Legislation Programme for Spring/Summer Session 2017 – 3rd level

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on January 17th, 2017 by steve

IrelandThe Legislation Programme for the Spring/Summer Session is now published. None of the priority legislation relates directly to third level. Other legislation mentioned is:

Bills that are expected to undergo Pre-Legislative Scrutiny: Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill. ‘To amend the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 to address some issues that have arisen regarding the scope of QQI’s responsibilities in relation to recognition of awards and regulation of private and voluntary providers, to ensure adequate protection of enrolled learners where providers discontinue a programme, and to give greater authority to Institutes of Technology to award Level 9 qualifications.’ Heads are currently being drafted – no date given for scrutiny to commence.

Bills already on Dáil Order Paper: Technological Universities Bill 2015. Currently awaiting Committee stage. Given the broad degree of consensus that would be needed to pass this, and the opposition from various quarters, it seems unlikely to proceed further at any time soon.

Other Legislation: (1) Higher Education (Reform) Bill. ‘To modernise the legislative framework underpinning the governance and functions of the Higher Education Authority and the governance structures of the universities.’ Heads are currently being drafted. This is largely a matter of updating the HEA’s governing legislation, and perhaps tinkering with universities’ governing bodies – not a priority on anyone’s list, I would imagine.

Other Legislation: (2) Universities (Amendment) Bill. ‘To ensure compliance with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector.’ Heads approved in October 2012, drafting is underway. This bill serves largely as a scarecrow meant to terrify universities that might be tempted to flout existing controls – a role it can perform perfectly well without being on the statute book. Again, it’s hard to see why anyone would be in a hurry to spend legislative time on actually enacting it.

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Given Lack of Funding Support, Proposed Government Control of Universities is an Affront

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on June 13th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The government’s legislative programme for the approaching weeks and months, in including a number of bills which have been on the Dáil’s agenda since before the general election, carries with it considerable reforms to the structure and organisation of Irish third-level institutions, a number of which should be regarded as having the potential to aggravate the already fragile and beleaguered state of the sector and its funding situation …” (more)

[University Times, 12 June]

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New University Legislation – Government Legislation Programme, Autumn Session 2015

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on September 23rd, 2015 by steve

IrelandPaul Kehoe, TD, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, announced the Government’s Legislative Programme on 22nd September, 2015:

 

A – Bills expected to be published from the start of the Dáil Session to the beginning of the next Session

Technological Universities Bill, to provide for the establishment of Technological Universities and the amendment of IOT/DIT, HEA and other Acts

Universities (Amendment) Bill, to give the Minister the power to require universities to comply with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector

Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Bill, to repeal previous FEMPI Acts in line with provisions agreed in the Lansdowne Road Agreement

Public Sector Standards Bill, to reform the existing legislative framework in relation to ethics regulation for those in public office

 

C – Bills in respect of which heads have yet to be approved by Government

Higher Education (Reform) Bill, to modernise the legislative framework underpinning the governance and functions of the Higher Education Authority and the governance structures of the universities – publication expected 2016

Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Amendment) Bill, to implement the 1979 amendment to the Constitution on the Seanad university franchise – publication expected 2016

 

Comments:

For more general comment on the legislative programme, and in particular its snail-like pace, see Harry McGee, ‘Government struggling to meet new legislation targets, Irish Times 23 September.

The government’s current stance on new universities – that it will allow the creation of technological universities only so long as certain precise (and to some minds arbitrary) criteria are satisfied – will have little credibility if it cannot pass legislation to bring this about – for that reason the TU Bill may be regarded as a priority.

The U(A) Bill, by contrast, serves its purpose of disciplining universities best if it is merely held in reserve, and so may not be so urgent.

Other projects have been put on the back-burner – disgracefully so in the case of the Seanad Bill, which even after 37 years has apparently not yet managed to rise to the top of the pile.

 

The Blogmeister

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Bill will enable political ‘cronies’ to spy on universities, claim presidents

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on February 16th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The presidents of the seven universities have written to the Government expressing dismay at plans to introduce legislation which they claim will allow Ministers to appoint ‘cronies’ to spy on their operations …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 16 February]

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Subverting Irish university autonomy

Posted in Governance and administration on September 24th, 2013 by steve

“… And now, with remarkably little public attention regarding the implications, the government has announced its intention of introducing in 2014 a new piece of legislation in the form of a Universities (Amendment) Bill …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 24 September]

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Programme for Government, Summer 2013 – Third Level

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on September 18th, 2013 by steve

IrelandBills in respect of which heads have been agreed and texts are being drafted – 35. Universities (Amendment) Bill – To give the Minister the power to require universities to comply with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector – Publication Expected Mid 2014.”

Bills in respect of which heads have yet to be approved by Government – 74. Higher Education Authority Bill – To replace the HEA Act 1971 and amend the Universities Act and other relevant legislation as necessary – Publication Expected 2015 … 76. Technological Universities Bill – To provide for the establishment of Technological Universities and the amendment of IoT/DIT and HEA Acts – Publication Expected 2014.”

[Department of the Taoiseach, 18 September]

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SU Presidents publicly oppose Universities Act reform

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on February 5th, 2013 by steve

“The Presidents of five of Ireland’s universities’ students’ unions have released a statement opposing the amendments proposed to the Universities Act from 1997.The amendments in question, proposed by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn, would see the government take control of staff levels and pay …” (more)

[Aoife Valentine, University Observer, 5 February]

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Government Legislation Programme for Spring 2013 – Third Level

Posted in Governance and administration on January 15th, 2013 by steve

IrelandEarlier today, Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe announced the Government’s Legislative Programme for the Spring 2013 Parliamentary session. Third level receives a number of mentions:

Education (Amendment) Bill (“To provide for an amendment to paragraph 7 of the Third Schedule of the Dublin Institutes of Technology Acts 1992 – 2006 to provide that the period of office of the President of the DIT shall be changed from a fixed period of ten years to a maximum period of ten years.”) – heads have yet to be approved by Government – publication of draft bill expected 2013.

Further Education and Training Authority (SOLAS) Bill (“To create a new further education and training authority called SOLAS which will have responsibility for integrating, developing and modernising the further education and training sector. The Bill will also provide for the dissolution of FAS.”) – expected to be published from the start of the Dáil Session to the beginning of the next Session. More detail here.

Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) (Amendment) Bill 2012 (“Bill entitled an Act to amend the Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act 2003; to amend the Science and Technology Act 1987; to amend the Industrial Development Act 1993; to amend the Industrial Development Act 1986; to amend the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and to provide for matters connected therewith”) – Seanad – Order for Second Stage.

Universities (Amendment) Bill (“To give the Minister the power to require universities to comply with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector.”) – heads have been agreed and text is being drafted – publication expected mid 2013. The heads, released late last year, already include a draft bill, but as that draft has been extensively criticised the expected draft may be different. For commentary see here.

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Third Level Sector Reform

Posted in Governance and administration on November 20th, 2012 by steve

Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the savings he has achieved in the third level sector in terms of reform of academic contracts and improved efficiencies since taking office; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil Éireann, 20 November]

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Do you want the Civil Service to run Universities?

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on November 20th, 2012 by steve

“This is an significantly extended version of an OpEd published by myself and Charles Larkin (whose name appears missing) in the Irish Times. The Universities (Amendment) Bill 2012 is a shutting of the stable door after the horse has bolted and the stable sold off to a developer …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 20 November]

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Universities Bill will stifle the innovation we need

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on November 20th, 2012 by steve

“The Bill is a knee-jerk reaction by regulators who have failed to keep time with the pace of change in modern tertiary education, with changing educational markets or with the balance of accountability and flexibility needed to confront national and international challenges …” (more)

[Brian Lucey, Irish Times, 20 November]

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Coming to grips – or not – with university autonomy

Posted in Governance and administration on November 20th, 2012 by steve

“When I undertook the task in 2011 of chairing the review of higher education governance in Scotland (the report can be read here), one of the recurring themes in submissions made to us was the imperative of university autonomy …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 20 November]

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Managerialism in Irish Universities, revisited

Posted in Governance and administration on November 19th, 2012 by steve

I put this 20-minute presentation together for the IALT conference last weekend. It briefly reviews the literature on managerialism in Irish universities, and then summarises developments over the past year. It ends with the proposed Universities (Amendment) Bill.  It’s available as a slideshow here, and for those who want further or more detailed reading there’s a handout here.

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SU Presidents to oppose amendment to Universities Act

Posted in Legal issues on November 13th, 2012 by steve

“UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin has come together with the SU Presidents of the other Irish universities to oppose the ‘Arrangement of Heads’ of the Universities (Amendment) Bill 2012 …” (more)

[Aoife Valentine, University Observer, 13 November]

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Academics have a case, but little public support

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on October 30th, 2012 by steve

“It may seem cheeky for universities to be challenging the Government’s right to give itself full authority over pay and staffing numbers. After all, the State exercises such control over other parts of the public service, including institutes of technology – why should the universities be any different? …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 30 October]

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Universities fight Quinn’s plan to take control of pay

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on October 30th, 2012 by steve

“Universities are fighting plans to change the law to give the Government absolute control over pay, conditions and staff numbers. University leaders have met Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to express reservations about proposed new legislation …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 30 October]

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Teacher’s Pet

Posted in Governance and administration on October 30th, 2012 by steve

“… Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn’s amendment to the Universities Act, which requires colleges to comply with Government pay rules, is causing consternation across higher education. Mike Jennings, the astute head of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, sees it as the ‘biggest threat to university autonomy in decades’ …” (more)

[Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 30 October]

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