HC Deb 03 November 1998 vol 318 cc479-80W
23. Mr. Welsh

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of the higher and further education sector in Scotland to discuss funding levels. [56126]

Mrs. Liddell

On 26 October I met representatives of the Association of Scottish Colleges. We discussed funding for the further education sector, and the Association told me they welcomed the Government's announcement that we are to invest an additional £214 million into further education over the next three years, to support further increases in student numbers, enhance quality in delivery and stabilise the financial position of the sector.

On 30 October, I addressed a Forum of the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals at which, among other topics, funding was discussed. At the Forum I announced a further funding boost of £15 million for Scotland's Higher Education sector; this is in addition to the extra £230 million we are investing in Scottish higher education over the next three years. This additional funding will be vital in meeting the Government's objectives of widening access to higher education and modernising teaching and research to support a knowledge economy. It was, I believe, strongly welcomed by the higher education sector.

24. Mr. David Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to review the procedure for selection of boards of management of colleges of further and higher education in Scotland. [56127]

Mrs. Liddell

Schedule 2 to the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 sets out the requirements regarding the composition of the Boards of Management of further education colleges, and eligibility criteria for their appointment. Beyond these statutory requirements, however, appointments to the boards of management are for individual institutions themselves to determine and I have no plans to review that procedure.

With assistance from the Department, the Association of Scottish Colleges (ASC) established a working group on college governance in 1997. Guidance was then issued by the ASC to the sector on issues such as written public appointment procedures and the operation of search and nomination committees. The guidance reflects the recommendations on public appointments set out in the second report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. The ASC are presently surveying the extent to which Boards of Management have taken this guidance on board.

I expect Board procedures for the appointment of members to comply with the provisions of Schedule 2 to the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 and have regard to the advice and recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

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