Office for Students: Business Interests

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th December 2017.

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Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government which members of the board of the Office for Students are (1) employed by, and (2) in receipt of remuneration from, a university in England; and what was the total amount of that remuneration in the 2016–17 tax year.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The Board for the Office for Students (OfS) currently exists in shadow form and will be legally constituted on 1 January 2018. The Board will be constituted with a mixture of executive and non-executive members that reflect the skills and experiences specified in Schedule 1 of the Higher Education and Research Act (2017). This includes a need for the Secretary of State to have explicit regard when appointing members for them to have experience of providing higher education on behalf of English higher education providers.

In recognition of this, two of the members of the OfS shadow board are currently employed by a university in England. Professor Steve West, is employed and remunerated by the University of the West of England and David Palfreyman, is employed and remunerated by a college of the University of Oxford. Both are also currently members of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) board and have been appointed onto the OfS Board to maintain continuity and manage a smooth transition to the new regulatory regime.

As is common amongst regulators, including HEFCE, we will expect the OfS to operate an internal governance code, once established, that provides a clear declaration of the interests of members and ensures that individuals recuse themselves from any Board discussion where there is the potential for a conflict of interest. The declaration of interests of public appointees does not include the amount of remuneration from employment beyond the remuneration they receive from the public body of which they are members.

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