- The Minister will be able to appoint the 12-member HEA Board, including approve or reject the national student union’s representative (16) (a). This board fulfills the aims of the HEA, including its committment to equality, inclusivity and diversity (section 8 and 9).
- The Minister will handpick 3 people on governing bodies of universities, and a further 6 will be selected by the governing body in accordance with a policy set by the governing body that he “approves” (73) (4).
- The Minister and his Board can set the funding conditions for universities, including “use the funding in a cost effective and beneficial manner”, “operate according to standards of good governance,” and comply with the “guidelines, codes and policies” that they issue (Chapter 2, (37) and (38)) under section 143. If an instiution fails to abide, the conditions of funding may be revised, funding may be withheld, or the institution may be told to repay funding. Section 38 (b) also allows the CEO – appointed by Board with Minister’s consent ((25) (2)) – of the HEA to set any other conditions for funding, with the Board’s consent.
- The Minister can ask the HEA to prepare “guidelines, codes and policies” for “the implementation of any policy or objective of the Minister or the Government” that will be applied to HEIs under section 143.
- The Minister appoints the appeals board for the decision to witdhraw funding, as per (69), so it is not an independent body.
- The Minister and his Board can use Section 143 which gives power to issue “guidelines, codes and policies” to HEIs, on which the HEI must report progress to the HEA on.
- The Minister and his Board can use Section 35 and 36, to dictate the development and focus of universities with “performance agreements”.
- The Minister (and his cabinet if the Minister so wishes) will hold sway over universities’ equality policies due to needing to be consulted about equality statements (62) (4).
- S. 107, s. 108, s. 118, s. 9 (s) combined with the powers to set additional funding conditions as set out in (S38(2)(h)) poses concerns that the Minister will now be able to control land acquisition and disposal of universities.
Within universities, the HEA Bill 2022 is a power grab by bureaucracy over students and staff.
Within the national scene, the HEA Bill 2022 is a power grab by the HEA over universities.