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Chamber and committees

Education and Skills Committee

Meeting date: Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Agenda: Interests, Decision on Taking Business in Private, Subordinate Legislation, Further and Higher Education: Impact of Covid-19


Contents


Subordinate Legislation


Abertay University and Robert Gordon University (Change of Names) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2020 [Draft]

The Convener

Item 3 is consideration of a draft affirmative instrument; information about the draft order is provided to members in paper 1. Under item 3, members have an opportunity to ask questions of the minister and his officials—although the minister is on his own today. We will then turn to item 4 for a debate on the motion on the instrument.

I welcome Richard Lochhead MSP, the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, and I invite him to make an opening statement to explain the draft order.

The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science (Richard Lochhead)

It is a pleasure to join the committee again. It seems quite a while since we met, given the extraordinary circumstances of the past few months.

I welcome the opportunity to speak to the committee about the draft Abertay University and Robert Gordon University (Change of Names) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2020. The draft order will amend three pieces of legislation to reflect the recent changes of name by what was formerly the “University of Abertay, Dundee” to “Abertay University”, and what was formerly “The Robert Gordon University” to “Robert Gordon University”.

The changes of name have already taken legal effect; the draft order will simply amend other legislation to refer to the institutions by their new names. It is quite a technical issue. Nevertheless, the committee may find it helpful to understand the background to the organisations’ name changes.

Abertay University took the decision to change its name from the “University of Abertay, Dundee” to “Abertay University” as it had been widely referred to and operating as Abertay University for some time. In accordance with section 49 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992, approval for the name change was received from the Privy Council on 6 February 2019. The legal change of name was effected as part of the Abertay University (Scotland) Order of Council 2019. The change has been in force since 1 September 2019.

Robert Gordon University changed its name from “The Robert Gordon University” to “Robert Gordon University” earlier this year. It was commonly referred to as “Robert Gordon University”, which caused confusion and made the university difficult to find in alphabetical lists of higher education institutions—which, I am told, the whole world refers to. Approval for the name change was received from the Privy Council on 9 November 2018. The legal change of name was effected as part of The Robert Gordon University (Scotland) Order of Council 2019. The change has been in force since 1 January 2020.

With the two new names now in force, the purpose of this affirmative instrument is to update references to those institutions in the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005, the Protection of Charities Assets (Exemption) (Scotland) Order 2006 and the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 (Economy, efficiency and effectiveness examinations) (Specified Bodies etc) Order 2010. If approved, those modifications will come into force on 25 September.

I will do my best to answer any questions that members have. As you have heard, the issue is largely technical, but we are formally obliged to be here under the legislative process.

The Convener

As there are no questions for the minister, we move to item 4. I invite the minister to move motion S5M-22552.

Motion moved,

That the Education and Skills Committee recommends that the Abertay University and Robert Gordon University (Change of Names) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2020 [draft] be approved.—[Richard Lochhead]

Motion agreed to.

The committee must report to Parliament on the instrument. Are members content for me, as the convener, to sign off that report? I see that all members, including those who are joining us from home, agree.