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Scheme Consultation

Scheme Consultation

Consultation Document

Scheme for the administration of the charity
incorporated by the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College Act 1985

 

Background

The College has for some time been pursuing the idea of making changes to its governing statute, the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College Act 1985 (“the Act”).

To make this change, it has been necessary to liaise with a number of regulatory authorities:

  • The Charity Commission.
  • The Department for Education
  • The Department for Media, Culture and Sport.
  • The Office for Students (via the Charity Commission).
  • The Privy Council.

To effect the change legally, this is achieved through the drafting of a Scheme under s67 Charities Act 2011. Such a Scheme has been drafted and approved by the Charity Commission. For reference, a copy of the draft Scheme is presented with this consultation document.

Whilst this is not obligatory, where a Scheme is being proposed to make changes to a charity’s governing document, it is common practice that a consultation exercise is carried out to ensure that relevant stakeholders are aware of the proposed changes and have an opportunity to comment on them.

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the proposed changes and the reasons for them.

Reasons for change

The College’s governing document, the Act, is now over 35 years old. Inevitably things change in such a time period. For some time it has been felt that the Act would benefit from some amendment to allow greater flexibility to be introduced into the Objects and Powers of the College created under the Act and to bring its wording into line with more modern ways of constitutional drafting.

In addition, the opportunity to is being taken to enable the College to hold university title. Work has been ongoing for some time amongst the member institutions of the University of London to create the legal authority for those institutions to be named as Universities rather than colleges of the University of London. Negotiations, being led by the University of London, to this effect are continuing with the Department of Education. To be clear, this would not constitute any step away from membership of the University of London; it would simply legally allow the College (and all member institutions) to hold university title itself.

The College’s Council firmly believe that the proposed changes to the Act, as reflected in the Scheme, are in the best interests of the College.

Impact on the proposed merger with St George’s University of London

The changes proposed in the Scheme are entirely separate from and do not impact on the ongoing proposed merger talks with St George’s University of London.

Proposed changes

The proposed substantive changes to the Act are as follows:

 

1. Change to the Objects under Section 4

  • The Objects of the charity have been widened to formally recognise that the College can award degrees in its own name, through degree awarding powers already held, but also to facilitate greater collaboration and provide instruction leading to degrees awarded by third party institutions.

2. Changes to the Powers under Section 4

  • The Powers of the College have been widened to reflect the current approach to the drafting of Powers for charities generally.
  • A specific Power to change the name of the College, including to referring to it as a university, has been included in relation to the parallel application process to obtain university title. New wording has also been included to allow Her Majesty by Order in Council to amend the Act to change the College’s name.
  • In agreement with the Privy Council, their authority has been changed from one of instigating any future proposed changes to the Act, to approving proposed changes requested by the College’s Council.

 

3. Changes to the role and powers of the College’s Council under Section 6

  • The authority of the Council under the Act (as amended by the Scheme) is re-affirmed.
  • The College will continue to abide by the statutes and regulations of the University of London while it remains a member institution but not thereafter.
  • Clarifying that the College’s Council is given the power to elect from amongst its member more than one Vice Chair.

4. Changes to the College’s Statutes under Section 7

  • Whilst the College remains a member of the University of London, its Statutes must remain in line with those of the University.
  • Any changes must be approved by the Privy Council subject to the power of Her Majesty to make an Order in Council removing such need for approval. The Scheme enables the College to apply for the Order in Council to remove Privy Council oversight of the Statutes.

5. Changes to the College’s Regulations under Section 8

  • Deletion of reference to the statutes and regulations of the University of London.

6. Minor changes

  • A number of minor changes are made to recognise the changes made elsewhere by the Scheme and to bring it up to date from a legislative point of view.     

Consultation

The consultation relating to the above-referenced changes to the Act will remain open until 30 November 2021. Any comments or feedback relating to the changes should be sent to Andrew Napier (Andrew.Napier@rhul.ac.uk). Following completion of the consultation exercise, a report on the consultation exercise will be prepared for the College’s Council for consideration and discussion as necessary with the Charity Commission. Once the Scheme has been approved in its final form, the Charity Commission/DCMS will be responsible to the process of drafting and approving a Statutory Instrument to give legal effect to the Scheme.

 

Draft Scheme document

 

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