My attention was drawn to a debate on The Times Higher Education Supplement website this morning about the new University status conferred on BPP
I decided to put a number of points. This is the exchange so far…..
Charon QC 27 July, 2010
Let me deal with a number of points:
1. Freedom of Information Act
You state…”What you fail to mention above is that those bodies that inspect BPP are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and so the reports in relation to BPP are available. The QAA reports about BPP College are on the front page of our website, so you could not get much more public than that. Students are entitled to information through the Data Protection Act etc. We have an independent chair of our council, with independent members (who have a majority vote), with external examiners from Uk HEI’s, independent representatives on programme approval panels etc. So BPP has in place a lot of external scrutiny.”
It took me a great deal of time and prodding of your colleague Peter Crisp, CEO, of BPP Law School to get access to the QAA report. I had a range of excuses, including ‘The QAA report is a confidential document’ for his not being able to provide this – despite the QAA saying to me in writing that BPP was at liberty to publish if they chose to do so.
I wrote about this several times:
Below is a link to one of these pieces, from which it is possible to track back
For you to now trumpet that you publish the QAA report on the front of your website – when it took many months for you to do so is at best ironic at worst disingenuous.
The College of Law – for the record, published the QAA report into degree awarding powers immediately I asked for access to same.
They, too, are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
BPP is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. I believe that both BPP and the College of Law should be subject to FOI
2. The Bar Vocational Course
It is well reported in the legal press that BPP was investigated by the Bar Standards Board for over subscribing on the Bar Vocational Course.
For the benefit of readers who do not follow legal education in detail – here is a short post I wrote covering this:
I understand that BPP law School is subject to what may be called ‘special measures’ or supervision for the next two years
This is Condition 1 from the Bar Standards Board report – please correct me if I have quoted inaccurately:
“Prior to making any offer for the courses commencing in Sept 2010, BPP must engage the services of an independent statistician or similar expert, (name and CV to be approved by the BSB) to review all available admissions data for the previous 5 years and clarify that in his/her professional opinion the number of offers that BPP wishes to make should not lead to over-recruitment. This certification is to be provided to the BSB before any offers are made, and thereafter the number of offers made by BPP shall not exceed the certified number. This procedure is to be repeated for the courses commencing in September 2011 and September 2012.”
I am delighted that BPP has got degree powers and university status – but it is right that your new university college should be subject to scrutiny.
Hopefully the Freedom of Information Act will apply – although peter crisp, CEO of the Law School in two podcasts he did with me – in the public domain – indicated that he would be quite happy for BPP Law School to provide the same information required of public sector institutions.
I suspect we will be blamed for the dull summer weather next!
Carl Lygo, Principal of BPP University College
A supplementary: Will you be asking David Willetts MP to put this in hand?
If so – what plans has BPP University College got to engage in significant research in Law, health care, teaching et al (anfd any other degrees you decide to teach)?
If you do not plan to engage in serious research to current public university standards would it be fair or unfair to say that the title ‘University’ is rather meaningless and is just a bit of puffery demeaning to the established sector?