What does one do when one obtains hard evidence that the Governors are themselves violating the Nolan principles? Does one need to go public with this evidence in order to stop the Governors from continuing their abuses?
What if HEFCE Board Members are in on the improper behavior? What would one do if one had evidence that a HEFCE Board Member engaged in collusion with a panel of a Board of Governors hearing a grievance appeal?
Where does one go with all of this?-----------------------------------------------
- The seven principles of public life as articulated by the Nolan Committee, are integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. They apply to higher education institutions and holders of related titles and offices.
Quote from Nolan report: '...Institutions of higher and further education should make it clear that the institution permits staff to speak freely and without being subject to disciplinary sanctions or victimisation about academic standards and related matters, providing that they do so lawfully, without malice, and in the public interest...'
Also from: Whistleblowing Revisited - Tenth Report, January 2005
...After the first comprehensive review of how whistleblowing is working in the UK, the Committee on Standards in Public Life made some wide-ranging and important recommendations. In its report the Committee stresses the importance of leadership and sets out whistleblowing best practice.
One of its recommendations was that: Leaders of public bodies should reiterate their commitment to the effective implementation of the Public Interest Disclosure 1998 and ensure its principles and provisions are widely known and applicable in their own organisation. They should commit their organisations to following the four key elements of good practice i.e.
(i) Ensuring that staff are aware of and trust the whistleblowing avenues;
(ii) Provision of realistic advice about what the whistleblowing process means for openness, confidentiality and anonymity;
(iii) Continual review of how the procedures work in practice; and
(iv) Regular communication to staff about the avenues open to them.
HEFCE will reply:
'...Higher education institutions are legally independent corporate bodies. Their councils or boards of governors are responsible for the effective management and future development of their affairs. They are ultimately responsible for all affairs of the institution.
The fourth edition of the Committee of University Chairmen's 'Guide for Members of Governing Bodies of Universities and Colleges in the UK' (HEFCE 2004/40) was published in 2004, in association with the UK funding bodies.
The guide outlines the legal status of institutions, their governance, and the responsibilities of their governing bodies. It shares and encourages appropriate adoption of current good practice across the higher education sector. A voluntary code of practice is proposed to which, it is hoped, [Hope is a great thing and pigs fly] all institutions will be able to subscribe or explain where their practices differ...'
HEFCE will also say:
'...Allegations concerning higher education institutions: HEFCE policy and procedure
The HEFCE and its Audit Service receive, from time to time, a range of allegations of financial irregularity or impropriety, mismanagement, waste and fraud in higher education institutions, from a variety of sources. The attached annex sets out our procedure for dealing with allegations.
We welcome these allegations insofar as they are brought to our attention in good faith and relate to our statutory functions. Our public interest disclosure, or whistleblowing, procedure has been in existence for a number of years and it has guided the Audit Service in dealing with allegations received. The volume of cases is increasing, and the interaction with those making a public interest disclosure is becoming more complex. Therefore, the policy and procedure have been reviewed and redrafted, informed by legal advice.
If you require any further information, please contact Paul Greaves, tel 0117 931 7378, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now let us think about this... If you are about to whistleblow and you are employed by an HEI, the chances are that you will loose your job and HEFCE will not be able to stop this. When they make their enquiries with your employer, they will mention your name to them. They will not be able to demand that your university follows correct precedures in dismissing you. Also, there are many university managers that have close working relationships with HEFCE...
Back to the original sin (question): Where does one go with all of this? The local MP is unlikely to challenge the local university. The appropriate minister is caught up in the post-Blair situation - He recently referred us to the courts and Employment Laws wishing us good luck.
Now ask: At what price to the victim/target, the taxpayer, the students and education in general? How many more good academics will be bullied out of their jobs?