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Council members

Anyone wishing to contact external members of the council should email the Working Secretary in the first instance (details below).

Malcolm Sweeting

Malcolm Sweeting 
Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Council

Malcolm Sweeting took up the role of Pro-Chancellor of the Open University from 1 January 2019.  He says, "The Open University is instantly recognised with great affection and great respect for its achievements. Almost everyone I speak to has a story to tell about the OU, and how it has inspired one of their family or friends to achieve their ambitions. As the OU celebrates its 50th Anniversary, it is with great pride that I take this wonderful opportunity to assist the OU to continue to change the lives of so many and to make such a profound and deep impact on society."

Malcolm is a partner of Clifford Chance LLP; and was, from 2010 – 2019, the Senior Partner of the firm. Clifford Chance is one of the world's largest elite global law firms.

Malcolm has spent his entire career at Clifford Chance; he worked for 3 ½ years in the Middle East; he was the youngest member of the firm's council in the early nineties; he led the Global Telecoms Practice in the mid to late nineties; was the head of the London Banking practice from 2002 – 2010. More recently, Malcolm has led or sponsored the firm's efforts around Brexit, Technology and the Emerging Markets (and specifically China).

Malcolm is a member of the Government's BRI Expert Panel; a member of the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) Advisory Board; a member of the European Advisory Board of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business; a Fellow of the 48 group; a Trustee for Hope and Homes for Children; and a Speaker for Schools.

As a Pro-Chancellor, Malcolm is the Chair of the OU Council and Governance & Nominations Committee; Deputy Chair of Strategic Planning and Resources Committee; a member of the University's Finance and Remuneration Committees and attends Investment Committee.

Term of office: 01.01.2019 – 31.12.2026 (second term)

Professor John Brooks

Professor John Brooks
Vice-Chair of the Council

John has been an academic throughout his working life. His career has combined a deep interest in research, with a commitment to excellent teaching and learning.

His early career was at Sheffield Hallam University, where he became a Reader, Head of Department of Applied Physics and Director of Materials Research Institute, before becoming a PVC responsible for Academic Teaching and Research.

John then became Vice-Chancellor of Wolverhampton University, where the emphasis was on developing a modern and flexible curriculum that was accessible and served the needs of a diverse student body. At this time, the impact of new technology was considerable and an innovative Managed Learning Environment enabled the University to package programmes to suit different markets.

After seven years, John moved to become Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University. Here the challenge was of scale, complexity and distributed campuses. Over ten years, MMU rationalized from seven campuses to two with a capital spend of £250m. The performance in both teaching and research improved significantly.

John has always admired the OU for the way it combines academic excellence with a real commitment to open access and flexible learning.  He believes that this model of a University is not well served by the current quality framework and student fee regime. However, it is vital that the OU maximizes its position within the present HE environment. The planned changes are vital and may not go far enough.  Several performance measures have been in decline and it is vital that this trend is reversed.

He says ‘I hope that my HE experience will help the Council to support the change agenda led by the Vice-Chancellor. I know how difficult it is for non-HE colleagues to understand the complexity of HE regulation and funding, and the political influences. I hope that my role can be to simplify, to challenge and to support. I am confident that the OU has a vital role to play in the future direction of UK HE, particularly post Brexit, and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute.

Term of office: 01.08.2017 – 31.07.2025 (second term)

Robert McCracken

Robert McCracken

Robert graduated in law from Edinburgh University in 1979, joined Ernst & Young (EY) in 1980 and was a partner in the firm from 1992 until 2018. He became a member of the OU Finance Committee in August 2015. Throughout his career at EY, Robert specialised in auditing and advising banks and other financial services institutions. After 2007, Robert combined a leadership role in the UK firm’s accounting technical department, a global role as co-chairman of the firm’s IFRS Financial Instruments Working Group, and a continuing role as audit partner for various audit clients.

Since retiring from EY, Robert has advised the firm on audit quality and has taken on the role of Audit Committee Chair of a number of portfolio companies owned by a leading Private Equity group. He was the Treasurer and Audit Committee Chair of the Tate Members Council from 2004 to 2014. He brings to the OU significant experience of operating at board level either as an auditor or non-executive director/trustee, combined with a strong interest in education and equality of opportunity. As Treasurer, Robert is Chair of the Finance Committee and the Investment Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Term of Office:  01-08-2019 – 31-07-2023 (first term)

Paul Kett

Paul Kett

Paul Kett has been a Director General at the Department for Education (DfE) since February 2017. He is currently the Director General for Skills Group, and also Chair of the DfE Digital, Data and Technology Committee. Paul’s previous roles at DfE include Director General for Education Standards.

Before his appointment at DfE, he worked for the British Army as a member of the Army Board in the role of Director Army Reform. Paul spent much of his earlier civil service career with the Ministry of Justice in roles spanning strategy, policy and project delivery, including Director Justice Reform, and as Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Paul studied Physics at the University of Leicester, followed by a Masters at the University of Birmingham.

Paul enjoys cooking and eating out, as well as being outside in the fresh air - walking, running and swimming.

Term of office: 06-05-2022 – 30-04-2026 (first term)

Ceri Doyle

Ceri Doyle

Ceri Doyle has been the Chief Executive of Newport City Homes (NCH) since September 2014 and has utilised her extraordinary breadth of experience ranging from health, education, finance and community development to drive service improvements, increased financial stability and a focus on residents within NCH.  Since the tragic events at Grenfell in June 2017, she has personally led NCH’s response to engaging with residents, ensuring the safety of the tower blocks in Newport, and lobbying and working with national and regional agencies to promote the safety of residents and clarity in regulations.

Prior to NCH, Ceri held a number of executive roles at the Big Lottery Fund – the UK’s largest lottery distributor – including Interim Chief Executive, Director of Strategy, Performance and Learning and Director Wales. Ceri also held a number of senior management positions in local government in Scotland, where she delivered a number of pioneering partnerships utilising European, Lottery and PFI funding. Alongside this, Ceri established a number of not-for-profit organisations working to tackle unemployment and community regeneration.

Ceri has held numerous non-executive positions, she is currently a Commissioner with the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales, a former Ministerial Advisor and has previously served on the board of a number of health, education, arts and third sector organisations.

Term of office: 28.08.2020 – 31.07.2024 (first term)

andrew Dickinson

Andrew Dickinson

Andrew Dickinson has enjoyed a successful career with a tremendous breadth of international knowledge in business leadership, operations and Finance and is an experienced Senior Executive and Non-Exec Director, with a proven track record of success achieved working in a FTSE 100 company.

For 28 years, Andrew worked for Rolls Royce Plc, which has seen him work across the world – including Brazil, Germany and Singapore. Most notably Andrew’s role as Chief Financial Officer and Head of Staff for Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace saw him successfully lead the Finance, Commercial, Compliance, Risk and I.T functions globally for the £8bn turnover business with 24,000 employees.

Since 2018, Andrew has held a number of non-executive positions, including Evolution Power Tools and Board Member and Chair of Audit Committee at Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham College.

Term of office: 01.08.2021 – 31.07.2025 (first term)

Thomas Frawley

Thomas Frawley CBE

Further information to follow.

Term of office: 01.08.2022 – 31.07.2026 (first term)

Paul Gray

Professor Paul Gray

Professor Paul Gray is an experienced public sector leader at CEO level. Paul was Chief Executive of NHS Scotland and Director General for Health and Social Care in the Scottish Government from 2013 to 2019.

During this time he was responsible for the delivery of health and care services through 22 Health Boards, and partner organisations, with accountability for an annual budget of £13bn and a staffing complement of around 160,000. Paul joined the Civil Service in 1979 and held a number of Director General roles from 2009 until 2019.

Paul is currently an Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow, and holds a number of other positions in the public and private sectors, including a Senior Faculty Member at the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh), a Non-Executive Director with the Care Inspectorate and a lay assistant with the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. Paul is also a coach and mentor to a number of senior executives.

Paul places a strong emphasis on ethical and compassionate leadership, transparency and collaborative working. Committed to public accountability, he is experienced in leading delivery and change and specialises in public service, ethical leadership and governance.

Term of office: 28.08.2020 – 31.07.2024 (first term)

Julia Goodfellow

Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow DBE CBE 

Further information to follow.

Term of office: 01.08.2022 – 31.07.2026 (first term)

Rachel Lock

Rachel Lock

Rachel has been the HR Director for TSB since November 2012, during which time she has led the creation of the HR function and the TUPE of partners to TSB ahead of the IPO sale by Lloyds Banking Group. Following the acquisition of TSB by Banco Sabadell, she has held responsibility for HR for Sabadell UK.

Prior to this role, Rachel gained extensive Director-level Human Resources experience across a number of roles in Lloyds Banking Group. She held the position of HR Director for Group Corporate Functions and Corporate Affairs in LBG, providing strategic HR expertise to GEC members and their teams and leading associated people practices.

Rachel’s other previous roles include Executive Assistant to the LBG Group HR Director, HR Director for Lloyds TSB Mortgages and HR Director for LBG Group Operations.

Rachel has worked her way up having joined as a school leaver to her local branch. She has Retail, Telephony, Operations, Training and HR experience, stretching 33 years.

Rachel brings a commercial and people-related focus to the debates and decisions that the OU Council makes. Her passion for talent and succession and employee development means that she has the interests of the OU employees in mind, as well as the students.

Outside of work Rachel enjoys going to the gym, gardening, watching sport and spending time with her niece and nephews.

Rachel is a member of the Audit Committee and is Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Term of office: 02.10.2015 – 31.07.2023 (second term)

Rashik Parmar

Rashik Parmar MBE

Further information to follow.

Term of office: 01.08.2022 – 31.07.2026 (first term)

Tevin Tobun

Tevin Tobun

Tevin Tobun is the CEO of Gate Ventures Group (GV), a company he founded in 2001 that focuses on food transportation within the education, social, healthcare, retail and business and industry sectors. GV Group is one of the UK’s leading independently owned food logistics specialists with a global footprint spanning the UK, South America and Africa, and employing over 500 people. 
Tevin is a Patron for the charity Springboard – the biggest independent charity in the hospitality sector that supports people from disadvantaged backgrounds into jobs in the hospitality industry. Tevin also runs The Tobun Foundation. Launched in 2015, the foundation offers four young people from disadvantaged backgrounds yearly funding to support their University studies. The Tobun Foundation also provides bursary support to students on specialist programmes including the United Nations Summer Programme in Geneva.  
Additional to this, Tevin frequently speaks at industry events and sits on a number of Boards for a range of organisations.  
Tevin and GV Group have been recognised amongst the business community through a significant number of nominations and accolades. In 2019 and 2020, Tevin was listed as one of the top 100 most influential Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Executives in the UK, and is also listed by JP Morgan as one of the top 100 most influential black people in the UK in 2020. 

Term of office: 28.08.2020 – 31.07.2024 (first term)

Student members

Margaret Greenaway

Margaret Greenaway
OU Students Association President

Further information to follow.

Term of office: 01.08.2022 – 31.07.2024 (first term)



Kara Dique
Student Member on the Council

Further information to follow.

Term of office: 23.11.2022 – 31.07.2024 (first term)

Staff members

Tim Blackman

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor

Professor Tim Blackman has a long and proud association with The Open University and took on the role of Vice-Chancellor in October 2019. Tim served as Acting Vice-Chancellor in 2015 and as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Scholarship and Quality between 2011 and 2015, when he took up his previous appointment as Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University.

Tim has extensive and varied leadership experience in higher education.  A graduate of Durham University, he returned to Durham many years later as Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, holding positions as Head of the School of Applied Social Sciences, Director of the Wolfson Research Institute and Dean of the University’s Queen’s Campus in Stockton-on-Tees. He has also served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Oxford Brookes University.

A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Royal Society of Arts, and a Trustee of the Legal Education Foundation, Tim has held various appointments as a government advisor and as an assessor for Social Policy & Social Work in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Sas Amoah

Sas Amoah
Senate Member of the Council

Sas Amoah is OpenLearn’s Digital Media Producer, as the team’s primary AV lead he’s responsible for commissioning and producing most of the video and Audio content produced in the department. Sas leads the team that manages OpenLearn’s YouTube channel; one of the most popular higher education channels on the platform form with 270,000 subscribers and over 50,000,000 million views to date.

Sas is also co-chair of The Open university’s Black and Minority Ethnic Network, a position he’s held for over a decade. In that time, the network has grown significantly and now supports a number of different units across a variety of different initiatives. As part of the EDI workstream within Learner and Discovery Services (LDS)  Sas has worked on policy proposals which after being piloted locally, where later embedded institutionally.

He is also currently a Team Leader, at Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes, a charity that provides supervised overnight accommodation to homeless and vulnerable people. He’s on the board of trustees for living Archive Milton Keynes, an organisation that preserves and shares the history and heritage of Milton Keynes and was recently appointed to the board of Milton Keynes Gallery.

Term of office: 01.08.2021 – 31.07.2025 (first term)

Nick Barratt

Dr Nick Barratt
Senate Member of the Council

Dr Nick Barratt has enjoyed a wide-ranging career spanning public and private sectors, including heritage and culture, broadcast media and higher education. He is the Director of Learner and Discovery Services at the Open University, where he also jointly leads the Ways of Working programme with Rachel Fryer, and is the senior accountable executive for the Foundations strategic change programme. A published author, Nick is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has worked extensively in the field of public history, presenting programmes on television and radio including an OU-BBC co-production from 2005, History Mysteries, and delivering public lectures at home and overseas on various topics..

Term of office: 01.08.2022 – 31.07.2026 (first term)


Catherine Halliwell

Dr Catherine Halliwell 
AL Elected Member of the Council

Catherine has worked as an Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics since 2008. Catherine tutors on science modules at all undergraduate levels and also actively pursues her own scholarship work in improving the online learning experience of students. Catherine has been an AL representative since 2014 and was elected Chair of the Associate Lecturers Executive in 2019.

Prior to joining the OU, Catherine worked with the Department of Trade and Industry and the European Commission to promote British industry and academia involvement in international research collaborations. Before that, Catherine was a Strategic Research Fellow at the National Physical Laboratory, specialising in nanobiotechnology.

In her spare time Catherine enjoys swimming, hiking, ornithology, and Scandinavian culture and cooking.

Term of office: 01.08.2020 – 31.07.2024 (first term)

Gary Elliott-Ciriggottis

Gary Elliott-Cirigottis
Senate Member of the Council

Gary Elliott-Cirigottis is the Director of Library and Knowledge Services and has had a varied and extensive career within the Open University. He has worked across many of the universities operational areas and has had the privilege to be involved in the complete curriculum development and delivery cycle as well as extensive experience in research development and delivery.

Gary is Co-Chair of the Enabling Staff Network, which provides a voice and representation for disabled staff across the university as well as peer support for disabled staff and their colleagues. He is a member of staff with a declared disability and is a passionate advocate for equality.

He is also a Trustee and member of the Executive Board of The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), which promotes awareness of the role of academic libraries in supporting research excellence and student achievement and employability, and represents their views and interests to government, regulators, and stakeholders. It also helps member libraries collaborate and deliver services efficiently, including through shared services. Gary chairs the SCONUL Services Steering Group. .

Term of office: 01.08.2022 – 31.07.2026 (first term)

Carol Howells

Carol Howells
Senate Member of the Council

Carol is Senior Lecturer in Law, a Faculty Lead for accessibility and Law School Lead for Scotland. She joined the OU in 1998 and led a number of innovative projects including the LLB and LLM programmes which helped place the OU Law School as one of Europe’s largest Law Schools and the largest provider of law graduates in the UK.

During her time at the OU, Carol has gained considerable and wide-ranging experience in curriculum design and development, module production and presentation. As a member of the OU’s pioneering Law School she led the development of the first OU level one module in law and built on this experience to produce access modules in law, OpenLearn materials on the law in Wales and short courses on the law in Scotland. She went on to lead the development of the OU’s first in-house produced undergraduate law degree and the first law postgraduate degree. Along with colleagues in Executive Education she has also worked on external projects including one with the civil service.

Carol’s research interests include the legal systems of the UK, their interaction, historical and contextual development and multi-disciplinary relevancies. She is currently working on projects related to first women lawyers, constitutional reform, the rule of law, inclusivity within the law curriculum, compassion as a legal skill, devolution, citizen engagement and diversity. Her upcoming publications include reflections on the legal history of the Royal Mile, how law is used to shape identities and the constitutional underpinnings and evolving institutional dynamics of the UK nations.

In her spare time Carol serves as a school governor, sails, reads and walks.

Term of office: 01.08.2020 – 31.07.2024 (first term)

Rob Parker

Rob Parker
Senate Member of the Council (Associate Lecturer)

Rob’s journey with the Open University began in nearly two decades ago as a fresh-faced MBA student. Very quickly, the OU ‘got under his skin' and after gaining his qualification, began teaching in the Business School as an Associate Lecturer. Now, Rob teaches across the Undergraduate Business Programme, the CMDA Apprenticeship programme and in the Computing and Communications school.

Outside the OU, Rob runs an IT business providing reporting and data services to large national companies and is active within his community as a Parish Councillor and school governor. He is a certified Chartered Manager and has been active as an AL representative for over eight years.

In his spare time, he is slowly working to complete the Scottish Munros and enjoys playing the piano and church organ.

He ‘hopes that as a member of Council he can contribute to the future success of the University and ensure that it continues to provide life-changing opportunities and experiences for as many people as possible.’

Term of office: 20.10.2020 – 31.07.2026 (second term)

Eileen Scanlon

Professor Eileen Scanlon OBE FAcSS
Senate Member of the Council

Professor Eileen Scanlon is Regius Professor of Open Education and Associate Director of Research and Innovation in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, as well as an Honorary Professor in Moray  House School of Education for the University of Edinburgh.

Eileen has extensive research experience on educational technology projects. Eileen is involved in research projects that explore aspects of digital scholarship to develop open educational resources; investigate science learning in formal and informal settings concentrating on the development of an inquiry learning pedagogy and citizen inquiry; and develop innovative approaches to evaluation of learning (e.g. games based learning and citizen science). Furthermore, Professor Scanlon has published extensively in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning.

Term of office: 01.08.2020 – 31.07.2024 (first term)

Council contacts

Dave Hall

Dave Hall
University Secretary

Dave is the University Secretary and therefore Secretary to the Council. Dave's role is to ensure that the main decision making bodies of the University receive appropriate advice and information on which to base their decisions, that they operate within clear terms of reference and that the processes used for decision making are clear and open.

Camilla Briault

Dr Camilla Briault
Assistant Director, Governance

The Council is supported by a team led by the Assistant Director, Governance, who has overall responsibility for the operation of the Council including membership and reviews of its effectiveness.

Tel: (01908) 332922

Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas 
Working Secretary to the Council

Sue is the Working Secretary for the Council, and is responsible for the management of its meetings and the support of its members.

Tel: (01908) 655083

Suzanne Butler

Suzanne Butler 
Governance Assistant

Suzanne supports the Working Secretary of the Council. Suzanne provides assistance with the preparation of papers and the logistical arrangements for meetings of the Council, Audit Committee, Chairs Committee and the Strategic Planning and Resources Committee.

Tel: (01908) 652023