University of Wales Lampeter Newsletter

Student Rights & Whistleblowers UK

Bringing Light to Injustice and Maladministration

Student Support Site

Public Consultation over the Future of the University of Wales Lampeter

February 27th, 2009 · No Comments

Thursday, 26 February 2009

To:
Elin Jones – Local Assembly Member and Rural Affairs Minister
The Welsh Assembly Education Department
Chief Executive, Education & Community Services – Ceredigion County Council
Brinley Jones – President University of Wales Lampeter
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
Dr Medwyn Hughes and the Merger Committee – Trinity College Carmarthen
BBC – Wales Today & Dragon’s Eye
ITV News

Public Consultation over the Future of the University of Wales Lampeter

And

A Proposal to turn Lampeter University into an FE Community College For the benefit of Local People Offering Education, Training, Degree Courses, Community Education & Rural Development

Having spent 16 years in social work management I have spent the last 5 years doing what I consider to be my public duty to expose the institutionalised abuse of students that takes place within this public funded body. Given the brick wall of legislation that prevents any form of public accountability, and a policy of concealment by the Welsh Assembly that has been extremely difficult; public criticism by the Quality Assurance Agency has vindicated my complaints but has only scratched the surface as they refuse to accept complaints by students or the public.

However, proposed changes to the role of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) and the introduction of the Charity Act 2006 will take the lid off the corruption that success public servants have sought to conceal. Unlike its English counterpart the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) the Charity Commission to act as regulator for Welsh Higher Education instead of HEFCW.

I have recently approached the President of the University with regard to the resolution of long standing complaints but I received the usual Lampeter run around followed by a statement that the matter is closed. But, whoever takes over a merged establishment will find that these matters are far from closed, in fact, they have only stored up problems for the future.

Despite numerous threats of legal action paid for from public funds to conceal corruption I also have evidence that the student complaints scheme as administered by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) under the Higher Education Act 2004 is being perverted.

For anyone like myself who has worked in any form of public service in local government will find this sort of conduct unimaginable, being able to pick a phone a get solicitors to threaten a complainant out of public funds is a nice perk unavailable to all except those that work at a Welsh University. Having had the responsibility for a local authority budget for 16 years, I appreciate the scrutiny that auditors put to the appropriate use of public funds. However, under the Public Audit Wales Act 2004 we the taxpaying public are banned from making any complaint concerning the misuse of public money in Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) and the powers of the Auditor General for Wales to intervene have been removed.

HEFCW has refused to investigate my complaints and in any case, their rules prevent any form of investigation of financial mismanagement if it relates to a student complaint. For these reasons, it will be for the Charity Commission to investigate the misuse of charity funds for the concealment of corruption.

HEFCW has also refused to incorporate any form of public consultation with regard to the future of this public funded body. Moreover, it seems that academics at Lampeter consider themselves to good to be associated with likes of a training college such as Trinity, and the prospect of any form of accountability to the people who pay their wages would send most of them into an apoplexy.

For these reasons, I fail to see how this proposed merger can succeed, the new University is going to walk straight into a number of serious corruption complaints by the Charity Commission and probably an investigation by the OIA who by then will probably be naming and shaming offending Universities.

Moreover, by 2010 the £1,800 the subsidy given to every student living in Wales will be removed so Welsh students will gravitate towards universities outside of Wales and away from places like Lampeter irrespective of any merger. Only those from deprived backgrounds will remain and English student numbers will continue to dwindle.

Apart from a change in the law, the only way the Welsh Assembly can intervene in Lampeter is by transferring it into the Further Education Sector whereupon it can intervene to resolve these issues of corruption rather than leave the Charity Commission to do the job for them. From my own political viewpoint, I find the existence of an unaccountable corrupt elite unacceptable in any civilised society.

Despite numerous threats of legal action and high court injunctions, we still have freedom of speech and in that respect, I have been able to publish my experiences and concerns to the internet. Since news of the merger visits to the website lamp-post.info from around the world has quadruple with search terms such as Lampeter Corruption, University of Wales Lampeter Fraud or Scandal, as well as Lampeter Trinity Merger.

I therefore propose that the Welsh Assembly intervenes and sets up a process of public consultation to consider the future of our public funded body in keeping with the standards expected in a civilised society. No other form of public service or FE College would get away with this appalling situation.

I also suggest that due consideration is given to turning Lampeter into a FE Community College that is going to breakdown barriers and offer resources to local people with regard to youth provision, community groups, education, and training. It should also incorporate the concept of Community Education assisting local groups in the pursuit of whatever public benefit they wish to achieve. I fail to see the point of wasting our money on attracting students from England when it can be put to better use serving the local community.

Lampeter is in the middle of nowhere and will always have a problem attracting university students but this weakness could be its strength in what it could offer a very wide rural area incorporating rural issues, rural development, and educational tourism to attract visitors from home and abroad. Trinity College would then be able to offer degree courses in partnership with the College without the problems of an internecine merger.

Tags: Public Consultation