This appendix provides some case studies of federal and merged institutions with a
commentary on some issues and outcomes. It also illustrates two alternative models
of federal structures. Finally, it includes a paper on some of the key issues and
background in considering governance in a new institution.
Case Study A (UK)
Medium-sized old university merges with a large mixed economy FE/HE Institute
(majority HE) and a large NHS College of Health (majority HE Sub-Degree), itself a
merger of five colleges. The FE/HE institute is next door to the University, the NHS
college campus is between 3-15 miles from the university main campus.
The university doubles in size with approximately 10% of its provision in FTE’S
becoming FE and 30% of its provision being sub degree. The old University Charter
was retained, albeit amended by Privy Council and the governance arrangements
and management style of the old university were adopted, e.g.; bicameral
(Senate/Council), Senior Academic Posts HoD’S, Deans, PVC’s taking on
responsibility allowances for fixed periods. All academic staff have full academic
contracts with workload models used to differentiate teaching, research and
administrative loading. Since merger the university has further developed its FE/HE
consortium with local schools and colleges which provided an academy of
prospective students with excellent conversion rates helping the university to meet its
home undergraduate target. Full-time FE has contracted, part-time provision has
grown in both FE and HE. The 2001 RAE out-turns were considered satisfactory with
contributions of two grade 4’s and one 3A from the newly merged institute’s subject
The benefits are reported as significant with sustained growth, savings on central
administrative costs, wider portfolios of provision, more flexible learning (part-time,
work-based, virtual learning environments) and a greater civic engagement through
targeted continuing professional development for local SME’s and service industries1.
Case Study B (UK)
A small new university with difficulties in recruiting full time home undergraduates,
proposed a merger with a number of FEC’s including two large mixed economy
colleges with significant numbers of full-time HE students. All but one small FE
College with insignificant numbers of HE students withdrew. The resultant merger
involved two institutions 30 miles apart with few similarities of provision or mission.
The university continues to struggle to recruit home undergraduates and maintain its
limited RAE income. The proposed benefits were lost at the early stages of merger
discussions; the now perceived benefit is an attractive greenfield site for the
Case Study C (UK)
A small old University with an excellent research reputation entered into a federal
relationship with two specialist HEIs with modest research pedigrees but no FE
students. The two specialist HEIs gave up their degree awarding powers but retained
their autonomy in all other respects. The three campuses are almost 25 miles apart.
The assumed benefits are, collaborative third mission; sharing of good practice; and
widening the brand image to a greater portfolio of provision. Early concerns have
been about ‘damage by association’ in terms of research. There are no intended
savings from a rationalisation of administration but improved surpluses are expected
from shared benefits in new business opportunities.
Patterns of higher education institutions in the UK, Universities UK 2001 (Ramsden Report)
Case Study D (UK)
Five small specialist HEIs merge in terms of creating a single institution with degree
awarding powers and responsibilities for drawing down monies from funding councils,
HESA returns and quality assurance. In all other respects they operate as a loose
confederation of autonomous colleges separated by considerable distances. Benefits
are perceived as a strong united brand image e.g. prospectus, opportunities for
collaborative third mission work (they have a successful spin-off company) and
economies of scale in administration and governance. The HEI has over 3000 fulltime FE, 5000 part-time FE and 10,000 FTE HE students and is growing faster than
the norm in all aspects of its work.
Case Study E (Overseas)
A small old university with a strong research pedigree especially in medicine and law
next door to a medium size technical college (TC) with 50% FE and 50% HE. The TC
used the country equivalence to the CNAA to validate its HE awards. The HE part of
the TC (three Faculties) enters into collaborative arrangements with the University to
run joint degrees (of the University). This is perceived as a success and the TC and
the University consider Federal relationships. After protracted negotiations the
University Senate rejects the proposal (mostly on brand image and research
grounds). The TC seeks degree-awarding powers in its own right and becomes a
new University. The new University grows significantly, competes with the old
University for one third of its portfolio and has developed strengths in part-time and
distance learning provision. The old University has shown no growth but has retained
its strong research reputation. The new University continues to grow particularly in
vocational HE and applied research.
Case Study F (Overseas)
A large old University develops a loose federal relationship with three other medium
sized polytechnic-like HEIs each with modest FE numbers. The ‘polytechnics’ give up
their degree awarding powers and agree to develop a overarching strategic
academic plan with complementarity of provision. Considerable distances separate
the institutes, they defaulted on the principle of strategically agreed academic plans
and now compete with each other. Benefits were perceived as strong branding and
growth in VLE provision. Weaknesses are self-inflicted competition. The research
reputation of the host University is intact and FE provision is dwindling in the expolytechnics.
Case Study G (UK)
Although there are relatively few examples of either mergers or federal arrangements
between the further and higher education sectors, there are lessons to be learned
from the integration of colleges of health from the NHS into HE which have occurred
in three phases since the late 70’s and were concluded in 1996. These colleges
typically contained a mixture of further education provision (NVQ’s, cadet schemes
and apprenticeship programmes) and HE provision, the majority of which was at subdegree level (DipHE Nursing). The NHS colleges were hierarchically managed as
quasi-trusts with chief executives and functionary directors. Less than half of the
academic staff had higher degrees and less than 5% of the staff doctorates. There
was little or no research activity that could be measured in RAE terms, and very little
in the way of external grant acquisition. Staff were effectively on teaching only
contracts with recognition of scholarly activity and professional updating. A
significant number of these NHS colleges integrated/merged with the old university
sector and many into universities with medical schools. Issues around damage to
brand image and research excellence were fiercely debated at their Senates, but all
of them eventually proceeded and succeeded in their competitive tendering. At this
time there was very little evidence of similar mergers available to help these
universities assess the risks and guide their management and governance approach
to such new provision. There were some international examples where similar
business had been successfully integrated. The most widely cited was the University
of Linkoping in Sweden, where a failing medical school due to be closed, broke the
mould of medical education in Sweden by opening its doors to all health professions,
including their further education programmes, developed a new university-wide
teaching strategy which used problem-based learning and invested considerable time
and money in library resources and personal tutoring. They also restructured their
research units into thematic inter-disciplinary research areas2. Linkoping is now the
most successful medical school in Sweden attracting the highest percentage of
applicants in the country, and is ranked equal third in its own research ratings. There
are now other international examples where this approach has been adopted,
particularly in Australia, Canada and Norway. In the UK, two-thirds of these NHS
college of health integrations had taken place by 1992. Some were integrated
directly into faculties of medicine, e.g. Nottingham and Southampton, some became
separate faculties or schools, e.g. Sheffield, South Bank and the University of West
of England, and some joined existing schools of social or human sciences, e.g.
Salford, Northumbria and Huddersfield. Several universities who were particularly
concerned about research, put the academic staff on academic related contracts
which were in all respects other than protected research time, identical to a full
academic contract. This was partly an attempt to protect the universities in the 1996
RAE and partly to cope with the teaching workload, which often spanned 42 weeks of
the calendar year. Although it is true that the percentage number of research-active
staff returned in these universities was affected and this was further evidenced in
2001, in the round there is little evidence that any were damaged and some have
been remarkably successful, e.g. Southampton, Nottingham and Sheffield from the
old universities sector and De Montfort, City and Plymouth from the new sector.
Those that integrated these colleges of health directly into medical faculties or
schools are also now perceived to be at the leading edge of medical education, e.g.
Southampton, and are associating their brand image positively around their ability to
integrate the student learning experience and shared learning across subjects and
levels of education.
All these NHS college integration contracts identified significant start-up costs – not
all were honoured in the final contract. Where successful, a substantial part of these
costs related to building research capacity and supporting targeted staff
development, e.g. pursuing higher degrees. This was a significant contributor to
bringing about parity of esteem. This however was time-limited to five years. We
also see in these universities, and Bradford is amongst them, that proper career
pathways are emerging for those with workload that major in curriculum development
and teaching. The lessons learned are that it is possible with good governance and
enlightened human resource management to integrate further and higher education
within universities, and at the same time develop not only strategies for protecting
research excellence but developing strategies to cultivate research and scholarly
activity. Although the brand image may have changed, the branding is still strong
and applies across a greater range of provision. We now have 77 universities with
provision from the ex-NHS colleges. We have over 100,000 FE students in UK
universities and nearly 5,000 FTE academic staff teaching on FE courses with
academic contracts that usually differentiate their contribution using workload
Learning Together to Work Together for Health. World Health Authority Organisation Study Group: Technical
Report 769 (1988)
Patterns of higher education institutions in the UK, Universities UK (2001) (Ramsden
Learning Together to Work Together for Health. World Health Authority Organisation
Study Group: Technical Report 769 (1988)
Federal (A) Tight
Overarching degree awarding powers, could also
involve some or all of the following:
Centralised Administration
HR Management
Resource Allocation Model
Academic Services including QA
Student Support Services
Autonomous Institutions, Principal/VC and Senior Management Teams, devolved budget
management and course management responsibilities. Could separate FE/HE/Adult Education
by Institute, or integrate, and accept new federal members (?C)
Federal (B) Loose
Overarching Degree Awarding Power
Autonomous Institutions, Principal/VC and Senior Management Teams, drawing down their
resource entitlement directly from Funding Councils etc, responsible for all institutional matters of
governance, management and resource allocation. Can opt to share risks, collaborate on
teaching and third mission and accept new federal members (?C)
Federal A
This model has some examples in HE, mostly abroad, and is close to a merger
outcome. It would be unique if applied to contiguous institutions.
Federal B
This model has some examples in HE and across HE/FE both home and abroad and
is sometimes described as a confederate or collaborative model. It is usually applied
where HEIs are separated by considerable distance and has similarities to existing
arrangements between the College and University.
A halfway house would put say half the central powers to the degree awarding
institution and retain half within the autonomous institute. This model adds an
additional level of beaurocracy and adds to central administration costs. There are a
few examples of such arrangements in the educational sector and there are one or
two new initiatives across FE/HE that are being proposed with this shape e.g. the
Multiversity in Doncaster which is seeking an overarching degree awarding institution
to support an FE/HE infrastructure with new buildings funded by PFI.
Models of Merger
Rosalind Pritchard (1993) defines an educational institution merger as ‘an
amalgamation in which two or more component institutions give up their legally
independent identities in favour or a new identity’ (p81). She goes on to identify the
following definitions of merger. These are by no means exhaustive but may offer
some useful context:
A merger involving an institution concentrating on one sector of post-compulsory
education provision with an institution concentrating on another e.g. a specialist FE
College with an HE institution (Bretton Hall and University of Leeds).
A merger of institutions operating within the same post-compulsory education sector
e.g. all FE colleges (Sheffield College created out of all the FE colleges in Sheffield)
A merger between institutions offering very different types of courses and at different
levels e.g. a private institution such as a language school merging with a college or
A federation, described by Prichard as ‘a form of government in which power is
distributed between a central authority and a number of associated units which
surrender their individual authority to the central authority whilst retaining limited
powers of self government (p83) e.g. University of Wales.
Holding Company
Similar to a federation but with more commercial overtones. The dominant institution
forms the holding company and the other institutions act as subsidiary companies.
The institutions involved retain wide managerial discretion and their individual
identities and all partners are represented on the ‘Main Board’.
A merger between institutions of similar position/strength e.g. Colleges of Art and
To date, the most common form of merger where one institution is dominant by virtue
of position, hierarchy, reputation etc and is often described as a ‘take-over’ where
one institution has ‘acquired’ another e.g. a specialist FE College and HEI (Leeds
Metropolitan and Huddersfield College).
Interestingly, she includes federal arrangements in her definitions of merger where
as, for the purposes of the feasibility study, these institutional organisations have
been separated out into different options. For the purposes of this paper, merger will
be taken to refer to both the federal relationship and merger options.
The decision to pursue merger can arise for a number of reasons. In educational
terms. political drivers are common and the external environmental factors driving the
relationship between the University and College are set out in detail in the two
landscape papers. What is evident from the literature is that merger can not be
driven by anticipated short-term financial savings. As Fielden and Markham (1997)
point out there are no instant economies of scale and strategic and academic
benefits rather than financial gains must therefore lead merger. Similarly, Rowley
(1997) includes an enhanced academic portfolio as a key benefit of merger.
Palfreyman, Thomas and Warner (1998) have, rather helpfully, identified a list of the
most common reasons for merger. More than half of these (3-10, 13-14, 18-20)
could be said to apply to Bradford and are highlighted as reasons for considering
closer collaboration, up to and including merger, in the joint vision ‘Looking Further
and Higher’. Palyfreyman et al go on to discuss in more detail 5 key factors for
merger, these being environmental trends, government pressure, self-preservation,
opportunism and mutual interest. Again, these could arguably be said to apply to the
Bradford case.
Reasons for Merger
When an institution is in serious financial difficulty. Indeed, the merger might
be prompted, or even required, by the appropriate Funding Council. A clear
example is the merger of University College, Cardiff with University of Wales
Institute of Science and Technology in the late 1980s.
When an institution has serious quality problems with its main academic
activities which might result in the withdrawal of approval by a relevant
agency (for example, in relation to teacher training).
To increase educational opportunities by creating ladders of access
To be more efficient and save money.
Big is Beautiful (related to number 4 but less rational and more
Complementarity in subject areas.
Problems in recruiting students, in the context of declining market share
Overlap in subject areas.
To share physical resources and services.
Geographical proximity prompts the obvious merger.
To gain a ‘halo’ effect for one institution by joining with the other more
successful and prestigious operation.
When an institution has serious managerial problems.
Where there is a political agenda set externally.
When there is a wish to create a new sort of institution.
When there are constraints on further physical development of an institution
and the other institution has under-utilised space.
When an institution is threatened with losing its site or key building, possibly
because leases are running out.
Too much HE or FE provision in one geographical area.
If there is a political decision to change the map of education.
Parts of institution may merge to form a critical mass for future growth.
A political decision to provide a planned provision of HE and FE.
Private sector institutions seeking merger with public sector institutions.
Acquisition of asset/property.
Bradford College and University of Bradford (2001) Looking Further and Higher
Bradford College and University of Bradford (2002) FE and HE Political Landscape
Fielden J and Markham L (1997) Learning Lessons from Mergers in Higher
Education ACU London
Palfreyman D, Thomas H and Warner D (1998) How to manage a merger…or avoid
one HEIST Leeds
Pritchard RMO (1993) Mergers and Linkages in British Higher Education, Higher
Education Quarterly, 47 (2) 79-102 Blackwells Oxford
Rowley G (1997) Mergers in Higher Education: A Strategic Analysis, Higher
Education Quarterly 51 (3) 250-263 Blackwells Oxford
Feasibility Study
Governance and Management: Key Issues
The main characteristics of the University’s government and management
structures are defined in its Charter and Statutes. For the purposes of the
feasibility study, the major factors for consideration include the following.
The Council is the incorporation of the University. It has 31 members (if
all co-option clauses are used, as they are), of whom 18 are lay. It is
responsible for all legal, financial, property, and employment matters.
While the word is not used in the Statute, this is taken, reasonably, as
meaning that the Council is responsible for the planning process and the
strategic plan. Statute 17 (15) is of particular relevance:
‘To review the work of the University and, subject to the powers of the
Senate, to take such steps as it thinks proper for the purpose of
advancing the interests of the University, maintaining its efficiency,
encouraging teaching, the pursuit of learning and the prosecution of
research therein, and providing for the welfare of students and staff.’
The Senate has 54 members, drawn mostly from the academic staff. It
is, in the words of the Statute, ‘the supreme academic authority of the
University’. It is accordingly responsible for the institution and conferment
of awards, the approval of courses and programmes of study, etc..
Statute 20 (24) requires the Senate:
‘To advise the Council on the allocation of resources for teaching and
This includes recommendations on the establishment of academic posts
and the appointment of academic staff.
This is an example of the bicameral structure found in most of the pre1992 Universities. It reflects notions of collegiality and of checks and
balances in decision-making. The perfect example of this is perhaps the
mechanism for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor (Statute 5 (1)).
‘The Vice-Chancellor and Principal shall be appointed by the Council.
The Council shall not, however, make such an appointment except on
the recommendation of the Senate and after considering a report from
a Joint Committee of the Council and the Senate.’
The advantage of such a structure is that when it works well (as it does
with rare exceptions) it minimises dissent and it apportions responsibility
appropriately. The incorporated body must be responsible for financial
matters, and thence resource allocation. However, resources have to be
allocated against plans which, given the character of the institution are
primarily academic in nature. The disadvantages are twofold. First, there
is obviously a potential for conflict between both bodies, and, even where
this can be resolved without too much upheaval, considerable time and
energy may be spent on achieving no great advance. Secondly, it is in
the nature of systems which place primacy on collegiality and checks and
balances that they will tend to diffuse responsibility: it is harder in an old
University than a new one to say who is accountable for what.
The Vice-Chancellor’s responsibilities are defined in relation to both the
Senate and the Council.
‘The Vice-Chancellor and Principal shall have a general responsibility
to the Council and the Senate for maintaining and promoting the
efficiency and good order of the University.’
The significant point here is perhaps not so much the dual responsibility
as the position of the Vice-Chancellor vis a vis the Senate (compare
paragraph 2 (b) below).
The Vice-Chancellor is supported by Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Deans, all
typically holders of senior academic posts (and often with academic
responsibilities alongside these roles). While there is no limit set to the
number of years they may serve in such positions, the Statutes stipulate
a maximum term of office of three years, which may then be renewed.
The permanent support is provided by professionals in Finance, Estates,
etc., whose position might be said to be analogous to that of the Civil
Academic staff (a term which, apart from the obvious categories includes
any member of staff so designated by the Senate) and students are
defined as members of the University. This gives them certain rights.
Thus, for instance, academic staff may be removed from office only in
accordance with the provisions of Statute 29 (imposed in 1988 and due –
not to say overdue – for revision imminently). Students have the right of
appeal to the University Visitor in matters of dispute (including academic
disputes) with the University. The Visitor is the Queen, though in practice
the work is done by the Lord Chancellor’s Office. There is an outstanding
question about whether the Visitor’s jurisdiction is consistent with the
Human Rights Act. More pertinently for the current purpose, it should be
borne in mind that the provision implicitly sees students as full-time
adults. It is not entirely clear whether an occasional Continuing
Education student would have this right, and the potential diversity of the
student body is a significant consideration.
The College operates under its Instrument and Articles of Government most
recently revised to take effect from 1 April 2001. The major factors here are as
The College is governed by the Corporation. This is a body of 18
members, of whom 14 are lay. Its powers are in many respects
comparable to those of the University Council, with one crucial difference.
The Corporation is responsible (Article 3 (1)(a):
‘for the determination of the educational character and mission of the
institution …’
The significance of this provision is underlined in Article 5 (7)(a), which
prevents the Corporation from delegating this power.
The Academic Board has 30 members. It occupies a position equivalent
to that of the Senate. It is, however, constitutionally very different. Its
function (Article 3 (3)) is to advise the Principal
‘… on the standards, planning, co-ordination development and
oversight of the academic work of the institution …’
The Academic Board’s role is, then, ultimately advisory to the Principal,
whereas the Vice-Chancellor is, in particular spheres, accountable to the
Senate of the University.
The Principal is appointed by the Corporation and is accountable to it.
Under Article 3 (2), the Principal’s role as Chief Executive is explicit.
The Principal is supported by permanent academic and non-academic
There is no equivalent to the ‘membership of the University’ for staff and
students. Staff matters would be covered simply by the relevant internal
procedures and employment law. Student matters, similarly, would be
covered by relevant education law and contract law.
The key issues from the perspective of the current state of developments would
seem to be as follows.
Does the University’s Charter and Statutes or the College’s
Instruments and Articles of Government offer the more appropriate
model for a new institution?
There are more similarities than differences between the College’s
Instruments and Articles and those of a post-1992 University. Unless
there is a will to create an entirely new form of government structure, the
strategic choice is as between these two models. The advantages and
disadvantages of both are rehearsed above. It should perhaps be
pointed out that there are two slightly different considerations in relation
to the Charter. While in many ways it may appear an archaism, it still
provides some (increasingly vestigial) safeguards of autonomy in the face
of increasing control from governments or their agents. The second is
that a degree of status, whether justified or not, still attaches to it. The
issue of the status of a new institution is one that has to be accepted.
Does the role of the new institution indicate that the structures
should be based on those of the University (where the bicameral
structure reflects the view that a University is still to a considerable
extent ‘a self-governing community of scholars’) or those of the
College, which emphasises the role of the Corporation?
Essentially the choice here is between a bicameral structure, high levels
of participation in decision-making, systems of checks and balances on
the one hand and clear responsibilities at the Corporation, a capacity for
more efficient decision-making processes, and clearer lines of
responsibility on the other.
What should the position of the head of the institution be in relation
to the Council/Corporation and the Senate/Academic Board?
The Principal’s role as chief executive is explicit. The Vice-Chancellor’s
position is more ambiguous. Depending on the view taken in relation to
(a) above, this may be an issue which has to be addressed explicitly.
Would a new institution be best served by a rotation of senior
academic managers (as in the University) or substantive
appointments (as in the College)?
What should the position of staff and students be in terms of the
entitlements attached to the notion of ‘membership of the
institution’? Is a Charter appropriate to an academic institution with
very high numbers of short course and sub-18 (and indeed sub-16)
year old students?

Word 97 - University of Bradford