HEW Weekly Wrap Up 25 July 2014

News – Potential large scale shared service across higher education in Wales

The Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) is working on the procurement of a shared Library Management System (LMS) for higher education (HE) in Wales, including the National Library of Wales and the Welsh NHS Libraries. (The 24 Welsh NHS Libraries are currently supported by the Cardiff University Library Management System). All consortium members participate at Library Director level on the LMS Steering Group, and technical experts contribute to the Project Working Group.

All universities and the National Library signed a letter of intent at the start of the process indicating high level institutional commitment to the joint European procurement stage. This phase is drawing to a close, with the top three suppliers providing demonstrations and reference sites for visits. Once these have concluded by the end of August, all participating institutions will be asked to commit formally to an individual contract with the same supplier. The implementation phase will then commence, and will conclude in 2016.

WHELF has developed a compelling vision for the implementation of collaborative and shared services to provide mutual benefit to the member institutions, and has identified a clear opportunity to benefit through the sharing of a Library Management System across Wales. Further information is available on the WHELF blog.

Consultation – National Assembly – Enterprise and Business Committee – budget scrutiny

On 16 October 2014, the Enterprise and Business Committee will be scrutinising the Minister for Education and Skills, the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, and the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology on their draft budget proposals for 2015-16. The Finance Committee’s consultation on the draft budget closes on 10 September 2014. HEW intends to respond in due course.

Consultation – National Assembly – Environment and Sustainability Committee – consultation on principles of Future Generations (Wales) Bill

The Environment and Sustainability Committee is undertaking a consultation on general principles on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill. The inquiry is considering:

  • How the Welsh Government should legislate to put sustainability and sustainable development at the heart of government and the wider public sector;
  • The general principles of the Bill, and the need for legislation in a range of areas;
  • How effectively the Bill addresses Welsh international obligations in relation to sustainable development;
  • Any potential barriers to the implementation of the provisions, and whether the Bill takes account of them;
  • Whether there are any unintended consequences arising from the Bill;
  • The financial implications of the Bill; and
  • The appropriateness of the Bill.

The Committee is inviting submissions by 5 September 2014.

Publication – HEFCW circular – Accounts Direction to Higher Education Institutions for 2013-2014

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) has published circular W14/30HE which provides information on the Council’s requirements for the format of Welsh HE institutions’ audited financial statements.

Publication – HEFCW circular – Welsh Studies

HEFCW has published circular W14/29HE which provides an update on actions taken to date on Welsh Studies. The circular focuses on two key areas: the results of HEFCW’s survey on Welsh Studies provision; and a report on the event it ran in November 2013. The survey found there are 2,183 modules that are recognised as having a Welsh Studies component, which is 7.5% of the overall number of modules provided. During the event which was held, the possibility of data collection on Welsh Studies was discussed, but following further discussion with the sector, HEFCW has decided not to collect any further data, nor to introduce a target.

Publication – UK review of the provision of information about HE: NSS results and trends analysis 2005-2013

The Higher Education Funding Council for England, on behalf of the four funding councils, has published this report on the National Student Survey (NSS) results and trends. The document presents the results and trends from an analysis of the first nine years of the NSS. The two main areas of investigation are the robustness of the NSS results, which is considered by investigating response patterns, and the difference between the NSS results split by a variety of student and course characteristics.

Publication – Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education data

On 24 July 2014, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) released the data, and associated press release, relating to the destination of leavers in 2012/13. A HEW spokesperson said, “A recent report by Universities UK estimated that over 80% of new jobs created by 2020 will be in occupations with larger concentrations of higher skilled graduates, therefore it is heartening to see the HESA data showing that almost 20% of graduates from Welsh universities chose to go on to further study, along with also recording the highest proportion of full-time first degree graduates entering taught postgraduate study of any UK country. Furthermore, while the sector is continually striving for improvement, the statistics also show that graduates from Welsh universities recorded the second lowest unemployment rate of any UK nation, which is another encouraging result”.