Why are some universities reviewing their statutes?

Why are some universities reviewing their statutes?

In 2003, the government published a White Paper The Future of Higher Education, focusing on the role of the Privy Council in approving all changes to English universities’ statutes. It questioned whether the Privy Council needed to continue to approve “minor changes” in the way universities conduct themselves, or whether this was an unnecessary burden. Three years later, the Department for Education and Skills clarified what was included in “minor changes”, and what was not, in other words what was seen as being core issues of public interest still needing the protection of Privy Council approval. 

Core issues are 

  • degree awarding powers
  • university title
  • powers and objects
  • academic freedom
  • governance structures.

Minor changes are 

  • provisions on membership
  • internal structures
  • detailed roles and constitution of bodies such as the Senate and Court.

Universities are encouraged to take the non-key areas out of statutes. Many of our comparator research intensive universities done this since 2006, and now our Council has decided to review our Statutes in line with this government advice.

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