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Higher Education and Research Bill - Committee (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Crossbench 5:30 pm, 25th January 2017

My Lords, I strongly support what my noble friend Lady Brown said. Up until now, higher education has been fortunate in that it has had relatively few different regulatory authorities. The OfS will be quite different from anything that we have had before.

I refer to other sectors. I personally know the social care sector quite well. Those of us who have worked with or in this sector or the health sector, for example, know that, when you have more than one regulator, if they overlap or if it is not really clear who is responsible for what, you get regulatory and expenditure creep. This is not necessarily what the regulators mean—at least, not at the top level—but it is very much the experience that one has. The noble Lord, Lord Willetts, referred to this earlier in our deliberations. He talked about the problems that you could have in the health sector as a result of Monitor thinking that bringing institutions together was not a good idea when other people thought it was.

This is a probing amendment to ask for clarity, if not total simplicity, because there are very real costs when a sector does not have it.