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Lessons learned following governance issues.
Scotland's strong and vibrant college sector will continue to improve its governance arrangements.
That was the key message from 'Good College Governance', the report from the task group formed and chaired by Education Secretary, Angela Constance in response to identified weaknesses in some colleges.
Recommendations are framed around four themes: prevention, self-assessment, external assurance and sanctions. They include:
- Better arrangements for board member recruitment, development and appraisal
- More support to ensure all boards govern to required standards
- Better use of self-assessments by boards to improve performance
- More pro-active external assurance that is better alert to issues before they become problematic
- Consultation on a wider range of sanctions, if action needs to be taken.
Ms Constance said:
"Colleges play a crucial role in helping this Government realise its commitment to improving the employability of all Scotland's people. They make a vital contribution to our people, our economy and our society.
"The Audit Scotland report 'Scotland's colleges 2015' report acknowledged many positives in the sector around governance, including well planned mergers, as the colleges underwent a series of reforms in recent years.
"However, there have been a few well documented examples of college governance failings, and it would be remiss not to learn lessons from them.
"Effective governance is key to supporting colleges to improve the life chances of students and the wider economy. Good corporate governance demands an unswerving focus on culture, values and people as well as ensuring due process underpins robust decision-making and public accountability.
"My task group report outlines actions for the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, stakeholders and colleges themselves to support college boards ensure that colleges are well led and managed, help students maximise their potential and provide good value for taxpayers. I want to thank everyone who contributed to the task group to produce such a focused and clear way forward for the sector in such a short space of time.
"I expect the report to be implemented swiftly and effectively."
The report can be found here.