Governance: UUK issues good practice briefing on student contracts

Universities UK (UUK) have published a briefing which aims to look at the development of student contracts and set out good practice recommendations.  According to UUK, the briefing builds on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) consumer law advice for higher education providers.  UUK stresses that the briefing is ‘not intended as legal advice for compliance with consumer law or the CMA’s existing guidance‘.   UUK states that, although the briefing is ‘motivated by the ongoing regulatory interest in student contracts in England’, its principles of good practice are intended to be applicable across the UK.   According to the briefing, the core underlying principles of the student contract should include:   ensuring that the terms and conditions of the contract are fair providing course information that is clear, consistent and quantifiable providing other material information, including avenues for complaints in the case of English HEIs, integrating other relevant registration conditions such as protection plans and student transfer agreements   UUK recommends that, in the future development of student contracts, providers should consider how such contracts can:   build on existing practice and guidance on consumer regulations and presentation of course information be embedded in the local relationship between a university and their students and their representatives and advisors provide students with the information necessary to progress in their studies Read Full Article…

Office for Students launches new regulatory framework

The Office for Students (OfS) has published its regulatory framework for higher education in England and a number of associated documents, all of which are now available on its website. The framework, which is the result of the consultation launched by the Department of Education in October 2017 and reported in issue 87 of our newsletter, describes how the OfS intends to perform its various statutory functions under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA), and provides guidance for HEIs on conditions of registration. The framework is split into five parts: the OfS’s risk-based approach sector-level regulation regulation of individual providers validation, degree awarding powers and university title guidance on the general ongoing conditions of registration Key points from the framework include the following: the categories for registration are reduced from three to two, ‘approved’ and ‘approved (fee cap)’.  Only HEIs in the latter category will be eligible for direct funding provided by UK Research and Innovation under section 97, HERA.  The ‘registered (basic)’ category in the original proposal for providers that simply wished to be registered but would not have been entitled to research funding or student support has been dropped annual OfS registration fees for smaller providers are lower than those in the original proposal there will be a subsidy for providers with fewer than 300 students Read Full Article…

Health and Safety: The requirement to conduct risk assessments

The Health and Safety Executive recently raised concerns that many employers view the need to conduct risk assessments as something different from the day to day requirements of running a business. Employers have a legal duty to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks to the health and safety of their employees at work, and of risks to others (such as students, the public, really anyone who is affected by the employer’s activities). Read Full Article…

CMA: Unfair terms guides update

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has supplemented its series of short-form guides on the issue of unfair terms in consumer contracts, published in March 2016 and covered in Issue 76 of our Newsletter, with a number of animated videos. The guides and videos complement the guidance published by the CMA in October 2015, when the main provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force. Read Full Article…

NI Court of Appeal upholds discrimination decision

In the case of Lee v McArthur [2016] NICA 39, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland upheld a County Court decision that a bakery’s refusal to provide a cake displaying a slogan supporting same-sex marriage amounted to direct discrimination under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 (the Regulations). The appellants have indicated that they want the case to be heard by the UK Supreme Court, and are seeking legal advice on the matter. Read Full Article…