Ian Blachford

Job Title and Responsibilities

I am the Chief Operating Officer at Staffordshire University and a member of the University’s Executive Team. I am a senior postholder as defined by the Instrument and Articles of Government.

My line manager is Professor Liz Barnes, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, whilst I work closely with all Executive colleagues. I report to the Board of Governors and its sub-committees on key areas of University activity related to the responsibilities of my post.
I am responsible for leading on the development and delivery of the University’s organisational development agenda, with key features including resource planning, performance management, reward and recognition, culture and working environment, leadership development and talent management.   I have Executive-level responsibility for the Student Experience and the oversight of the delivery of the Student Experience Strategy.

As well as these two major areas I am the Executive lead on Student Recruitment & Admissions, ensuring that we maximise every opportunity to recruit students against our targets, in accordance with the Recruitment Strategy.

I am Project Champion of the Student Systems Project – a cross-organisational project which will replace the student database with the SITS vision software which will have a transformational impact upon the student experience and our ways of working.

I lead and manage the Student Recruitment function, Student Office and University’s Personnel Services (including Personnel Management, Professional Development, Diversity and Payroll).  I lead our partnership working arrangements with the two recognised unions UCU and UNISON. I have Executive responsibility for Health and Safety within the institution.

Together with these roles, I am also Clerk to the Board of Governors.

Professional Memberships and Activities

I am a member of Executive, Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and am on various committees.  I chair, amongst others, the Joint Union Management Committee with UCU and UNISON, Recruitment Strategy Group, Health & Safety Committee and the Student Systems Project Board.  In relation to the Board of Governors Committee Meetings, I attend all the sub Committees and the full Board of Governor Meetings.

In addition, I am Vice-Chair of the Corporation for Stafford College, chairing the Curriculum and Standards Committee, chairing the Post Inspection Action Plan Group, a member of the Search & Governance Committee, remuneration committee, as well as the full Corporation.


I went to the University of Hull to study a BA(Hons) Business Studies in 1990.  Following graduation in 1993 I continued my studies and gained an MA in Human Resource Management.

Following my studies, I worked in a number of areas of the public sector including district, county and unitary councils, all within the field of Personnel/Human Resources.  In 1997 I became the Head of Human Resources for a college of Further Education, before leaving and joining the University as Personnel Manager in 2001.  Since that date I have held the role of Head of Personnel (2003), Director of Human Resources (2004), Director of Human Resources and a member of Executive since 2007 and was redesignated to Executive Director of Corporate Services from 2014.