2020 Election of Staff Members to the University Court

Staff Elections to Court: Results

Voting in the election for an academic staff member of Court and in the election for a non-academic staff member of Court closed on Thursday 29 October at 12 noon.

The results of the elections are:
Academic Staff Member of Court: Dr Martin Mills is elected
Non-Academic Staff Member of Court: Mr Nick Edwards is elected.

Turnout was 35.81% in the academic staff member election and 36.15% in the non-academic staff election. You can read the full voting report from Civica Election with further information on the results of both elections here: Full Voting Report

Both candidates will commence their appointment on Court with effect from 1 November for a period of three years.

Congratulations to the winning candidates and thank you to all the candidates who stood in the elections and to colleagues who voted.


The composition of the Court, the University’s governing body, includes two positions for staff members who are elected by staff every three years – one by academic colleagues and one by non-academic colleagues. These two positions are due for election in October 2020 and represent an opportunity for staff to bring their perspective to influence how the University is governed at the highest level.

There are two vacancies for staff members to be elected to Court:

  • one vacancy for a member of academic staff elected by academic staff (being academic, teaching and research staff);
  • one vacancy for a member of non-academic staff elected by non-academic staff (being professional, technical and support staff).

The Election Process

When are the elections?

Voting opens in both elections (academic position and non-academic position) on Thursday 22 October and will close at 12 noon on Thursday 29 October.

Who are the Candidates in the Academic Staff Representative Election?

You can read the election statements of candidates standing in the academic staff election here.

Who are the Candidates in the Non-Academic Staff Representative Election?

You can read the election statements of candidates standing in the non-academic staff election here.

How will the Election be conducted?

There will be two separate elections: one for each of the two positions and these will be carried out through electronic voting through the “first past the post system”. Staff cannot vote in both elections - the academic staff member will be elected be a ballot of academic colleagues and the non-academic staff member by a ballot of their non-academic colleagues. 

Who can vote?

Staff eligible to vote must have been in post as at 30 September 2020. Staff on furlough are entitled to vote, as are those staff on maternity leave or absent from work due to ill health, provided they meet the further eligibility criteria as described here.  Zero hours, guaranteed minimum hours, temporary services and honorary staff are not eligible to vote in the elections. 

Where a member of staff is unable to vote electronically, the University will offer alternative arrangements to ensure they can cast their vote provided we have been notified of any such request by 30 September 2020. We will try to accommodate requests received after this time but this cannot be guaranteed.

Can I vote in both elections?

No – you can only vote in one of the elections according to your role within the University. Academic staff will vote in the election for the academic representative on Court and non-academic staff for the non-academic representative.

How many candidates can I vote for?

You can vote for one candidate in the election in which you are entitled to vote. The election is through the “First Past the Post System” so the candidate with the most votes wins. 

How do I vote?

This will be an ‘online’ election through a voting website provided by Civica Election Services.

If you are eligible to vote, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to vote from Civica Election Services on Thursday 22 October from 9am onwards.

What if I don’t receive my voting instructions?

If you haven’t received your instructions by the end of Thursday 22 October, first check that you are eligible to vote – see “who can vote” above. Then check your Clutter, Junk and deleted folders in case the e-mail from Civica Election Services has been received there or filed there accidentally.

If you still cannot find the e-mail you can request it be reissued to you by selecting the “Don’t know your security code” button at this voting site (www.cesvotes.com/UoA2020) or by contacting Civica Election Customer Services (support@cesvotes.com) including the reference (M2294_1).

Please note: the voting site link will not be live until Thursday 22 October.

You can also contact staffelections@abdn.ac.uk

We recommend you get in touch as soon as possible so that we can resolve your query in time for you to cast your vote.

The Role of Court and Court Members

What is the role of Court?

The Court is the University’s governing body and is responsible for setting the University’s strategy and ensuring its financial sustainability. Its business regularly includes considering key issues such as budgets, staffing policy, estates and capital projects, the institution’s academic and business plans, monitoring performance against strategic targets, and ensuring the University meets the interests of stakeholders, including students, staff, alumni, local and national communities and funding bodies.

What is the role of a Court member?

Each member of Court is a governor of the University and a charitable trustee, who is responsible collectively with all members for ensuring the Court meets its responsibilities as mentioned above. The role of a Court member is:

  • To play an appropriate part in furthering the values of higher education and the mission of the University of Aberdeen in particular;
  • To ensure that the Court exercises efficient and effective use of the resources of the University, maintains its long-term financial viability, and safeguards its assets, and that proper mechanisms exist to ensure financial control and for the prevention of fraud;
  • To exercise oversight in respect of the academic, corporate, financial, estate and human resource functions delegated to the authority of the Principal as chief executive;
  • To ensure that Court conducts itself in accordance with accepted standards of behaviour in public life, embracing duty, selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability and stewardship, openness, honesty, leadership and respect. Members must at all times regulate their personal conduct as members of the Court in accordance with these standards;
  • To establish constructive and supportive but challenging working relationships with the University employees with whom they come into contact, whilst recognising the proper separation between governance and executive management.
  • To act fairly and impartially in the interests of the University as a whole using independent judgement and maintaining confidentiality as appropriate;

You can read more about the role of the Court and the role of a Court member here.

How long is the appointment for?

The candidates who are elected will take up their period of office on 1 November 2020.

Members elected will be able to be nominated for re-election, subject to a limit of three periods of office of three years whether served continuously or not, but would not be able to return to serve on Court in another position after that maximum of period of office for a period of three years.

Further Information

Further information on the election process and role of a Court member is available from Bruce Purdon, Clerk to the Court, and from staffelections@abdn.ac.uk