Workshop – Law for Co-operative Higher Education

Beyond Public and Private: A model for co-operative higher education.

Funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF).

Workshop – Legal Considerations for Co-operative Higher Education

Venue: Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln, LN2 5AX.

Date: Friday 9th October, 2015, 10am – 4pm

This workshop will focus on how co-operative legislation and regulation can enable and support the development of co-operative higher education. We will consider this within the context of existing legislation and regulation of higher education in the UK.

Two scenarios will guide the day:

  • The creation of a new co-operative ‘higher education provider’
  • The conversion of an existing university into a co-operatively owned and democratically governed institution that maintains its university title.

A summary of what was achieved in previous workshops (pedagogy and governance) will be presented to you at the start of the day. We have suggested a structure for the Legal workshop, together with a number of key themes to be addressed and some suggested reading material.

An important principle of the work we are doing together is that it should involve collaboration and co-operation at all stages, so we are very keen for your suggestions as to how the workshop should be organised as well as important matters you feel need to be discussed, together with suggestions for further reading.


Key suggested themes to be addressed at this workshop include:

  • ‘University’ title or simply ‘higher education’?
  • Navigating the HEFCE framework: From validated courses to degree awarding powers.
  • Applying co-operative legislation to a change of legal status or control/ownership of a university.
  • Alternatives to the HEFCE framework.


Some reading is suggested to inform your thinking about these issues before coming to the workshop:

Cook, Dan (2013) Realising the Co-operative University (pp.51-56)

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Higher Education: market entry guidance.

HEFCE Operating Framework for Higher Education

Mulqueen, Tara (2012) When a business isn’t a business: law and the political in the history of the United Kingdom’s co-operative movement.

Snaith, Ian (2014) Handbook of Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Law. (chapter one)


We are expecting fewer participants at this workshop (about ten), perhaps due to the specialist nature of the topic. Because of this, we are proposing a ‘roundtable’ format, but welcome suggestions on the day for how we might organise our time together.

10.00 – 10.15 Coffee

10.15 – 10.30 Aims for the day

10.30 – 11.00 Presentation – Summary of previous workshop outcomes.

11.00 – 13.00 Roundtable discussion: Co-operative law and regulation

13.00 – 13.45 Lunch

13.45 – 15.45 Roundtable discussion: Higher Education law and regulation

16.00 Wrap up and action planning

Online Focus Group

We are organising an online focus group for those of you who cannot attend the workshop. This will be on Thursday 22nd October 19.00 – 21.00 BST. More details will follow on how to join the online focus group. Please let us know ( if you wish to join it instead of this workshop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *