Good College Governance

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Closes 17 May 2017


1. Should the Scottish Ministers have powers to determine a rate of remuneration for the chairs of assigned, incorporated colleges?

Regional college chairs are remunerated, however, the chairs of assigned colleges are not. This results in the chairs of some of Scotland’s largest colleges not being remunerated. The time commitment required of all college chairs are significant. There are twenty incorporated colleges, of which eleven are regional colleges. 

Legislation provides that the Scottish Ministers set the rate of remuneration  of regional college chairs, the terms and conditions of appointment of regional college chairs and the maximum number of days to be paid (up to two days per week). There are three daily rates  for regional chairs depending on the size of the college. If the legislation were to be amended in relation to remuneration of assigned college chairs, Scottish Government would separately determine the relevant daily rate for assigned college chairs. The maximum time commitment to be remunerated would be for the relevant regional strategic body to determine, as this would be a matter set out in the terms of appointment determined by the regional strategic body .

This change would apply to incorporated colleges - those colleges that are governed by college legislation (i.e. the 1992 Act). 

2. Should legislation require two trade union nominees from recognised main unions for (1) teaching and (2) non-teaching staff to be members of a board of an incorporated college and Regional Board?

3. If so, should the nominees:

4. Should provision be made for highly regarded candidates for which there is no immediate position to be appointed without further open recruitment, along the lines proposed?

5. Should provision be made in relation to a proven ability to work well as a team?

6. Should appointing bodies advertise all board vacancies on the College Development Network website?

7. Should Ministers have powers to suspend any or all board members (except the principal) in circumstances where they consider this appropriate while they carry out further consideration as to whether a removal order is warranted?

8. Should Ministers have power, when making a removal order, to include someone who has since left the board but was a member during the period for which Ministers consider there was board failure with the effect that the person is disqualified from any other boards?

9. Please select which powers Scottish Ministers should have to direct:

10. If Ministers were to have such powers:

(1) should they be limited to circumstances where they consider a board is not governing appropriately?

(2) should Ministers’ powers be:

11. Should assigned colleges be required by legislation to co-operate with a Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council review under section 7C(7) of the 2005 Act?

There is a range of criteria that must be met for a college or university to remain eligible in principle to be publicly funded.  The criteria are set out in section 7(2) of the 2005 Act.  It is for the SFC to consider whether every college has suitable provision to meet the criteria set out in section 7(2).  It has this role whether or not it or a regional strategic body funds a college.

The SFC has used its powers once under section 7C(7) of the 2005 Act to review whether a college continued to meet the 7(2) criteria.  However, the college was still funded by the SFC at the time of the review.  And it has raised the question as to whether co-operation with the review may be more difficult to obtain in relation to a college which is not directly funded by the SFC.  Given the legislation enables the SFC to carry out a review of an assigned college whether or not the SFC directly funds it, there should be no doubt that the College should be required to co-operate fully with such a review.  The Task Group recommended that, as an interim measure, a requirement should be placed on an assigned college through the Financial Memorandum process (i.e. it should be a condition of grant to co-operate with such a review), and that longer-term this could be a legislative requirement.


12. Should the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council have powers to attend and address meetings if it has concerns about an assigned college’s ability to meet the criteria set out in section 7(2) of the 2005 Act?

13. Should the existing powers of the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council and regional strategic bodies to attend and address meetings of a governing body be extended to include relevant committee meetings?

14. Should the powers of the Auditor General for Scotland to conduct economy, efficiency and effectiveness examinations be extended to include all relevant non-incorporated colleges?

The Auditor Scotland for Scotland (AGS) is responsible for auditing the accounts of incorporated colleges and Regional Boards . The AGS also has powers to conduct economy, efficiency and effectiveness examinations of incorporated colleges, higher education institutions and the three regional strategic bodies . The Accounts Commission for Scotland has similar powers in relation to local authorities, which include the two local authority run colleges (Orkney and Shetland Colleges). 

However, the AGS currently has no such power in relation to three non-incorporated colleges  that receive public funds directly from either the SFC or a regional strategic body.  The Task Group found this is incongruous.

15. Should legislation be clear that the power of a person or body to appoint college board members includes a power to suspend any board member that they have appointed?

As a result of section 5 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, powers in an Act of the Scottish Parliament to appoint a person, expressly include a power to suspend them.  Therefore it is clear that Ministers’ powers to appoint someone to a Regional Board include a power to suspend them, as that power is contained in the 2005 Act which is an Act of the Scottish Parliament.  However, most college sector appointments are made under the 1992 Act.  This Act is not an Act of the Scottish Parliament, so it is less evident that the power of a person or body to appoint college board members under the 1992 Act includes a power subsequently to suspend a board member whom that person or body has appointed.   Assigned incorporated colleges board include  a chair appointed by the regional strategic body and non-executive board members appointed by the regional strategic body. 

16. We welcome comments on whether the matters covered in the consultation paper raise any equalities issues that require to be addressed with respect to age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, ethnicity, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Given that the appointment of a highly regarded candidate may in certain circumstances have an adverse effect on a board’s gender balance, the proposed supplementary guidance makes clear that their appointment should not be automatic as equality issues must still be considered.