Global University Systems and London School of Business and Finance welcome recommendations of independent Strategic Options Review report

Global University Systems and London School of Business and Finance welcome recommendations of independent Strategic Options Review report

London, 25 September 2015 – The boards of Global University Systems (‘GUS’) and London School of Business and Finance in the UK (‘LSBF UK’) today welcomed the recommendations set out by an independent ‘Strategic Options Review’ panel.

The intention to undertake the review was announced on 1 June 2015, when GUS acquired the University of Law (ULaw) and said that it would commence a Strategic Options Review (SOR) of all its UK regulated businesses and of LSBF UK, assisted by external expert advisors.

The SOR review panel was headed by John Latham, recently CEO of ULaw and included Sir Tim Wilson, formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire who also served on the Board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Paul Mitchell, former Deputy Chair of the national Academic Registrars Council, and Lee Bartlett, Manager at Fragomen LLP.

The panel considered the optimal structure for the combined ULaw and GUS UK group, including LSBF UK. It also examined if existing GUS UK entities might benefit from ULaw's proven approach to quality assurance, enhancement and the attainment of the highest standards of regulatory compliance.

The SOR report provided in-depth diagnostics on GUS UK’s current operations, including corporate and academic governance, quality and standards, organisational structures and processes and regulatory compliance.

The report’s recommendations are focused on five key areas: entity organisational structures, governance, systems and data, resources and culture and external relations.

In particular, the SOR panel has recommended the creation of two distinct entities for GUS UK: an ‘Academic’ entity, and a ‘Vocational’ entity. The SOR recommendations see LSBF UK and FBT withdrawing from designated and UKVI-licensed provision. Operations outside the UK were out of the scope of the review; LSBF Singapore will continue as a CPE registered provider with EduTrust award.

The proposal seeks to combine ULAW’S strengths in providing sector-leading student outcomes and employability, with the GUS affiliates’ broader subject base, international reach and track-record of innovation.

The SOR recommendations have already been presented to the board of ULaw, which affirmed its in-principle endorsement for the recommendations.

An overarching concern in the implementation process is ensuring continuity for and the welfare of existing students and it is not envisaged that there will be any disruption to current teaching, including for teach-out provision.

Sir Tim Wilson has accepted an invitation to chair an independent board which will oversee implementation of the SOR recommendations and on which the regulatory bodies will be offered representation.

Aaron Etingen, executive chairman and founder of GUS and LSBF said: "We welcome the recommendations of the independent panel which would see GUS and LSBF in the UK reorganising to create a streamlined, quality-focused provider of academic and vocational education provision."

The Rt Hon David Blunkett, chair of ULaw said: "I welcome the Review by the SOR Panel and am also pleased that the boards of GUS and its UK affiliates have endorsed the recommendations also approved by the University of Law."

John Latham, chair of the SOR panel said: "The SOR delivered a tough message for GUS and whilst it identified some areas of good practice, it also made clear proposals for improvement across the five, key focus areas. The review team felt that the GUS UK institutions engaged positively with the review process, and it is pleasing that GUS has accepted our recommendations, without reservation."

Sir Tim Wilson, chair designate of the oversight board said: "The robust implementation of the SOR recommendations creates a real opportunity for both GUS UK and the University of Law to create best-practice in governance and organisational structures, to further enhance the quality of provision and hence to generate real benefits for students."

 

About Global University Systems

Global University Systems (GUS) is an international network of higher-education institutions headquartered in Amsterdam. With institutions and affiliates across the UK, Canada, Germany and Singapore the group educates over 50,000 students from 160 different nationalities. Through its network of schools and partners, GUS provides a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate, professional, executive and language courses on campus, online and via blended learning. Employing over 1,500 full time faculty and administrative staff globally, the group has direct presence in over 30 locations worldwide. 

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