How has the system of governance changed? Do British higher education institutions still exercise autonomous control over their development as was widely believed to be the case but a few years ago? These questions are pursued through a three-pronged strategy. Firstly, to examine the institutional changes which have occurred since the 1988 Education Reform and the emergence of the funding council model of governance. In particular, we want to know how the various institutional actors the higher education institutions, the government departments and the funding councils interact with one another to shape policy outcomes. Secondly, to explore the political context within which these institutional actors have to work. This means examining the role of the political parties, policy networks and the parliamentary forces all of which have a major stake in influencing the direction of higher education policy. This section of the book incorporates the move towards political devolution in the United Kingdom and examines what is different, and what is similar, about higher education policy-making in Scotland and Wales in comparison to England. Thirdly, the book observes the process of policy-making and change in relation to critical issues: the funding of higher education, the research assessment exercises, the quality assurance regime, and the widening participation agenda. In effect it examines policy-making in action.

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