As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, work to amend subordinate legislation to effect governance changes to the boards of management of the incorporated colleges, the Glasgow Colleges' Regional Board and the Lanarkshire Board was put on hold. We are now in a position to restart work around implementing governance changes and to consult on adding trade union nominees to the boards of college institutions.
In 2016, the then Education Secretary's Good Governance Task Group reported back on the lessons learned at Glasgow Clyde, North Glasgow and Coatbridge Colleges. The Task Group also made a series of recommendations to improve governance in Scotland's colleges around four strategic themes of prevention; self-assessment; external assurance; and sanctions. These recommendations have been taken forward in conjunction with the Good Governance Steering Group, which is a cross-sector body with a remit to support-ongoing good governance across the college sector. Although the origin of these governance changes dates back to 2016, if implemented, these improvements would sit within a wider package of transformation and change within the tertiary education and skills sector, as the Scottish Government progresses recommendations from the SFC Review of Coherence and Sustainability 2021.
The Scottish Government consulted on the Good Governance Task Group recommendations in April and May 2017. The Scottish Government received 39 responses to this consultation – 28 from organisations, including 10 colleges, and 11 from individuals.
On 18 February 2019, the former Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead MSP, outlined in a letter to the Education and Skills Committee of the Scottish Parliament the actions that the Scottish Government intended to take in response to the consultation regarding college governance matters. As part of this response, the Scottish Government committed to introducing trade union nominees to the boards of the incorporated colleges, the Glasgow Colleges' Regional Board and New College Lanarkshire (NCL) (also known as "the Lanarkshire Board"). As the Court of the University of the Highlands and Islands is the regional strategic body in the Highlands and Islands college region, there will be no changes to that entity.
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