Governance responsibilities: publicly-funded and alternative providers

Those involved in disputes, or with responsibility for handling them on behalf of institutions, may want to refer a problem to the governors who have ultimate authority for the actions of the body providing the higher education courses concerned.

The governing body of a traditional university has certain responsibilities in relation to considering public interest disclosure, dispute-resolution and approving changes in the internal legislation of the university.

Further information about these responsibilities can be found on the pages on

The Committee of University Chairs

http://www2.bcu.ac.uk/cuc/publications

The Committee of University Chairs ‘provides a forum for discussion for university chairs’.  These are the Chairs of the governing bodies of universities.

The Chair of the governing body works closely with the Vice-Chancellor who is normally the Chief Executive of a university, so the meetings of ‘Chairs’ held by the CUC can be helpful in maintaining shared expectations.

Does this system of governance work well?

The present system of governance emphasises that the governors should be predominantly external, so as to ensure that they can provide independent scrutiny of the executive, has the drawback that governors may have limited knowledge and experience of higher education.

This can also be a strength, because it means that the governors keep their distance from academic matters.

Is this system of governance used by ‘alternative providers’?

The ‘alternative providers’ have various ‘corporate forms’ and can choose their own systems of governance, depending on the type of legal entity they are.

The University of Law

The University of Law was a charity  holding a Royal Charter since 1976, when, as the College of Law, it was granted temporary degree-awarding powers (2006).  Then in 2012, it was sold to Montagu Private Equity, a f0r-profit entity.  The degree-awarding powers were renewed rather than being granted afresh to the new legal entity. The resulting structure now seems to be complex.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/transfer-of-powers-legal-question-hangs-over-university-of-law/421963.article

The University of Law explains its governance publicly online by providing a list of its ‘executive team’ at:

http://www.law.ac.uk/about/structure-and-governance/

BPP University describes its governance at: http://www.bpp.com/university-college/l/university-governance

Mechanism of governance

BPP University is governed and managed through:

Regent’s University

Regent’s University is a charity and a company limited by guarantee.  It explains its governance in detail online at:

http://www.regents.ac.uk/about/who-we-are/governance.aspx

The CUC Guide

The CUC has produced a

Guide for Members of Higher Education Governing Bodies in the UK 

http://www2.bcu.ac.uk/docs/cuc/Guide_for_Members_of_Higher_Education_Governing_Bodies_in_the_UK_2009_14.pdf

This was last updated in 2009 but a review is currently in progress and a new version should appear soon.