A degree of power

July 19, 1996

I write to correct a small but important error in a news report (THES, July 5) containing the phrase "the Higher Education Quality Council's granting of degree awarding powers".

HEQC does not grant degree awarding powers. That is the prerogative of the Privy Council under S.76 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (and under S.48 of the parallel Act for Scotland). The Privy Council normally seeks advice on applications for degree-awarding powers from the relevant secretary of state. The latter in turn seeks advice from HEQC. Our role is thus entirely advisory, acting on behalf of the higher education sector, which is of course its owner. Secretaries of state have been known not to accept advice.

D. M. Williams Assistant director Higher Education Quality Council

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