Wales costs up becoming federal

June 6, 1997

The University of Wales is about to thrash out the financial implications of introducing a federal system.

The university's eight member institutions would gain greater independence under proposals for a system modelled on that of the University of London.

They would be able to make decisions such as the creation of chairs without university approval. But responsibility for monitoring standards would remain with the central body.

The proposals, spelt out in an Academic Framework Document over a year ago, have already been agreed in principle by ruling council. It will consider key financial issues arising from the plan at its meeting next Friday.

Brian Smith, vice chancellor of the University of Wales, Cardiff, who wrote the framework document with Robin Williams, vice chancellor of the University of Wales, Swansea, said the central issue was whether the proposed system would cost more, and if so, where the additional costs would fall. There are fears that small, relatively poor institutions will be hardest hit.

But Professor Smith said he was confident that these worries would be resolved. "I am very happy that the University of Wales feels able to operate in a way which gives a real sense of devolution. If it had not gone down this route it would have left itself in an extremely vulnerable position," he said.

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