Saturday, 27 August 2011

New members of the HEFCE Board

Three new members have joined the HEFCE Board. Two of them have NHS backgrounds and the third a private business background. Sir Alan Langlands, the HEFCE Chief Exec, also has an NHS background, so this significantly strengthens that voice on the HEFCE Board.

In one sense, this isn't surprising. HEFCE has a great deal of money tied up in training medics and other health professionals, and in undertaking health research in universities. The NHS too has a great deal of resource tied up in providing clinical placements to universities so there has always been a strong need for co-ordination. The person spec for these Board positions identified health sector experience as one of the key selection criteria.

What is more interesting is that BIS seems to have missed an opportunity to strengthen the Board with respect to its new role regulating the private sector in HE. This is an area where HEFCE's existing corporate culture and existing staff can expect to be challenged by the demands of the post-White Paper environment. Bringing in experience at Board level from another BIS quango with more relevant experience - maybe the OFT - would have seemed like an obvious move.

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