Monthly Archives: August 2015

PREVENT and the model regulations

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act passed onto the statute book earlier this year. Although the legal duty on higher education providers has yet to pass through Parliament, the Home Office has issued guidance for universities and colleges which institutions may use in preparing to meet the duty.

The guidance includes very little on ICT. It does make reference to the existence of acceptable use policies which determine what is and is not permissible use of institutional IT facilities and the expectation that those policies contain specific reference to the statutory duty. With a new academic year about to begin, it is apposite to review regulations. UCISA’s Model Regulations for the use of institutional IT facilities and systems largely meet the requirements of the Act in that they encourage users to behave lawfully and have provision for dealing with those that do not. Although there is reference to the expectation that users should recognise that their behaviour is subject to the law of the land (and clearly the Counter Terrorism and Security Act falls under this umbrella term), the Model Regulations can be strengthened by adding a statement that the institution has a duty under the Act and referring to the Act itself in the list of relevant legislation. Paul Lambert, IT Director at Teesside University offers an example modification, changing the first line of section 7.4 (Inappropriate material) to read:

    < Institution > has a statutory duty, under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, termed “PREVENT”. The purpose of this duty is to aid the process of preventing people being drawn into terrorism.

    You must not create, download, store or transmit unlawful material, or material that is indecent, offensive, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory or extremist. The University reserves the right to block or monitor access to such material.

Currently the duty on HEIs builds on the good practice that already exists in most (if not all) institutions. Although it is not anticipated that the legislation determining HEIs’ duty within the remit of the Act will greatly alter that, we will hold off any formal revision of the Model Regulations until the impact of the duty is fully understood.

Finally, ICT is just one of the areas that the guidance covers; for a more comprehensive overview of the current position for higher and further education institutions, see Andrew Cormack’s blog.

Peter Tinson
Executive Director
UCISA

Review of the Future Leaders Programme

The Future Leaders Programme (FLP) run by the Leadership Foundation on behalf of UCISA and SCONUL has a proven track record; service directors have reported that the skills delegates acquire have allowed them to better contribute and nearly 60% of those delegates have gone on to secure promotion. However, the Steering Group for the Programme recognised that, ten years since the Programme’s inception, the higher education landscape has changed significantly and so instigated a review of the Programme.

The review recognised the pressures on both delegates’ time and departmental budgets but also that the current programme included many elements that were highly valued by delegates and their institutions. A revised programme would therefore need to strike a balance between a shortening the programme and reducing the cost with maintaining the quality that has earned Future Leaders the reputation it has today. The Steering Board also recognised that there is much more interaction between the professional service departments and that it might be an appropriate time to open the Programme out to cover all service departments within our institutions. Future Leaders has already expanded its coverage, now drawing delegates from Student Services departments in addition to attracting delegates from Libraries, IT and e-learning departments. The feedback from delegates from FLP cohorts and from those attending the feeder programme Leading Across Professional Boundaries has been that the opportunity to learn with colleagues from other service departments is immensely valuable. Discussions with other professional associations have identified that there is an appetite for a programme that supports the development of service staff through the interaction with colleagues from other professional specialisms.

An initial programme outline, informed by the review and market research conducted by the Leadership Foundation, was presented last week to a steering group that comprised representatives from nine professional associations. Representatives from all past cohorts from Programme took part in the market research along with representatives from institutions which have never participated in FLP. We are grateful for their help in shaping the new programme. The revised programme meets all the aims of the review. The outline was well received and is expected to form the basis for a successor to the Future Leaders Programme, with the first instance of the new programme running from March 2016. There are a few details that need confirming but the intention is that the new programme will open for bookings in November. Before then, a decision has to be made on what to call the new programme – finding something that is succinct but still identifies the target audience may prove a significant challenge! However, the programme name aside, it is encouraging that the Leadership Foundation has been able to structure a new programme that builds on the strength of Future Leaders and has a sustainable future.

Peter Tinson
Executive Director