The provision of generic guidance, in addition to our individual enquiry work, was intended to be a key element of the service. In the early days of the service, we produced both a weekly newsletter and a small number of individual guidance notes, providing generic guidance on topics such as:
- TUPE in the context of outsourcing
- Public procurement for HEIs
- Equality law for HEIs as providers of education
Following a consultation with subscriber institutions, it was suggested that we should reduce the frequency of the newsletter to fortnightly and then monthly, which is currently our objective. We are approaching the publication of our ninetieth newsletter, which will represent over 500 articles and other individual items of guidance.
In practice, the provision of detailed generic guidance has been difficult to maintain, owing to the pressure of conducting individual enquiries and the significant amount of extra work involved in rendering guidance suitable for all purposes and all users. Also, we are conscious that, owing to the range of management disciplines that we serve, each generic item of guidance will have a limited market (and can fall out of date rapidly).
Regardless of the terms of our mandate, however, we are currently exploring ways of expanding our output of generic guidance, on the basis that ‘one to many’ should represent a more efficient means of operation than ‘one to one’.
HE Shared Legal 'Insight'
As a way of addressing this issue, on an occasional basis and where appropriate to do so, we have begun to outline to our subscriber representatives on a confidential basis, the nature of some of the enquiries that may have a wider application within the subscriber community. Apart from any intrinsic value, it is hoped that this exercise may engender some feedback that would allow us to focus more clearly on subjects of general appeal to subscribers. Since we serve the broad spectrum of management disciplines, it can be difficult to find suitable items with wider application.