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Higher Education and Research Bill - Report (1st Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Brown of Cambridge Baroness Brown of Cambridge Crossbench 7:00 pm, 6th March 2017

My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 49, in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, and give my wholehearted support to all the government amendments in this group.

Amendment 49 is a reinforcement of the registration conditions for higher education providers. It requires that it is not only the quality of provision and use of sector standards that can be subject to registration conditions but also the systems and processes that a provider has in place to ensure quality and standards are upheld. This provides an additional level of assurance of the ongoing maintenance of quality by a provider to the benefit of students.

I thank the Minister and the Bill team for their thoughtful work in bringing forward the government amendments on quality and standards. They effectively address the concerns of the sector, and of many noble Lords, that the definition of academic standards must be owned by the sector and not be in the remit of the Office for Students. The government amendments are, indeed, quite innovative in that they provide an implicit challenge to institutions in the sector to work together to define standards in other key areas—plagiarism might be a good example. These would be standards which the OfS could then use in its registration conditions. The Minister and the Bill team are to be commended for this forward-thinking approach, and I repeat my strong support for the government amendments. I beg to move.