a Governor

Have you thought about becoming a College Governor?

All governors get a great deal of satisfaction from being on the Governing Body. This was confirmed by the results of a questionnaire, which also showed that they enjoy being able to contribute, at a strategic and policy level, to the education and skill training of young people as well as providing opportunities for older students to fulfill long held ambitions or to be trained for a career change.

Board members at Colchester Institute give a time commitment of at least six board meetings a year, and serve on at least one committee (which demands another four to six meetings, or 10 to 15 hours a year).

The Board is always keen to hear from members of the local community who are interested in being a governor and can be waiting in the wings to fill vacancies as they arise. All applications will be reviewed by a panel of existing Board members against the following questions. Does the applicant:

  • Currently work in a responsible position in the public/private/voluntary sector?
  • Have any knowledge of Colchester Institute and support for its work?
  • Have any involvement and interest in educational developments, particularly post-school?
  • Have skills and experience that compliment those of existing Board members, or potential gaps or that will replace and extend the skills and experience of a retiring member?
  • Have any involvement in the wider North Essex community?
  • Have any previous participation in Colchester Institute activities?
  • Bring opportunities to project the Board and Colchester Institute to a wider constituency?
  • Have the potential and present wish to consider two four-year terms on the Board?
  • Help maintain a gender balance on the Board.

If you would like to be considered for appointment to the Board, please send your CV and covering letter to Hazel Paton, Clerk to the Governors, Colchester Institute, Sheepen Road, Colchester CO3 3LL or email Alternatively phone Hazel on 01206 712606 for more information.

Equal opportunities is inherent in all our recruitment, therefore we actively welcome nominations from under represented groups.

Governor Development Opportunities

When new governors are appointed, there is a programme of induction to support them in their new role and to help them get to know the College and the strategic responsibilities that governors have.

The programme includes meetings with the Chairman, the Principal, the Clerk and the Executive Vice Principal: Finance and Corporate Development.

The programme is tailored to meet individual interests so that new members can quickly contribute their previous experience and skills to the advantage of the Governing Body.

Current Vacancies

Currently we have a particular wish to secure governors with backgrounds in:  the Creative Arts; the Construction industry, or with IT backgrounds – although we would be delighted to hear from anyone, from any background, who may be interested in a voluntary non-Executive role at our busy, successful College!

If you are interested, please submit a covering letter and CV to the Clerk to the Governors, Hazel Paton, email:, or if you would like to learn more through a no obligation chat, please email the Clerk.

Guide for Potential Governors on the Appointment Process

Links to other Organisations
Freedom of Information Act

Freedom of Information Act

Please click on a link below to view Colchester Institute policies:

Publication Scheme

Non-confidential Minutes are published after they have been approved at the next meeting of the Board/Committee, and will remain on the website for two years from the date of the meeting.  Minutes are normally added to the website at the end of the term in which they were approved.  For copies of non-confidential minutes from earlier years please contact the Clerk to Governors at

Board Meetings and Minutes
Committee Meetings and Minutes

On some matters the Board has delegated specific responsibility to a committee to take action.  Each committee makes an annual report to the Board.

The Board has established four committees whose functions are to:

  • develop the policies and strategies of the main Board
  • advise the Board on areas of the College’s work within its remit
  • carry out detailed monitoring on the Board’s behalf.

For further information on a Committee, including Membership, summary of their main responsibilities, schedule of meetings, and minutes of meetings, please click on the appropriate link below. The latest structure and membership information of the committees can be viewed below.

Committee Structure and Membership Information

Audit and Risk Committee


Lisa Blake, Chair
Irene Kettle
Terry Smyth

Main Responsibilities

To ensure that the College’s internal control, risk management control and corporate governance processes are adequate and are effectively and independently monitored.

Schedule of Meetings 2022-23

Curriculum and Quality Committee


Caroline Williams, Chair
Alison Andreas (ex officio)
Peter Cook
Angela O’Donoghue (co-opted)
Kevin Prince
Brenda Rich
Terry Smyth
Thomas Empson

Main Responsibilities

To monitor and review the academic standards of the College, to analyse and report to the Board on student performance and the effectiveness of learning and teaching, and to monitor the complaints and grievance procedures and the Governor Link Scheme.

Schedule of Meetings 2022-23

Governance, Remuneration and Search Committee


Richard Wainwright, Chair
Lisa Blake
Caroline Williams
Kevin Prince

Main Responsibilities

To consider and make recommendations to the Board on staffing matters and all aspects of Board membership and the appointment of new members, and to monitor and review the induction and continuing development of members.

Schedule of Meetings 2022-23

Finance and Resources Committee

Richard Wainwright, Chair
Alison Andreas (ex officio)
Stephanie Bettinson
Steve Blake (Co-opted member)
Richard Block
Chris Donovan
Kevin Prince (ex officio) 

Main Responsibilities
To advise the Board on all aspects of the Corporation’s financial policies including detailed consideration of the annual income and expenditure estimates and regular monitoring of the corporation’s financial position. The Committee also considers property, land and general purpose matters.

Schedule of Meetings 2022-23