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Cabinet Secretary welcomes Governance Review Report

23 March 2012 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary welcomes the HE Governance Review with the Presidents of UCU and NUS Scotland.

Addressing delegates and guests at UCU Scotland Congress,  stated that academic freedom should be protected and that democracy and transparency in governance should be underlined.
Cabinet Secretary welcomes Governance Review ReportCabinet secretary Michael Russell with UCU Scotland president, Gordon Watson (left) and Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland (right) University governance was the key theme of the one-day congress as delegates backed a motion calling for the full implementation of the report into how Scottish universities are run. The report, in response to UCU's concerns over crises in university governance, recommended:

  • protecting academic freedom and institutional autonomy
  • appointing two students and two members of the staff trade unions to university governing body and committees
  • greater transparency in appointments and remuneration of senior management
  • election for chairs of governing bodies
  • a broadening of the experience of governing body members and greater transparency in appointment procedures

UCU Scotland president, Gordon Watson, said: 'Michael Russell instigated this report and has now broadly welcomed its recommendations and our delegates have unanimously voted for its full implementation.

'We need greater transparency and accountability in our universities and we are amazed that proposals which advocate increasing democracy  are being opposed.

'It is right that there should be greater transparency and more scrutiny of senior management's remuneration, appointments and decisions. If implemented the report puts control of universities back into the hands of the academic community and, at a stroke, removes the dictatorial management which has led to many of the other issues in the motions that have been passed today.'

Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, said: 'We welcome the Scottish Government's backing of the proposals laid out in the University Governance Review. This year, universities saw big benefits from the increase in funding they received in the budget. Now we must make sure that this boost in funding is used to improve the educational experience at their institutions.

'By having students and staff at the heart of how institutions are run, and taking part in governance as equal partners, we can ensure that public funding for universities is spent transparently, and that students' interests are at the heart of all decisions made at a senior level.

'We also urge Principals not fear the involvement of staff and students in setting their pay, or from having the chair of governing bodies elected. Instead, they should embrace these reforms, which can ensure that the public money universities receive is spent both wisely and fairly.'