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College Governance

Key publications

College Sector Board Appointments: 2014 Ministerial Guidance

College Reforms and the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 (draft summary guide)

Code of Good Governance for Scotland’s Colleges

Guide for Board Members in the College Sector

SFC Financial Memorandum with Fundable Bodies in the College Sector

Framework for the Development of Strong and Effective College Students’ Associations

Guide to Key Functions, Constitution and Proceedings of Incorporated College Boards

Reform

As part of extensive reform of the college sector in Scotland, college governance has been strengthened to increase accountability and effectiveness to improve outcomes for learners and businesses. The governance reforms include:

  • more student members on incorporated college boards (from one to two)
  • extensive consultation and collaboration required of regional colleges and the new regional strategic bodies, including consulting employer and sector representatives and collaborating with trade unions and students’ associations.
  • Ministerial appointment of regional college and Regional Board chairs, regulated by the Public Appointments Commissioner for Scotland
  • open and competitive board appointment processes, underpinned by new Ministerial guidance
  • new duties on regional and assigned colleges to reflect their roles as either responsible for a regional planning (regional colleges) or for contributing to it (assigned colleges).

New shape of the college sector

Following a series of mergers since October 2012 involving 26 colleges, 42 publicly funded colleges have become 25 (and a higher education institution, SRUC).  23 of these colleges are grouped into 13 regions.  2 specialist colleges are funded separately.

Following implementation of the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013, the college sector now comprises:

  • Regional colleges - regions with one college have a regional college (e.g. Edinburgh)
  • Regional strategic bodies - regions with more than one college (Glasgow, Lanarkshire and the Highlands and Islands) have a regional strategic body. These bodies provide an alternative way of achieving the benefits of regional funding and planning.
  • Assigned colleges - regions with more than one college have colleges 'assigned' to their regional strategic body. For example, Glasgow Clyde College is assigned to the Regional Board for Glasgow Colleges.
  • Specialist colleges – two specialist colleges (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Newbattle Abbey College continue to be funded outwith the regional structure).

New college sector landscape and terminology

College Good Governance Task Group

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Culture has established a College Good Governance Task Group, which she is chairing.  The Group will report in March 2016.

College legislation

The Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 7 August 2013. The Act in the main amends two earlier Acts - the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 (which for colleges is largely concerned with governance matters) and the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005 (which had previously been primarily about the functions of the Scottish Funding Council).

Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 Commencement Orders

We are preparing Explanatory Notes to accompany the 2013 Act, which will be available on the legislation.gov.uk website. We will link them here when they are available.

We have circulated a guide to colleges on ‘college constitutions’ and their relationship to legislation.

Draft summary guide

We published in October 2013 a draft summary guide College Reforms and the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 to help colleges and stakeholders understand the college governance and regionalisation provisions in the Act and related aspects of the college regionalisation programme. If you want to know what it will mean to be a regional college or an assigned college or what the terms regional strategic body and Regional Board mean, this is a useful first port-of-call. It will be revised shortly to take account the full implementation of the Act.

 

Single college regions

The Designation of Regional Colleges (Scotland) Order 2014, SSI 2014/22 designated - with effect from 3 March 2014 - the following ten colleges in single college regions as regional colleges, giving them the board arrangements of such colleges and associated new functions.

The policy note outlines in detail what the Order does.

Multi-college regions

Glasgow

The Regional Board for Glasgow Colleges (known informally as the Glasgow Colleges’ Regional Board) was established on 1 May 2014 to prepare for it assuming responsibilities for colleges. The Ministerial appointment of non-executive members was announced in a News Release.

The Assigned Colleges (Scotland) Order 2014, SSI 2014/80 assigned three colleges to the Regional Board with effect from 1 August 2014. The colleges are City of Glasgow College, Glasgow Clyde College and Glasgow Kelvin College. The policy note outlines in detail what the Order does.

The Glasgow Clyde College (Removal and Appointment of Board Members) (Scotland) Order 2015, SSI 2015/348 removed people from the board of the college and appointed board members.  The policy note outlines the reasons for the Order.  A News Release was also issued.

Highlands and Islands

The Assigned Colleges (University of the Highlands and Islands) Order 2014, SSI 2014/146 assigned eight colleges to the University of the Highlands and Islands with effect from 1 August 2014. The colleges are Inverness College, Lews Castle College, Moray College, The North Highland College, Orkney College, Perth College, Shetland College and West Highland College. The policy note outlines in detail what the Order does.

Lanarkshire

The regional body in Lanarkshire is New College Lanarkshire, the board of which is known informally as The Lanarkshire Board. It is both a regional college and a regional strategic body.

With effect from 1 October 2014, The Lanarkshire Colleges Order 2014:

  • designated New College Lanarkshire as a regional college
  • made New College Lanarkshire a regional strategic body
  • assigned South Lanarkshire College to New College Lanarkshire
  • made board arrangements for New College Lanarkshire to include members from South Lanarkshire College in recognition of its new responsibilities for that college
  • removed the entry in legislation to the Regional Board for Lanarkshire Colleges (which has never been established).

The policy note outlines in detail what the Order does.

Appointment of regional chairs

The regional chairs appointed by Ministers are:

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire - Ken Milroy

Fife - Stephen Magee

Ayrshire - Willie Mackie

Glasgow - Ali Jarvis (acting chair)

Borders - Anthony Jakimciw

Lanarkshire - Linda McTavish

Central (Forth Valley) - Hugh Hall

Tayside - Angela McCusker

Dumfries and Galloway - Brian Johnstone

West - Keith McKellar

Edinburgh - Ian McKay

West Lothian -

There is no Ministerial appointment in the Highlands and Islands college region as Ministers don’t make that appointment. The chair of the University of the Highlands and Islands FE Regional Board is Michael Foxley.

The Ministerial appointment of twelve regional chairs was announced in a News Release, which was followed by a further release with biographical information. An interim appointment was initially made in the Dundee and Angus region, pending the outcome of a further public appointment round. The appointment of the permanent chair for Dundee and Angus was announced in a News Release, which includes biographical information.

Regional college chair appointments are subject to standard terms and conditions of appointment. The terms and conditions of appointment of the chair of the Regional Board for Glasgow Colleges are similar to those of regional colleges.

Regional chairs remuneration rates

Appointments guidance

In August 2014 we published College Sector Board Appointments: 2014 Ministerial Guidance.

The new transparent appointment system for college sector boards aims to:

  • enhance public accountability
  • have boards that are properly equipped to perform the role asked of them to achieve positive outcomes
  • encourage participation from a wide and representative group of individuals
  • generate greater confidence in college governance arrangements.

The guidance was issued to:

  • regional college boards in relation to the appointment of non-executive board members to those boards;
  • Regional Boards in relation to the appointment of non-executive board members to those boards (there is one – the Regional Board for Glasgow Colleges); and
  • regional strategic bodies in relation to the appointment of the chair and non-executive board members of assigned incorporated college boards.

In August 2014 we also published the responses to and an analysis report of the consultation College Sector Board Appointments: Draft Ministerial Guidance, which we published in January 2014.

Transitional board arrangements for incorporated colleges

We wrote on 24 January 2014 outlining how the transitional arrangements will work. These arrangements have subsequently made for all incorporated colleges.

The Ministerial guidance on board appointments could mean that relevant college board members in multi-college regions remain in post for two years.

How we got where we are

Review of Governance

In June 2011, a review of college governance was commissioned (see remit). Led by Professor Russel Griggs, the then Chair of the Board of Dumfries and Galloway College, it was conducted entirely independently of Government.  

In January 2012, the Report of the Review of Further Education Governance in Scotland was published

In June 2012, Reinvigorating College Governance: The Scottish Government Response to the Report of the Review of Further Education Governance in Scotland was published.

In October 2012, a Working Group made recommendations on the future structure and governance of the University of the Highlands and Islands, which the Cabinet Secretary broadly welcomed.

Putting Learners at the Centre

In September 2011, a consultation paper Putting Learners at the Centre – Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education we published.

In November 2011, a joint college-specific consultation paper with SFC College Regionalisation: Proposals for Implementing Putting Learners at the Centre was published. 

In February 2012, Responses To The Scottish Government Consultation Putting Learners At The Centre: Delivering Our Ambitions For Post-16 Education was published.

Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill

In November 2012, the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill was introduced. Information about the Bill's passage through the Scottish Parliament and its scrutiny by the Education and Culture Committee is available on the Scottish Parliament's website. During the Bill's passage, we wrote on 6 March 2013 about charity issues arising from it, confirming that the Bill's provisions would not impact on colleges as charities.

In January 2013, we published an Overview of College Regionalisation Plans. In February 2013, we published Non-Incorporated Colleges and College Regionalisation Plans, which also includes information about the University of the Highlands and Islands as a regional strategic body. These guides were published to provide background to the provisions in the then Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill at a particular stage in the Parliamentary process. They do not necessarily describe the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013.

Recent Consultations

In October 2013, we published a consultation paper Designating Colleges as Regional Colleges and Assigning Colleges to Regional Strategic Bodies. In April 2014, we published the responses to the questions about single college regions and multi-college regions and an analysis report which outline the actions that were being taken as result of the consultation.

In January 2014, we published a consultation paper College Sector Board Appointments: Draft Ministerial Guidance. In August 2014 we published the responses to and an analysis report of the consultation.