One name among the first eight board members of the new quality assurance agency, that of Sir Ronald Miller, is causing puzzlement in Scotland.
Sir Ronald, who chaired the review of Scottish quality assessment, set up jointly by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, cannot be an independent director, since their names have still to be announced.
He cannot have been appointed by COSHEP, since its choice is director Ian Graham-Bryce, principal of Dundee University. And he cannot have been nominated by SHEFC, for although four places have been earmarked for board members chosen by the "participating funding councils", SHEFC is not one of these. While the higher education funding councils for England and Wales and the Department of Education Northern Ireland have all joined the agency, SHEFC will not join the new agency until it has seen it in operation.
It would obviously be unthinkable for SHEFC not to participate, but simultaneously appoint its nominee to the board of directors.