The Scottish Conservative business debate on 1 March 2017 is based on the motion entitled: “Abolition of the Scottish Funding Council” in the name of Liz Smith MSP. This is in the context of the Phase One Report from the Scottish Government’s Enterprise and Skills Review. The Report recommended the creation of a new ‘super board’ to sit above each of the existing agencies. The continued future of the Scottish Funding Council’s (SFC) Board, and that of the other enterprise and skills agencies has been in doubt since this Report was published. Universities Scotland would be very concerned to see the abolition of the SFC.
Our briefing for this debate sets out our position, including the reasons we see a continued and important role for the SFC board even with the creation of a new super board. Download the briefing here.
We have welcomed the additional recommendations, produced by Professor Crerar in late February 2017, which proposed a way for the SFC and other Agency boards to continue as well as the super board. Our briefing sets out the additional clarity that is needed on these points from Scottish Government.
Scottish Conservative Motion: Abolition of the Scottish Funding Council Board
That the Parliament recognises the key role and legal status of the current Scottish Funding Council board with regard to the financial and strategic management of Scotland’s colleges and universities; is deeply concerned by the Scottish Government’s proposals to abolish the board, given the limited evidence and consultation on this proposal; notes the proposals in The Crerar Review, which recommend that the Scottish Government should retain the current board; demands that the Scottish Funding Council retains its important functions beyond enterprise and skills, and therefore believes that the Scottish Funding Council must not just be a “delivery board” but also have the powers to act on its own initiative and to challenge government as well as to challenge further and higher education institutions.