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UPP Foundation Response to the Government’s Higher Education Restructuring Plan

16th July 2020 by Richard Brabner

The UK Government has today (16 July 2020) announced details of a restructuring package for higher education institutions due to the impact of Covid-19.

In response, Richard Brabner, Director of UPP Foundation (which established the Civic University Commission), said:

“We welcome the Government’s recognition of the important role universities play in local and regional economies. When analysing a university’s local and regional impact, the Higher Education Restructuring Regime Board should take into account its commitment to develop and implement an effective Civic University Agreement, based on a robust analysis of the economic and social needs of its local community.

“We do however caution the Government about the implied value the restructuring regime places on Students’ Unions. A Conservative government should intuitively understand that Students’ Unions are critical to the student experience because they enable the development and growth of ‘little platoons’. Thousands of university clubs and societies depend upon, and are supported by, well-resourced Students’ Unions. The Government has legitimate concerns about free speech but any action it takes should not weaken the vital function Students’ Unions play in campus civil society.”



Notes to editors:

  1. The UPP Foundation is a registered charity that offers grants to universities, charities and other higher education bodies to tackle the biggest issues in the higher education sector. The UPP Foundation was created in 2016 by University Partnerships Programme (UPP), the UK’s leading provider of on-campus residential and academic accommodation infrastructure.
  2. In 2018-19 the UPP Foundation ran the Civic University Commission, which looked at the economic, social and cultural role universities play in their local communities. The key recommendation from the Commission was the establishment of Civic University Agreements. CUAs are strategic plans rooted in a robust analysis of local need. Co-signed by local partners, the Agreements are a public declaration of university’s civic priorities and how they will deliver them in partnership with other local organisations. Over 60 universities have pledged to develop and implement a Civic University Agreement. The UPP Foundation has also published guidance for developing a Civic University Agreement.
  3. This year, the UPP Foundation, Department for Education, Carnegie Trust UK and Arts Council England established the Civic University Network. Hosted at Sheffield Hallam University, this body supports best practice across the higher education sector.


Richard Brabner

Richard Brabner is the Director of UPP Foundation

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