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HEPI –HEA SPRING CONFERENCE. CHAMPIONING THE STUDENT INTEREST. Rob Behrens. Chief Executive and Independent Adjudicator.

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CHAMPIONING THE STUDENT INTEREST

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Championing the student interest

HEPI –HEA SPRING CONFERENCE

CHAMPIONING THE STUDENT INTEREST

Rob Behrens

Chief Executive and

Independent Adjudicator

“People were most suspicious when I called ...I had to feel my way , exchanging trust for trust’. District nurse, practising in rural Norfolk, quoted in Ronald Blythe, Akenfield, 1968.

“Comrades! The first principle of the Revolution is effective time-keeping.” - Govan Mbeki, after being released from Robben Island after 25 years.

[email protected]

Twitter @OIAChiefExec

BRITISH ACADEMY,

LONDON, 21 MAY 2014


Who defines the student interest

WHO DEFINES THE STUDENT INTEREST ?

NORMATIVE

  • How an expert or professional identifies a need in the context of professional, expert or legal standards.

    EXPRESSED

  • What students demand through representation and often in surveys and want-

    FELT

  • What a person or group believe they need, but may not be prepared to express publicly but will articulate under trusted conditions

    COMPARATIVE

  • Comparing the differences in access to services either across sector or national boundaries

    Drawn (broadly) from Mark Liddiard, ‘Social Need and Patterns of Inequality’ in John Baldock, Sarah Vickerstaff, and Nick Manning (Eds), Social Policy, Oxford 2007.


Need for revised regulatory arrangements

NEED FOR REVISED REGULATORY ARRANGEMENTS.

  • Replaces ‘sticking plaster’ of RPG.

  • Joined up

  • Creates a level playing field or ‘ploughed furrow’

  • Embraces but not confined to self-regulation.

  • Includes a classic, independent ombudsman service

  • Includes direct student representation and voice.

  • Proportionate AND


Sensitive to the special features of higher education

Sensitive to THE SPECIAL FEATURES OF HIGHER EDUCATION


Campus arrangements trusted by students and public

CAMPUS ARRANGEMENTS TRUSTED BY STUDENTS AND PUBLIC.

What engenders Public Trust ?

Key elements include:

  • Perceived honesty and independence of profession

  • Development of internal culture fostering standards and openness to improve professional integrity and increase confidence in public institutions

  • Exhibits a core competence in serving users

  • Manifestation of ‘trustworthy’ behaviour


A burning platform of trust

A BURNING PLATFORM OF TRUST ?


The crisis of trust

THE CRISIS OF TRUST

  • Ministers and conflicts of interest (1998-2004)

  • Systematic, widespread, mis-use of expenses by MPs (2009-10)

  • Mis-selling of goods and services by banks (2001-8)

  • Illegal telephone hacking by newspapers (2005-11).

  • Failure to investigate avoidable deaths in hospitals (2008-12)


What we learn 1

WHAT WE LEARN (1)

  • Public Trust is variable depending on perceptions of independence and honesty. Trust in higher education is currently high.

  • Trust ratings are susceptible to collateral damage.

IPSOS MORI (1983-2013) 2011

Do you ‘generally trust them to tell the truth or not?’ (%)

Doctors88Teachers74Professors74Judges72…Police63Ordinary person in street55…Civil servants47Journalists19Government ministers17Politicians generally14


What we learn 2

WHAT WE LEARN (2)

  • Scandals occur where independent oversight is either non-existent, imperfect or constrained. The Independent Ombudsman adds value (ask Lord Leveson).

  • At the start of many ‘scandals’ is a detriment to a person.

  • Codes of Practice which carry authority are key to sector integrity.

  • Transparency is an aid to perceptions of independence and to good practice.

  • The inter-personal becomes the strategic. Trustworthy behaviour is required on all sides and needs dialogue with newly empowered. (students empowered by social media).


Seven steps towards championing student interests

SEVEN STEPSTOWARDS CHAMPIONING STUDENT INTERESTS

  • Core competence (‘doing what you say you will do’) continues to be exhibited by universities.

  • Independent OIA continues to ‘speak truth unto power’ while respecting HE ‘exceptionalism’

  • Students unions embraced as partners, representing students and managing expectations and student ‘wellbeing’ are ‘the golden thread’

  • Centrality of Good Practice Codes

  • Learning from inside and outside higher education

  • Transparency engenders Trust rather than undermine it.

  • Trustworthy behaviour concretised.


Good practice codes

GOOD PRACTICE CODES


Transparency rules

TRANSPARENCY RULES

“Transparency certainly destroys secrecy: but it may not limit the deception and deliberate misinformation that undermine relations of trust. If we want to restore trust we need to reduce deception and lies rather than secrecy.”

Onora O’Neill, A Question of Trust: The BBC Reith Lectures , 2002.


Trustworthy behaviour

TRUSTWORTHY BEHAVIOUR

  • “People were most suspicious when I called ...I had to feel my way , exchanging trust for trust’. District nurse, practising in rural Norfolk, quoted in Ronald Blythe, Akenfield, 1968.


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