Policy Update – Post-Election June 2017

June 13, 2017


Just when you thought it was safe to make plans again, the election opens out new vistas of unpredictability and instability. On the good side, from the point of view of creative education and industries, John Kamfner at Creative Industries Federation is asking the Goverment to re-think plans for Brexit negotiations as there is clearly no mandate for a ‘hard Brexit’. Equity, BECTU, APDIG, and many other bodies representing the creative sector are echoing CIF’s call for a ‘softer Brexit’ — with many focusing on the Norwegian model including access to the single market, customs union, and research collaboration frameworks. In addition, CHEAD will be calling for a fresh assessment of the question of overseas student visas and net migration targets.

The election also seems to have softened reshuffle plans, Jo Johnson is back as Minister for Universities and Science across BEIS and DfE with Justine Greening returning as Education Secretary. Matt Hancock has resumed his DCMS post and Karen Bradley has been reappointed as Culture secretary. Whilst the key ‘Brexiteers’ have also been reinstated, promotion for some ‘Remain camp’ supporters also indicates some softening on the Brexit agenda. CHEAD will be working closely with CIF and APDIG to promote the interests of creative HE as well as the broader creative sector.

There is some reassurance in the new Cabinet which includes many who have previous championed creative industries and HE effectively. Jo Johnson, in particular, has always been a champion for removing students from net migration targets (many feel this was likely to lead to his removal from this post in the next reshuffle). It is also likely that plans to introduce grammar schools will be impacted and most commentators take the view that there will be less focus on austerity and higher spending on social services. According to a post-election YouGov poll, Corbyn is now level-pegging with May in best PM stakes and more than four in ten Brits (43%) say they would support holding another general election in the autumn (particularly Labour voters, at 65%), however only a third (33%) actually believe that a second election is a likely occurrence.

Despite the unsettled outlook, there are reasons to be cheerful — all major parties pledged strong support for the creative sector in their election manifestos with Labour indicating before the election that the creative sector could be a key ‘bargaining chip‘ in pushing for a softer Brexit. All in all, whilst the election result may lead to further instability and risk for the country as a whole, it can be seen as supporting a broadly positive mood for the creative sector.

CHEAD/APDIG Brexit Manifesto

CHEAD has commissioned APDIG to carry out a consultation process with a view to producing a joint Manifesto for Brexit and Creative Higher Education which will be launched in the Houses of Parliament in September as Parliament reconvenes.

If you would like to contribute more detailed case studies relating to any of the three themed consultation events below, please contact us. We will acknowledge all published contributions in the Manifesto.

CHEAD members are warmly welcomed to complete the call for evidence survey and/or to attend the forthcoming Brexit Manifesto consultation events:

Creative Research and Collaboration: Tuesday 20 th June, 11am, – 16.00pm, Westminster School of Media, Arts & Design, University of Westminster, Harrow Campus, Room JG.05, Watford Road, Northwick Park, Middlesex, HA1 3TP
What is the role of creative research in driving the high-growth creative sector in the UK economy and as a global leader? This workshop will look into how Government and creative sector bodies can support creative research with EU and non-EU partners following Brexit including EU collaboration frameworks, global research opportunities and the commercialisation of research outcomes. It will also look into the way ahead for IP frameworks and the digital single market.
Register here

Creative HEIs in a Regional Context: Wednesday 5 th July, 11am – 16.00pm, Cardiff Metropolitan University, PDR UCD Lab, PDR (International Centre for Design and Research), Llandaff Campus, 200 Western Ave, Cardiff CF5 2YB
Creative HE has been playing an increasingly central role in regional economies, regional creative sectors and clusters, as well as city centres and local culture. How do we model the future role of regional creative HEIs in a post-Brexit Industrial Strategy? This workshop will look at the role of creative HEIs in local economies as well as their role in future models and frameworks for a more balanced distribution of economic growth. How should the devolution agenda evolve post-Brexit?
Register here

The Creative Skills Pipeline: July 13 @ 11:00 am4:00 pm, Sheffield Institute of Arts, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield, S1 2AY United Kingdom
What would we want to see in an Industrial Strategy to support a healthy creative skills pipeline? This workshop will explore the impact of Brexit on the creative skills pipeline, including the crisis in UK secondary education, recruitment and status of international students and staff, post-study pathways, technical education, and creative employment in the 21st century, as well as opportunities for new partnerships and markets. The workshop will also explore UK creative industries employment data and methodologies.
Register here

Once we have gathered the data, we will draft the Manifesto which will form the basis for our policy work around Brexit working in close partnership with other key sector bodies. On the basis of more detailed evidence collected in the Manifesto consultations, CHEAD will be pushing strongly for the UK to remain in the single market, the digital single market, and EU research frameworks as well as Erasmus, and for freedom of movement for creative students, graduates and staff. Evidence from the Brexit consultations will also inform our work with key partners to establish and evidence the role of creative HE in national, regional and local economies, creative clustering, and innovation across the economy as part of our engagement with the national Industrial Strategy.

HE Bill

The HE Bill is already on the statute books but it is to be hoped that more room for manoeuvre may now open up in relation not only to the status of overseas students and staff but also in the coming discussions over the changing landscape of HE provision.

A number of key amendments were passed — too numerous to list in detail but some key amendments provide for freedom of speech and the independence of HE, that the standards against which providers are assessed will be determined by the sector itself, and that the OfS must have regard for the benefits of collaboration between HEIs. ‘Choice’ is widened to include diversity in types of provider and modes of delivery. Haldane is enshrined and the separation of funding for individual RCs. More detail on the amendments can be found in this Parliamentary Briefing.

Since the election, Jo Johnson is indicating that he’s keen to push forward TEF and the HE Bill after the delays imposed by the election. The Independent Higher Education association is calling for the next Government to prioritise the streamlining of regulatory gateways and processes across the tertiary education sector with creative skills as one of it’s areas of focus. A former Pearson executive has been appointed to head the new OfS with a likely strong focus on data-driven performance and risk-based regulation. It is crucial that CHEAD works to ensure that the highest standards in creative HE are sustained across all modes of provision and that creative HE remains a whole which is greater than its parts.


The NewDLHE consultation closed on 7 April and the full response is due some time this month. In the meantime, HESA have published a blog giving a first cut of responses received — you can get ongoing updates and further clarifications from HESA here. You can see HESA’s proposals for the fee structure here and the HECoS vocabulary here.

CHEAD’s membership has articulated considerable concerns relating to the centralised approach and use of linked data and SOC in DLHE which may further obscure the career paths and earning potential of creative graduates. Again, CHEAD will be working to ensure the visibility of career progression and the higher salaries mid-late career likely to be commanded by creative graduates rather than focusing solely on ‘portfolio’ early careers. It is also important that career satisfaction and wellbeing for creative graduates is also foregrounded.

Whilst on the subject of data:

Jisc has issued advice for universities for complying with new data regulations: A year to get your act together: how universities and colleges should be preparing for new data regulations. Key amongst its recommendations is that data protection must be designed in from the start.


Employability will be another key focus for CHEAD through 2017/18 and will be the theme of our next Membership & Networking meeting on 23 November — register here!

Creative HEI’s play a vital role not only in the creative skills pipeline but also in creative industries and clustering across the UK, yet there has been a lack awareness amongst policymakers of the important role of HEIs in driving the creative economy. The top 10 in the new Global University Employability Survey launched by THES last year is dominated by USA tech institutions. Globally, most experts agree that a holistic approach to employability works best but, nevertheless, most effort tends to focus more narrowly on encouraging employment directly through industry partnerships. This narrower approach tends to be reflected in current UK policy which foregrounds industry leadership and data as key to enhancing graduate employability. Industry partnerships are, of course, crucial in preparing graduates with employable skillsets, providing opportunities for widening experience before graduation, and for graduate placements. An overly prescriptive approach to employability and skills, however, is more likely to stifle the holistic approach agreed by top-10 HEIs to be crucial for success. In addition, NewDLHE (see above) may lead to an increasingly inaccurate model of creative graduate employment. How can we ensure that HE data credibly reflects creative graduate employability? How can the UK creative HE sector develop a coherent and effective strategy for creative employability and communicate this to policymakers?

Join us on 23 November and be part of the conversation! A more detailed programme will be published in early Autumn. Register here!


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