Name and background
- How has the merger come about?
The merger of the Equality Challenge Unit, the Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education followed the recommendations of the Bell Review for a single sector agency for equality and diversity, learning and teaching, and leadership and governance in higher education.
All three agencies which have formed Advance HE have great track records in their respective fields. They are stronger together – enriched by their combined commitment and expertise in Advance HE’s more rounded and complete offer.
- How did the name Advance HE come about?
The name ‘Advance HE’ followed consultation between the three agency boards and reflects Advance HE’s mission to champion the continuous enhancement of teaching and learning, equality and diversity, and leadership and governance in higher education, both within the UK and globally.
- Does the new agency have charitable status?
Like its forerunners, Advance HE is a charity committed to the public good. The Charities Commission for England and Wales, and the Scottish Charity Regulator have approved Advance HE’s charitable status.
- What’s Advance HE’s position in the sector?
Advance HE is ‘of and for the sector’, with a board that is representative of the broad cross-section of organisations engaged with Advance HE, including representatives from UUK and GuildHE who originally formed the respective agencies and have supported the merger from the outset.
Summary: All three agencies forming Advance HE have great track records in their respective fields. But they are stronger together – enriched by their combined commitment and expertise in Advance HE’s more rounded and complete offer.
Leadership, organisation and structure
- Who will lead Advance HE?
Alison Johns is the chief executive of Advance HE. She was previously the chief executive of the Leadership Foundation.
Advance HE’s Chief Executives Group has been appointed. More details can be found here.
- What governance arrangements are planned?
The board currently consists of nine members, including Nigel Carrington, who is chair of the board. One board member was nominated by each of the three legacy agency boards. UUK and GuildHE nominated a board member each. An open recruitment process was then undertaken, from which four more members were recruited. A further recruitment process is currently underway to ensure the board has the right collective skills and experience.
Summary: The senior leadership and working groups are already into the detail of their planning and are making very positive strides towards the formal merger and “go-live” date of 1 August 2018.
Current work, consultation and continuity
- What are the arrangements for transition to a new membership model?
During 2018-19 we will deliver a transitional range of products and services. There will be a further consultation later this year to determine our integrated membership model and offer for the academic year 2019-20.
- When will the sector be consulted?
An independent consultation agency has undertaken one-to-one qualitative interviews with a cross-section of vice-chancellors representative of the widest extent of the members of the three organisations.
The consultation is an iterative process, ensuring the insight from each stage feeds into the development of the next stage. It includes a quantitative survey that will be open to a wide range of stakeholders.
The outcomes will inform Advance HE’s membership offer, range of associated products and services and structure for the academic year 2019-20.
- How will the core work of ECU, HEA and LFHE continue under Advance HE?
Advance HE will continue the ECU’s work on equality, diversity and inclusion across all four nations of the UK, including colleges in Scotland, as well as its international partnerships. The Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters will remain a key focus of these efforts.
The HEA Fellowship scheme, aligned to the Professional Standards Framework (PSF), will be retained. HEA Fellowship post-nominals, will also be unaffected by the merger. Institutions with HEA Accredited programmes will continue to confer HEA Fellowship on successful participants on those programmes.
Advance HE will continue the Leadership Foundation’s work on leadership, governance and management, including delivery of flagship programmes such as Aurora and the Top Management Programme.
- Will ECU’s work and partnership with Scottish colleges continue in Advance HE
Yes, Scottish colleges are key stakeholders for Advance HE and we recognise the differences in the college context in Scotland and the necessity and value of our partnership with the college sector.
We will build on ECU’s relationships and commitments to Scottish colleges.
Summary: While the details of the propositions are to be shaped and informed by the sector consultation, leadership and governance, equality and diversity, and teaching excellence will remain core to Advance HE’s work.
Institutional membership 2018-19
- What are the arrangements for a transition to a new membership model?
The chief executive has contacted institutions with the details of Advance HE’s membership for 2018-19. This will be a transitional year and Advance HE has undertaken to give a price reduction on current membership fees. Advance HE will be consulting on a new membership model for 2019-20 later this year.
What is the timeline for the merger?
- December 2017
Boards unanimous vote to merge
- January 2018
Charity Commission approval. Advance HE name announced.
- March 2018
Vesting Day and sector consultation starts.
- April/May 2018
HEA/LFHE membership letters for 2018-19 at reduced membership rate. Internal restructure begins.
- July 2018
- August 2018
Advance HE ready for business - Transition year.
- September/October 2018
Consult and build new membership model for year 2019-20