Governance: UUK and NUS: report on BAME student attainment

Universities UK (UUK) and the National Union of Students (NUS) have published a report into the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) attainment gap in higher education and the action they propose is taken by universities to reduce it. The report, titled Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic student attainment at UK Universities: #closingthegap, states that it was produced after consultation with universities, student unions and external bodies, and: presents sector data on ethnicity and attainment discusses factors identified during the consultation as having an effect on ethnicity attainment differentials at degree level identifies steps that the UUK and NUS recommend are taken by universities as frameworks for accelerating progress provides brief guidance on how to implement positive action and ‘positive discrimination’ whilst complying with equality law, including examples of what types of action are likely to be lawful or unlawful. A number of briefings, reports and resources on BAME attainment, including equality and diversity data, are provided by the Office for Students (OfS) here.

Personal data and exam scripts

In the ECJ case of Nowak v Data Protection Commissioner (Case C-434/16) EU:C:2017:994, 20 December 2017 it has been ruled that personal data under the Data Protection Directive can include a candidate’s handwritten exam script and the examiner’s comments on it.  It could, therefore, be recovered by the student as a subject access request. Mr Nowak was a trainee accountant who had failed four times an examination set by Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI).  He made a data access request to obtain all personal data relating to him held by the CAI.  Documentation was sent to him in response, but his corrected examination script was withheld on the basis that it did not contain personal data.  Mr Nowak challenged this decision before the Data Protection Commissioner (Ireland), but was refused again because the information contained therein did not constitute personal data. Mr Nowak sought to make a judicial challenge to this position, which was held inadmissible by each of the Circuit Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal.  Finally, the Supreme Court of Ireland, although deciding he was able to bring such an action, referred to the ECJ the matter of whether an examination script can constitute personal data.  The ECJ held that: a candidate at a professional examination is a natural person who can be identified, either directly, through his name, Read Full Article…

Can IP addresses constitute ‘personal data’ under the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC?

In Breyer v Bundesrepublik Deutschland Case C-582/14 (12 May 2016), the Advocate General delivered an opinion in response to a referral from the German Federal Court of Justice. The Advocate General found that an internet protocol (IP) address can be personal data for the purposes of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.

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Prevent duty monitoring guidance for HE sector published

In November 2015, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published ‘The New Prevent duty: Monitoring framework for the higher education sector’. The Prevent duty applies to relevant higher education bodies amongst others, and was introduced in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. RHEBs are required to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

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Extension of mandatory licensing of HMOs

On 6 November 2015, the Department for Communities and Local Government published a technical discussion document: Extending mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and related reforms. The document ‘sets out options for extending the scope of mandatory licensing of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) … [and] proposals to streamline the HMO licensing process to reduce red tape.’

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