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be connected newsletter for higher education - July 2021

In this edition we provide you with the latest in legal updates, news and insight from the higher education sector.

27 July 2021

Welcome to be connected our quarterly update for Higher Education Institutions.

We aim to provide content that offers you real value and relevant, useful information from our national team of legal and HR experts.

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In this edition we provide you with the latest in legal updates, news and insight from the higher education sector.

Legal updates

Wellbeing and built estate

Can the design of student accommodation protect and enhance student health and wellbeing?

In this article we look at the role of the built estate in improving student health and wellbeing outcomes and invite Adam Hinds, Co-Founder of LifeProven, a wellbeing property consultancy organisation to share their experiences and research with us.

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Lifting of restrictions – operational guidance for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

19 July 2021 marked the lifting of many restrictions within England including the cessation of the need for social distancing, the removal of the legal requirement for face masks, and the end of required homeworking.

However, as in many other business areas, the guidance does advise that HE providers should continue to conduct risk assessments in line with their particular circumstances and that providers should implement “sensible and proportionate control measures” in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

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The higher the pedestal, the harder the fall

The economy of the last few years has proven beyond doubt that nothing is “too big to fail” and that no sector is immune to insolvency. Despite the prevalence and publicity of such failures, there still seems to be a rose-tinted view that universities and higher education providers are a safe investment and that the Government will always be there if things go wrong.

There have been mixed reports over the last couple of years about the state of the HE sector. While commentators’ views differ when trying to quantify the risk, most agree that financial distress and failure are real risks.

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The role of the SHAPE subjects in knowledge exchange

Following publication of the first iteration of Knowledge Exchange Framework results, last month the British Academy released its report ‘Knowledge Exchange in the SHAPE disciplines’ which presented a diverse range of case studies showing that knowledge exchange in SHAPE disciplines yields significant social, economic and cultural benefits.

Amongst other projects, the report showcases an innovative KE collaboration between Browne Jacobson and the University of Nottingham.

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Long Covid

As HR teams in the Higher Education sector plan for the staffing implications of the mass return of students to university, they are also having to deal with the relatively new condition known as ‘long Covid’.

In this article, Employment Partners Helen Badger and Jacqui Atkinson look at some of the issues that may arise and share their top tips for managing these absences.

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Steps to take following a data breach: reporting, criminal charges and injunctions

Student and staff records will be full of personal data, much of which may be particularly sensitive and protected under current data legislation.

In this article, Senior Associate Matthew Alderton outlines your data protection obligations and reminds you what to do should a data breach occur in your institution.

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Charities Bill – Responding to the Law Commission report

The new Charities Bill, as outlined in the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021, will affect all charities, including Higher Education Institutions.

In this article, charities expert, Catherine Rustomji highlights five particular points of relevance of the Bill to HEIs, which responds to the 2017 Law Commission report ‘Technical Issues in Charity Law’.

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Bettina Rigg


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