Category / NHS

Setting up NHS / HSC research in the UK– upcoming changes

The UK Local Information Pack

A ‘UK Local Information Pack‘ will be introduced on the 5 June 2019 to support the set-up of NHS / HSC research in the UK.

The ‘UK Local Information Pack’ is the set of documents that NHS / HSC organisations use to formally start preparing to deliver the study. You can find more information here, including what comprises the pack. All researchers wishing to set-up their study at an NHS/HSC site from 5 June, will need to be aware of this change.

The Organisation Information Document

Researchers and research teams may be aware of a document called the ‘Statement of Activities’ – this is essentially a document that allows the sponsor to make clear to the research site, what activities will be undertaken locally. The document can also act as the agreement between the sponsor and site. Researchers setting up their study before 5 June should continue to use this document.

From 5 June the Statement of Activities will be replaced by a document called the ‘Organisation Information Document‘. For non-commercially sponsored studies, that are not clinical trials or clinical investigations, the ‘Organisation Information Document’ should be used as the agreement between sponsor and participating NHS / HSC organisation.

A new delegation log template

Another feature of the UK Local Information Pack is the inclusion of a delegation log template, which is intended to be used at participating NHS / HSC organisations. This will allow NHS/HSC organisations to locally record who will be working on the study and who is authorised to undertake study tasks.

Schedule of Events or Schedule and Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT)

For non-commercially sponsored studies studies an IRAS Schedule of Events or a SoECAT will be a part of the IRAS Form submission and is used in the UK Local Information Pack as a way of providing clarity to participating NHS / HSC organisations on the cost attributions associated with a study.

Further help and guidance

Guidance on the use of the UK Local Information Pack has now been published in the Site Specific page of IRAS Help to help applicants get ready for the change.

If you are making an IRAS Form submission or planning to set up research in an NHS / HSC organisation from 5 June 2019 please read the transition guidance so that you prepare the correct materials.

If you have any queries regarding any of the information provided above, or would like some guidance with regard to implementing your research in a healthcare setting – please get in touch with BU’s Research Ethics team.

You can also take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for documents, links and training opportunities.

Excellent scientific paper by Dr. Alison Taylor

Congratulations to Dr. Alison Taylor and her Ph.D. supervisors on the acceptance of the paper ‘’Scrutinised, judged and sabotaged’: A qualitative video diary study of first-time breastfeeding mothers’ by Midwifery (published by Elsevier) [1].  This is the second paper from Alison’s extremely interesting Ph.D. research, the first one was accepted late last year.  The first article ‘The therapeutic role of video diaries: A qualitative study involving breastfeeding mothers’ was accepted by the international journal Women & Birth  [2].  Alison is Senior Lecturer in Midwifery in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) and Infant Feeding Lead in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences.  Her co-authors are Professor Emerita Jo Alexander, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (in CMMPH) and Prof. Kath Ryan based at the University of Reading.

 

 

 

Reference:

  1. Taylor, A.M., van Teijlingen, E., Ryan, K., Alexander, J.,  2019, Scrutinised, judged and sabotaged’: A qualitative video diary study of first-time breastfeeding mothers. Midwifery, 75: 16-23.
  2. Taylor, A.M., van Teijlingen, E., Alexander, J., Ryan, K., 2018, The therapeutic role of video diaries: A qualitative study involving breastfeeding mothers, Women and Birth, (online first) DOI. 10.1016/j.wombi.2018.08.160

 

Research in the NHS – HR Good Practice Resource Pack updated

Researchers from BU wishing to conduct their research within NHS premises will require the appropriate documentation. There is plenty of guidance available to guide researchers through these processes.

The Human Resources (HR) Good Practice Resource Pack has been reviewed and updated in light of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force in the UK on 25 May 2018.

The HR Good Practice Resource Pack describes the process for handling HR arrangements for researchers and provides a streamlined approach for confirming details of the pre-engagement checks they have undergone with the NHS.

Changes to the document include:

  1. Inclusion of a transparency notice, which informs and clarifies to the applicant the purpose of collecting their personal data, their rights relating to data processing, as well as fulfilling other GDPR transparency requirements.
  2. The data requested in the Research Passport application form has been minimised following discussion with Data Protection and Information Governance Officers and Human Resource experts.
  3. All references to the Data Protection Act 1998 have been updated to DPA 2018.

You can find all the updated documents here along with the RDS workflow here surrounding staffing and delegation.

Remember that there is guidance available at BU with regard to implementing your research in a healthcare setting. Take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for documents, links and training opportunities. You can also get in touch with BU’s Research Ethics team with any queries.

NIHR RDS Residential Research Retreat – 26-28 November 2019

Do you have a great idea for a research project?

Are you planning to apply for research funding?

Do you need a dedicated period of quality time with support to develop your research project?

Dillington House, Somerset. 26 – 28 November 2019.

Applications open on 20 May 2019

The Residential Research Retreat provides protected time with expert coaching and support for you to develop your research proposal to the standard required to be competitive in seeking high quality research funding.

Register your interest with us by filling in the form here

And don’t forget, your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) on the 5th floor of Royal London House. Feel free to pop in and see us, call us on 61939 or send us an email.

NIHR RDS Grant Applications Seminar & Support Event – 2 May 2019

Are you planning to submit a grant application to NIHR?

We are holding a one-day event at the University of Bristol that is aimed at helping you to improve your chances of success.

The morning seminar session is open to anyone to come and hear Simon Goodwin, RfPB Programme Manager for the South West, and RDS advisers give presentations on what makes a good grant proposal. Topics covered will include:

  • what does the NIHR (and in particular RfPB) look for?
  • the application as a marketing document: selling the topic, selling the method, and selling the team
  • the team
  • clarity of description and explanation
  • feasibility issues
  • identifying and avoiding potential pitfalls.

The afternoon support session of one-to-one appointments is for those who would like to discuss their own proposal with an RDS adviser.

This event is FREE and refreshments and lunch will be provided. Places are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. In order to secure your place please register using our online form by 1pm, 24 April 2019Find out more.

And don’t forget, your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) on the 5th floor of Royal London House. Feel free to pop in and see us, call us on 61939 or send us an email.

Wessex patients report positive experience of research for a second year

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex has recently conducted a survey, distributed amongst the 10 NHS organisations in the Wessex region. This is the second time the CRN Wessex patient research experience survey (PRES) has been conducted, and ran throughout October 2018.

400 responses were received anonymously, and showed that 96% of participants had a good experience of taking part in research. It also showed that 98% of research participants surveyed had all the information that they needed in relation to the study.

Copied from the original article

‘Many of those surveyed reported that the research staff supporting them were friendly and helpful and that they had a considerable amount of time to spend with them in order to explain the study and answer any questions.

The survey also highlighted that one of the key motivators for taking part in research was a desire to help others, with one participant commenting: “It’s good to know that this research could help future generations of patients.”’

 

The survey will be conducted again in October of this year.

NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio

Structure

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are one of the largest funders of clinical research in Europe and have a number of funding streams that you can apply for in order to conduct health-related research. The NIHR then has a number of Clinical Research Networks or ‘CRNs’ that are spread out to each region of England. The local CRN is Wessex, based in Hedge End, Southampton.

The ‘Portfolio’

At the heart of CRN activities is the NIHR CRN Portfolio of studies. This consists of high-quality clinical research studies that are eligible for consideration for support from the CRN in England. Adoption onto the portfolio has a number of benefits for researchers, such as help in identifying potential research sites, access to patients and the public to carry out ‘PPI‘ and advice on recruitment strategy at any point during the study. The CRN offers support to researchers via their Study Support Service and likewise via each portfolio manager and their team. You can see a breakdown of each portfolio here on the Wessex CRN page.

The Portfolio and the NHS

Portfolio adoption is usually vital to participating NHS Trusts when considering the research studies they wish to undertake, as they are reimbursed for the resource given to conduct the study (e.g. research nurse support, data manager time).

Each CRN is given a budget for the financial year by the NIHR, which is then distributed to sites based on their recruitment figures.

Requirements

In order to be eligible for portfolio adoption, there are three criteria a study must meet:

  • The study must be ‘research’ (this is stipulated, as often what’s classed as research outside the NHS setting, is sometimes a service evaluation, quality improvement etc. within the NHS – see this table);
  • Have appropriate ethical approval; and Health Research Authority (HRA) Approval where required;
  • Have full research funding – this has to have been awarded via open competition and by the NIHR, other areas of central Government, or an NIHR non-commercial partner (for which there is a list). If the study has received support from multiple funders, then it will be still considered automatically eligible, if one of the funding streams is the NIHR, an area of central Government or a non-commercial partner.

You can read more about study eligibility here, including research funded by overseas partners.

The Portfolio and BU

The source of research funding is the principal determinant of eligibility for NIHR CRN support and so it is encouraged that researchers seek external funding where possible and appropriate, from the NIHR, another area of central Government or one of their non-commercial partners. The amount of funding doesn’t need to substantial in order to be eligible.

For any queries to do with the portfolio or for guidance regarding implementing your research in a healthcare setting, take a look at the Clinical Governance blog. You can also get in touch with BU’s Research Ethics team with any queries.

NIHR Valid Informed Consent training dates

Before agreeing to participate in your study, your participants should receive all the information they require in order to make an informed decision. Once they wish to participate, then an informed consent form should be completed and filed appropriately.
Although the process sounds complex, there are currently a great training opportunities to help familiarise yourself with the background to, and process of informed consent in clinical research.

The Wessex Clinical Research Network are hosting the following training sessions at University Hospital Southampton and Poole Hospital –

  • Wednesday 8th May, 8:30am – 12:30pm, Seminar Room, Level C, West Wing, NIHR WTCRF, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD;
  • Wednesday 8th May, 1:00pm – 5:00pm, Seminar Room, Level C, West Wing, NIHR WTCRF, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD;
  • Monday 20th May, 8:30am – 1:00pm, Seminar Room 3, Education Centre, Ground Floor, Poole Hospital NHS FT Longfleet Road, Poole, BH15 2JB.

If you’re interested in attending, get in touch with the Wessex CRN to book your place.

EDGE International Conference 2019 – CONNECTED

BU takes responsibility for a large number of NHS-based research projects, spanning a number of clinical areas. To better support BU’s position as Sponsor for these studies, last August the university adopted the EDGE system. This allows us to better collaborate with our NHS colleagues and to ensure our research data is held in a secure and central location. Currently the system is being piloted within the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences for a year.

Last week the EDGE International Conference took place at The Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham, hosted by Fergus Walsh, the BBC’s Medical Correspondent, and organised by the Clinical Informatics Research Unit at the University of Southampton.

Over the two days we heard from speakers from across various organisations during breakouts, workshops and meet & greet sessions. Topics ranged from how to get the best out of the system’s features, using EDGE to connect with colleagues, and use of the system to improve the recording of study data and procedures. Given our implementation of EDGE, and the rarity of use by Universities, BU’s Clinical Governance Advisor, Suzy Wignall was invited to present on how BU has integrated the system.

Across the two days we likewise had keynote sessions, including talks from colleagues in New Zealand and Belgium where the system has been implemented. We also heard from parents of children who have been given access to life-saving research projects, improving their quality of life and health conditions, substantially.

The full agenda can be found here, with EDGE’s twitter feed here, showing photos from the event, and numerous tweets by colleagues.

For any guidance regarding implementing your research in a healthcare setting, take a look at the Clinical Governance blog or get in touch with BU’s Research Ethics team with any queries.

Introduction to Good Clinical Practice – 15th May 2019

Are you interested in running your own research project within the NHS? Good Clinical Practice, or ‘GCP’, is a requirement for those wishing to work on clinical research projects in a healthcare setting.

GCP is the international ethical, scientific and practical standard to which all clinical research is conducted. By undertaking GCP, you’re able to demonstrate the rights, safety and wellbeing of your research participants are protected, and that the data collected are reliable.

The next GCP full day session is scheduled for Wednesday 15th January, at Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus (Bournemouth House) – 8:45am – 4:30pm.

The day will comprise of the following sessions:

  • Introduction to research and the GCP standards;
  • Preparing to deliver your study;
  • Identifying and recruiting participants – eligibility and informed consent;
  • Data collection and ongoing study delivery;
  • Safety reporting;
  • Study closure.

If you’re interested in booking a place, please contact Research Ethics.

Remember that support is on offer at BU if you are thinking of introducing your research ideas into the NHS – email the Research Ethics mailbox, and take a look at the Clinical Governance blog.

Congratulations to Anita Immanuel on PhD paper

FHSS PhD student Anita Immanuel just had the first paper from her PhD “Quality of life in survivors of adult haematological malignancy” accepted by the international journal European Journal of Cancer Care.   This international journal is published by Wiley and has an Impact Factor 2.409.

Survivors of haematological malignancies endure long-term effects of both the treatment and the disease. This paper examines factors that influence their quality of lives through reporting on the results of a survey. The survey used previously validated quality of life questionnaires for use in cancer management. Participants were adults over the age of 18 years who had completed treatment for a haematological malignancy and were between 1-5 years post treatment.

Anita is currently working as Lead Clinical Research Nurse at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust.  Her PhD research (see picture above) was conducted at  the Haematology Department of Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which has one of the most extensive research portfolios in the Trust.   Her PhD is supervised by Dr. Jane Hunt (Dept of Nursing & Clinical Science), Dr. Helen McCarthy, Consultant Haematologist at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).

 

Health Research Authority public involvement guidance – third blog post

Involving patients and/or the public in your clinical research is a great way to ensure that your study is designed and set-up in a way that will be attractive to participants. By carrying out PPI (patient and public involvement) you can also ensure that your research will be of benefit, not only to individuals but also the wider population and healthcare in general.

In 2018 the Health Research Authority (HRA) released guidance to help applicants better identify where they have involved the public in their research applications, and the difference that it made to their studies.

In addition, in January of this year two HRA blog posts were advertised, following the journey of a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, who conducted PPI for her research project. The first and second posts can be found on the HRA website alongside other news items.

The HRA have just released the third blog post in which they talk to one of the lay Research Ethics Committee (REC) members who sat on the panel that reviewed the fellow’s study. The post explores the Committee member’s views on how public involvement benefited the research application. You can find it here.

Remember that support is on offer at BU if you are thinking of introducing your research ideas into the NHS, social care or healthcare institutions – email the Research Ethics mailbox, and take a look at the Clinical Governance blog.

NHS R&D Forum response to Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice consultation

The NHS R&D Forum Research Management Working Group have released their thoughts on how they feel that the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice can be refined and improved, to reflect current needs.

‘The Research Management Working Group is a group of members of the NHS R&D Forum with a wealth of experience
and expertise in both managing and delivering research activity within NHS organisations.’

You can read the group’s response here. The consultation is now closed, however the current Code of Practice can be found here.

If you are planning to conduct research with human participants that lack the capacity to consent or who may eventually lack capacity to consent, then the research application must go to an ethics committee that is flagged to review Social Care research.

BU ethics panels are not authorised to undertake this review or issue approval, and so an application via the IRAS system must be made. Further information can be gained via the HRA website and by emailing Research Ethics.

REMINDER – Training opportunity: completing and submitting your IRAS application

Are you currently in the process of designing, setting up or planning your research study, and would like to extend your project into the NHS?

Yes? Then you may want to take advantage of this training opportunity.

Oliver Hopper (Research & Development Coordinator, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital) and Suzy Wignall (Clinical Governance Advisor, RDS)  will be running a training session on how to use, and complete your own application within the IRAS system.

IRAS (Integrated Research Application System) is the system used to gain approvals from the NHS Research Ethics Committee and Health Research Authority, before rolling out your study to NHS Trusts. To support this, the session will include the background to research ethics and the approvals required for NHS research.

The session will also be interactive, and so as participants, you will have the opportunity to go through the form itself and complete the sections, with guidance on what the reviewers are expecting to see in your answers, and tips on how to best use the system.

The training will take place in Studland House – Lansdowne Campus, room 102, this Thursday 28th March at 09:30am – 12:30pm.

Get in touch with Research Ethics if you would like to register your interest and book a place.

HE policy update for the w/e 22nd March 2019

This week we’ve got the government’s international education strategy alongside data that shows the value of international students to the UK.  We’ve got a consultation on dropping BTECs, some less than impressive data on educational attainment, more campaigning on essay mills and of course, our take on the B word.  And SUBU’s Sophie Bradfield explains why there have been posters all over campus with a note about the SUBU elections.

International Students

The Government published their International Education Strategy over last weekend. This publication was announced the Spring Statement by Philip Hammond and is co-authored by the DfE and DFIT. The strategy sets out 5 cross-cutting strategic actions, developed through consultation with the education sector:

  1. Appoint an International Education Champion to spearhead overseas activity.
  2. Ensure Education is GREAT promotes the breadth and diversity of the UK education offer more fully to international audiences.
  3. Continue to provide a welcoming environment for international students and develop an increasingly competitive offer.
  4. Establish a whole-of-government approach by implementing a framework for ministerial engagement with the sector and formalised structures for coordination between government departments both domestically and overseas.
  5. Provide a clearer picture of exports activity by improving the accuracy and coverage of our annually published education exports data.

Other specific actions include, encouraging sector groups to bid into the £5 million GREAT Challenge Fund to promote the entire UK education offer internationally and extending the period of post-study leave for international student visas, considering how the visa process could be improved for applicants and supporting student employment.

These actions are aimed to underpin the following objectives:

  • Drive ambition across the UK education sector: The Government pledge to work in tandem with the education sector, and provide the practical solutions and tools it needs to harness its full international potential.
  • Increase Education Exports to £35bn by 2030: Achieving this ambition will require an average annual growth rate of 4% per year. In order to drive progress against this target, the Government intend to build global market share in international students across the education sectors. They also intend to improve how we capture education exports data in order to monitor our progress against this ambition.
  • Grow the numbers of international higher education students studying in the UK to 600,000 by 2030.

The full Government press release can be viewed here.

  • Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: As we prepare to leave the EU it is more important than ever to reach out to our global partners and maximise the potential of our best assets – that includes our education offer and the international students this attracts.
  • International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said: Our education exports are ripe for growth, and my international economic department stands ready to engage and support UK providers from across the education sector to grow their global activity as we implement this new International Education Strategy.
  • English UK chief executive Sarah Cooper said: “We are excited by the opportunities this bold strategy outlines, both for the promotion of the UK as the premier destination for English language learning, but also the support planned for growing the export of UK ELT quality and expertise to countries across the globe.”
  • Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said: “Universities are critical export earners for the UK and greatly expand our soft power globally. This new strategy shows welcome recognition and ambition from the government towards strengthening our status as an attractive destination for international students. A better post-study work offer will boost the economy and benefit businesses needing high level skills, while a new target for international student recruitment is also the right step.
  • Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “I strongly welcome the publication of this strategy as a signal of a change in direction. I particularly welcome the ambitious target to grow the number of international students to 600,000 by 2030 which sends a strong message of welcome.

HEPI published a response:

  • The overall trajectory for desired growth is actually lower than that assumed by the last Government target. It is also, at 4% a year, much lower than elsewhere – Australia has been enjoying an annual growth rate of over 17%.
  • We are currently very badly off the trajectory to hit this last target, which shows that setting targets far from guarantees success. As page 5 of the new paper makes clear, instead of hitting the target set in 2015 of £30 billion in education export earnings by 2020, we are only currently on course to be on £23 billion by then.
  • Although the new target is less ambitious than the old one and way below what has been achieved in other countries, we can still only hit the new 2030 target if we perform better in the future than in every recent year.
    • In 2017/18 there were 458,000 overseas students studying at UK universities; 20% of the total student population, 54% of full-time taught postgraduates and 49% of full-time research degree students. 139,000 were from the EU and 319,000 from elsewhere.
    • The top sending countries for overseas students have changed over the last few years. China currently sends the most students to the UK, more than 76,000 in 2017/18; the number of Chinese student in the UK has risen by 43% since 2011/12.
    • There has been a general drop in entrants from the major EU countries since 2011/12; Ireland down by 41%, Germany 18%, Greece 16% and France 11%. Italy was the exception with numbers up by more than half.
    • In recent years, the UK has been the second most popular global destination for international students after the USA. In 2016 the US took 28% of higher education students
    • To hit the new target we would clearly need some new policies even if things like Brexit didn’t threaten current successes. While today’s paper is open about being the start of a new journey, it doesn’t include policies of the scale needed to guarantee success – the section on further education, for example, is particularly unambitious.

The HoC library has published FAQs about international students and EU students in the UK.

  • In 2017/18 there were 458,000 overseas students studying at UK universities; 20% of the total student population, 54% of full-time taught postgraduates and 49% of full-time research degree students. 139,000 were from the EU and 319,000 from elsewhere.
  • The top sending countries for overseas students have changed over the last few years. China currently sends the most students to the UK, more than 76,000 in 2017/18; the number of Chinese student in the UK has risen by 43% since 2011/12.
  • There has been a general drop in entrants from the major EU countries since 2011/12; Ireland down by 41%, Germany 18%, Greece 16% and France 11%. Italy was the exception with numbers up by more than half.
  • In recent years, the UK has been the second most popular global destination for international students after the USA. In 2016 the US took 28% of higher education students

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International Pathways (Kaplan) published new research commissioned from London Economics on the financial contributions of international students who graduate from higher education and stay in the UK to work.

In September 2018, the Migration Advisory Committee failed to recommend the creation of a new post-study work visa, at least until there is “a proper evaluation, by us or others, of what students are doing in the post-study period and when they move onto other work permits.”. The HEPI / Kaplan report shows the tax and National Insurance payments of just one cohort of international students who stay in the UK to work after their studies amounts to £3.2 billion. This is made up of:

  • over £1 billion in income tax;
  • over £700 million in employees’ National Insurance Contributions;
  • over £800 million in employers’ National Insurance Contributions; and
  • nearly £600 million in extra VAT payments.

Graduates from other EU countries who stay here to work contribute £1.2 billion and graduates from the rest of the world contribute £2.0 billion.

The analysis additionally shows international graduates who find employment in the UK typically do so in sectors that suffer from acute skills shortages. Rather than displacing domestic graduates, international graduates are plugging skills shortages.

The study also measures the impact of the Home Office limiting post-study work rights in 2012. This costs the Treasury £150 million each year in foregone receipts – that is, £750 million every five years or just over £1 billion since post-study work was first restricted in this way in 2012.

  • Nick Hillman, Director of HEPI, said: “Universities firmly believe the Government’s biggest mistake in higher education has been to discourage international students from coming here. A hostile environment has been in place for nearly a decade. It is a testament to the strengths of our higher education sector that the number of international students has not fallen, but it is an absolute tragedy that we have been unable to keep up with the pace of growth in other countries. The Home Office used to say there is insufficient evidence to show international students bring benefits to the UK. We proved this to be false last year, when we showed international students contribute £20 billion a year net to the UK. But, afterwards, the Migration Advisory Committee claimed there was still a lack of evidence to show international students who stay in the UK to work make a positive contribution. We can now disprove this too. Just one cohort of international students who stay in the UK to work contribute over £3 billion to the UK Exchequer – and it would be even more if policymakers had not reduced post-study work rights in 2012. The hard evidence shows a new approach is overdue.”
  • Linda Cowan, Senior Vice President, Kaplan International Pathways, said: “Restricting post-study work rights for international graduates has hampered efforts to attract students to the UK, with the number arriving here growing more slowly than in other countries. Proposals in the Government’s White Paper to introduce a minimum salary threshold of £30,000 would undoubtedly make us even less competitive. …..we need to reinstate attractive and competitive post-study work rights for all international students. The recommendations in the Migration Advisory Committee report would continue to place the UK behind other countries. We need to go further.”
  • Maike Halterbeck, Associate Director at London Economics, and lead author of the report, said: “A detailed analysis of the most up-to-date labour market data has illustrated the huge economic contribution of international graduates to the UK economy in the first 10 years following graduation. However, the contribution of more than £3 billion hides the fact that in the longer term, this contribution is likely to be many times higher as international graduates make the UK their home.”

HEPI published a response to HEPI’s International Students research from Shadow Higher and Further Education Minister, Gordon Marsden MP

“Today’s report underlines everything Labour and the sector have been saying about the vital contribution international students’ play to our universities’ and the economy. The Home Office have consistently risked damaging our world-class HE sector and international brand through their hostile attitude towards international students. As HEPI have pointed out, the Government’s strategy and targets are meagre and neglect the opportunities for HE at FE Colleges.”

Changes to BTECs and other qualifications

The government is consulting on the future of certain qualifications. The consultation is about “only providing public funding for qualifications that meet key criteria on quality, purpose, necessity and progression” and “not providing public funding for qualifications for 16 to 19 year olds that overlap with T-levels or A-levels”.  It is really interesting – they seem to be very focussed on a twin track approach from 16.

  • Para 42: In the Skills Plan we set out an ambition to provide students with a clear choice between high quality technical and academic options. With this clarity in mind, T Levels have been designed to be the gold standard level 3 technical qualification, with a primary purpose of offering a direct route into skilled employment or into relevant technical options in the form of higher levels of technical study or apprenticeships. We believe this clarity and distinctiveness of role should apply to all qualifications at levels 3 and below, giving all students clear choices in the qualifications they study.
  • Para 49: “The number of students entering university using Applied General qualifications (or similar qualifications that pre-date the introduction of this category of qualifications in performance tables) has increased significantly in recent years, coinciding with the growth of entry to higher education overall. This is especially the case for students from poorer or some black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Many students entering with Applied General qualifications are lower-achieving in comparison to students who gain a place at university through A Levels, and are more likely to drop out. We want to understand the role of Applied General and other qualifications in supporting progression to successful outcomes and whether, in some cases, students would be better served by taking T Levels, a level 3 apprenticeship or A Levels”
  • Para 62: We want there to be clearer and simpler options for those ready and able to study at level 3 – T Levels and A Levels for those choosing classroom based study, or apprenticeships for those choosing a work-based option.

The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has also issued a press release on the announcement.

  • Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: We have made huge progress to boost the quality of education and training on offer for young people. But we also want to make sure that all options available to students are high-quality and give them the skills they need to get a great job, go on to further education or training, and employers can be confident they can access the workforce they need for the future. We can’t legislate for parity of esteem between academic and technical routes post 16. But we can improve the quality of the options out there and by raising quality, more students and parents will trust these routes.
  • Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said: Young people need clear, high-quality and easy to understand options at 16 – whether that’s A-levels, new T-levels, or doing an apprenticeship. Each route is valued by employers, but it can sometimes be difficult to understand the difference between the thousands of qualifications and different grading systems out there. The Government is absolutely right to address this by giving employers a part in shaping the reforms, ensuring qualifications relate to the modern world and give young people the skills they need to succeed.

BU will be preparing a response, working with Academic Services, as this will affect access and opportunities for potential students.

Educational attainment

The Resolution Foundation has published a report on the slowdown in educational attainment growth and its effects. The report argues that while improvements to the country’s human capital stock have been driven by increasingly educated cohorts of young people flowing into the labour market, the pace of growth in young people’s educational attainment has more than halved since the start of the 21st century.

  • Recent decades have been characterised by a marked boost in educational attainment:  the proportion of 22-64 year olds whose education stopped at a GCSE-or-equivalent level has fallen by one-third; the proportion who went on to attain a degree or higher has more than doubled.
  • Attainment growth has been spread across the labour market, as well as across gender and ethnicity: While the wider 25-28 year old degree attainment rate more than doubled from 17 per cent in 1996-98 to 40 per cent in 2016-18, the share of young black women with degrees more than trebled (from 13 per cent to 49 per cent), as did the share of young Indian women with degrees (from 22 to 75 per cent). These patterns mean that the level of variation in attainment that exists between sex and ethnicity groups has fallen.
  • Large attainment gaps persist
  • The pace of educational attainment growth has more than halved since the turn of the century, and this slowdown has been widely spread.
  • This slowdown matters because educational attainment growth can deliver higher living standards – and cannot be dismissed as simply the result of migration or skills saturation
  • Skill shortage roles that are migrant reliant and pay below proposed salary thresholds indicate where further skills demand may emerge post-Brexit: The fact that these 1.4 million migrants work under conditions that would fail to pass proposed migration rules does not imply that they would be lost were the proposed migration policy changes to be implemented, and the possibilities of adjusting to a different migration regime should not be understated.
  • Employers are also suppliers of skills, but work-related training has long been directed away from lower-qualified staff, including those whom employers think lack necessary skills. For instance during 2016-18, 22-64 year olds with Master’s degrees were almost three times as likely to report having recently received work-related training as their counterparts with qualifications below GCSE A*-C-equivalent levels.

Essay mills

The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has called on online platforms to help tackle the use of essay writing services used by students as university.  Damian Hinds has challenged PayPal to stop processing payments for ‘essay mills’ as part of an “accelerated drive to preserve and champion the quality of the UK’s world-leading higher education system”. The Government states that technology giants such as Google and YouTube have responded to these calls and are taking steps to remove hundreds of advertisements for essay writing services and promotional content from their sites.

  • Damian Hinds said: Sadly there have always been some people who opt for the easy way and the internet has seen a black market in essay writing services spring up. However, no matter how easy it is to access these services now, it doesn’t change the fact that this is cheating, and students must understand it is unacceptable.
  • Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said: Developing your knowledge and applying it at a high standard is at the very core of a university education, but these essay writing companies and the students paying for these services are undermining the foundations that our HE system is built upon.

The press release also reaffirms that department will be publishing an Education Technology strategy this spring to help the industry tackle some of the key challenges facing the education sector. This will include encouraging tech companies to identify how anti-cheating software can tackle the growth of essay mills and stay one step ahead of the cheats.

The FT have an article here:

  • The qualification has a cost (fees, living costs, the cost of debt and the academic labour to acquire it), and an expected value in the labour market. If the individual realises he or she can’t perform the labour, they buy it. Their qualification is a kind of forgery that is very difficult to spot — a “prime fakement”.
  • So how many people are cheating? Cuckoo essays are hard to measure, because most of the contracts are privately arranged between companies and individuals. The businesses advertise on social media — YouTube has deleted adverts for these services — and even, in one case, on the London Underground.
  • …Historically, the authorities came down brutally on forgery, even for what now seem like minor instances of coin clipping. The fear was that such practices had the capacity to undermine the entire monetary system. Forgery has a natural inflationary risk, threatening to dilute the value of money, which threatens those who have already hoarded it. When too many prime fakements are exposed, there is a risk that trust in the real thing also disappears. At that point, no one will accept it as collateral any more.

Lifelong learning

The Independent Commission on Lifelong Learning, convened by the Liberal Democrats, have published a report on Personal Education and Skills Accounts. The full report and full list of recommendations can be viewed here.

This report sets out a vision for a culture of all-age learning in England, at the centre of which is a nationally available Personal Education and Skills Account (PESA). The report proposes that PESA would be an account opened at the age of 18 for adults in England, topped up with government funding, to help access learning and training opportunities throughout life. The committee state their belief that PESAs would widen access to adult learning and transform the landscape of post-18 education while putting the further education and skills sectors on a more sustainable financial footing.

  • The government will make three contributions to the accounts, each worth £3,000, when the account holder turns 25, 40 and 55.
  • Account holders and their employers will also be able to make payments into the accounts. This will be incentivised by government offering tax relief and/or match-funding on contributions made by account holders.
  • From the age of 25 onwards, account holders will be able to use money saved in the accounts to pay for education and training courses which are delivered through accredited providers.
  • Accounts will remain open and available to account holders throughout their life.

Association of College’s Chief Executive, David Hughes, who sits on the Commission said: “This is a timely and helpful report as the consensus grows from all parts of Westminster and from business that the time has finally come to rebalance the provision of education and skills to create a truly world class post-18 education system. As our country’s skills gaps widen further, and as the world of work continues to change at such a rapid pace, it is right that people are given more control and agency over their training and learning at all stages of their lives – Personal Education and Skills Accounts have the potential to play an important role in this.”

A Universities UK spokesperson said: “We welcome this independent report which highlights the economic, social and health benefits of continuing in education. It makes an important contribution to the debate on how we can continue to develop the highly skilled workforce our country needs. Anyone with the potential to benefit from doing so should have the opportunity to continue their education, regardless of background, circumstance or age.

Brexit

It’s all about process now.  And process, the order in which things happen and the timing, will determine the outcome – with no deal exit on 29th March still at least technically the default and no deal exit on or before 11th April still (as at the time of writing) the most likely result.

So what happens now?  To take advantage of the EU unconditional offer of an extension to April 12th (the last date for calling EU elections), Parliament doesn’t need to approve the withdrawal agreement but does need to agree to change the current exit date by passing a statutory instrument.   The motion for this is planned for Monday.  Note in the letter to the EU the UK government have agreed to the extension.  The longer extension to 22 May offered by the EU applies if Parliament approves the withdrawal agreement before 29th March.

These are much gentler terms than were predicted.  But it isn’t just kicking the can down the road.  There will have to be a majority in Parliament “for” something this time – i.e. either “for” the withdrawal agreement or “for” the extension of the exit date.  And it all depends on the motions filed by the government and amendments made. But if MV 3 is rejected, we will be in exactly the same position as we are now, for another two weeks.

This could change if there is:

  • an amendment to one of next week’s motions on indicative votes, which is passed, and then
  • one of the indicative votes is passed that requires a long extension (like a renegotiation of the deal to make it softer or a plan to have a second referendum), and then
  • MPs vote for a long extension to implement that.

Right now it looks as if (a) might happen but not (b) or (c).  so we’d be back to no deal unless the mood music changes (partly because of attempts to get (b) and (c) through), so that MV4 finally passes before 12th April – but there is also another way – the PM said she didn’t know what would happen if the withdrawal agreement was rejected again and it would be “up to the House”.  It seems options are being explored on what that might look like. See this BBC article.

Remember the big thing that a week ago was going to get the deal through – Geoffrey Cox was going to change his legal advice and persuade the DUP?  That hasn’t happened and no-one is talking about it anymore.

In an interesting development on Friday morning, Kwasi Kwarteng MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DExEU) said that he expected that there might be a free vote on some things (but not the meaningful vote).  Free votes really would make a difference to the arithmetic – but they may only get them on the indicative votes.

And those of you wondering why the Speaker’s rule about not bringing the withdrawal agreement back isn’t getting in the way of all this?  Of course the latest EU offer and their own approval of the agreement makes it all different now.

A government motion on extension filed for Monday refers to  the PM’s statement about extension on 15th March– things have changed since then.  Amendments text on twitter:

It’s all very complicated, but essentially the most likely outcome (unless there is a major change over the weekend) still appears to be no deal, either on 29th or, if as expected, the extension is passed, on 12th April.

Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology

We hosted POST at BU a couple of weeks ago, to discuss policy impact, and some good conversations were held on the day and since.  This is a reminder that the POST work plan provides further opportunities for staff to engage with the Parliamentary agenda.  Click on the links to learn more.

Biology and health

In production:

  • Advances in cancer treatment
  • Alternatives to plastic food packaging
  • Causes of obesity
  • Climate change and vector-borne disease
  • Outward medical tourism
Scheduled:

  • Blockchain technology in the food chain
  • Industry influence on public health policy
  • Researching gambling
Energy and environment

In production:

  • Adaptation and mitigation in agriculture
  • Assessing and restoring soil microbiomes
  • Climate change and fisheries
  • Climate change and wildfire frequency
  • Developments in wind power
  • Environmental gain
  • Food waste
  • Natural hazard risk assessment
Scheduled:

  • Insect population decline
Physical sciences and ICT

In production:

  • Integrating health and social care
  • Key EU space programmes
  • Online safety education for young people
Scheduled:

  • Civilian drones
Social sciences

In production:

  • Approaches to reducing violent crime, focusing on early interventions
  • Integrating health and social care
  • Research glossary
Scheduled:

  • Improving eyewitness testimony

That’s a wrap – Full-time SUBU officer elections 2019

Sophie Bradfield from SUBU brings us her latest update – this time looking at democracy in action in SUBU.

In spring each year, Students’ Unions around the country run elections across-campus for current students to run for and elect their full-time representatives for the next academic year. These representatives are called Full-Time Union Officers (sometimes referred to as Sabbaticals) and they lead the direction of the Students’ Union, representing and championing the collective student voice. Requirements for electing Full-Time Union Officers are set out in the Education Act 1994 as well as the Union Constitution and By-laws and are usually carried out using an online voting system.

Elections for SUBU’s Full-Time Union Officers (FTOs), wrapped up on Thursday at 5pm after a week of creative campaigns from the 26 students running for election, reaching out to fellow students at BU.

There are 5 full-time paid positions and the new officers will take up their positions in June. Each role has a different remit reflecting different areas of the student experience covering: the academic experience, student welfare, extra-curricular activities, sustainability, volunteering, democracy, the student voice and much more. These roles are: President; Vice President Activities; Vice President Community; Vice President Education; and Vice President Welfare & Equal Opportunities. Officers work closely with fellow students, Union and University staff to deliver projects, campaigns and create or enact policies to improve the student experience at BU and nationally across the Higher Education sector.

Student candidates campaign for these positions on a 300 word manifesto (you can read them here), setting out their pledges which they hope to achieve if elected. Elected Full-Time Union Officers work on achieving their manifesto aims which students have voted for, as well as representing the collective student voice, for example at University meetings. FTOs act on student feedback throughout the year and SUBU collects student feedback to shape work through a number of methods, ensuring SUBU is led and driven by students. For example the student representation system collects feedback through a tool called SimOn and SUBU receives around 10,000 individual comments a year (which we also report to relevant services in the University). We also receive student feedback through meetings, committees, forums, surveys and focus groups. 

Full-Time Officers are accountable to the student body that elected them and termly general meetings are held (called Big Student Meetings) for students to hear reports from their elected officers and ask questions. Big Student Meetings are also a time for students to put forward policy ideas and vote on or reject policies and this then becomes mandated work for Officers and the Students’ Union. A quorum of 100 students is required at a General Meeting for the policies passed to be valid. This ensures decisions are made by the collective student voice.

SUBU’s current FTOs will be in place until June. You can watch a livestream of the results for next academic year’s team on the SUBU Bournemouth Facebook from 7pm in Friday.

Consultations

Click here to view the updated consultation tracker. Email us on policy@bournemouth.ac.uk if you’d like to contribute to any of the current consultations.

Other news

The EU have reached “partial” agreement on Horizon Europe, the 2021-27 replacement for H2020, according to Research Professional.

  • The following day, the League of European Research Universities hailed the EU institutions’ “very impressive” work and said it approved of the content of the programme “on the basis of a first analysis”.  Leru praised the decision to use more ring-fenced funding to increase the involvement of researchers in low-participation countries, rather than programme-wide targets.
  • But Leru’s secretary-general Kurt Deketelaere warned that unresolved issues such as the programme’s rules of association for non-EU countries should be agreed “as soon as possible”.  He cautioned that the agreement will be subject to final approval by a new legislature and administration after the European elections in May. “Let’s hope that the next Parliament and Commission don’t feel the urge to reconsider substantial parts of this partial political agreement,” he said.
  • Markus Beyrer, the director-general of the industry lobby group BusinessEurope, welcomed the agreement but warned that subsequent negotiations on the budget would be “tough”. He and Leru called on the EU to ensure that at least €120 billion is devoted to Horizon Europe, rather than the €83.5bn in 2018 prices proposed by the Commission.  

The Welsh Government has launched a Degree Apprenticeship Scheme, supported by £20m of funding. The university-run scheme will be fully funded by the Welsh Government, with all students’ fees paid for. Courses will be available in key sectors for economic growth identified by the Welsh Government, including IT, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing.

The House of Commons library has issued a summary of funding for adult further education since 2010 and a summary of funding for 16-19 education since 2010.

Closing the gap, published by The Nuffield Trust, The Health Foundation and The King’s Fund says that the Government should introduce grants for student nurses if they want to reduce the workforce shortfall.

Shakira Martin has a guest blog on HEPI on widening participation

  • “What we need is greater investment in student support, with students able to expect to receive a minimum living income. We need maintenance grants, EMA and nursing bursaries and an apprenticeship minimum wage that’s at the level of a living wage. But it won’t be enough to increase student income alone, because doing so causes multiple generations to face increasingly unmanageable debts. How can we expect to improve social mobility when the money from the debts of the poorest students ends up back in the pockets of those already up at the top of the ladder? That is why we also need to see creative initiatives such as accommodation subsidies introduced for low-income students, private landlords halving rent on accommodation over the summer and discount cards for 50 per cent reductions on train fares and cheaper and better bus services. To make these dreams a reality we need the Government to step up and deliver for students by delivering greater investment in early years education and significant investment in IAG for students.”

Subscribe!

To subscribe to the weekly policy update simply email policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

JANE FORSTER                                            |                       SARAH CARTER

Policy Advisor                                                                     Policy & Public Affairs Officer

Follow: @PolicyBU on Twitter                   |                       policy@bournemouth.ac.uk