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17 December, 2015 - Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, announced that applications are now invited from suitably qualified and experienced persons to fill vacancies on the Board of the Higher Education Authority (HEA)

Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, today announced that applications are now invited from suitably qualified and experienced persons, with a demonstrable interest in the work of the HEA, to fill vacancies on the Board of the HEA.

The vacancies to be filled are the Chairperson of the Board of the HEA and 8 Ordinary Members of the HEA.  A minimum of four of the new ordinary member appointments must be an academic in a higher education institution.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is the lead organisation for the development of a higher education and research system that meets the needs of Irish society and the Irish economy and is accountable to the Minister for Education and Skills for that leadership.

A key aim of the HEA is to create a higher education system that maximises opportunities and ensures a high quality experience for students. The HEA is the statutory funding authority for the universities, institutes of technology and a number of other designated institutions and is the advisory body to the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to the higher education sector.  The HEA also has responsibility for the effective governance and regulation of higher education institutions and the higher education system.

As provided for under the existing legislative provisions, the Government, on the recommendation of the Minister for Education and Skills, will be appointing a Chairperson and eight ordinary members to the Authority, four of whom will be required to be academic members.  

The closing date for the receipt of applications via the website www.stateboards.ie is Wednesday 13 January 2016.

Link to advertisement:

http://www.stateboards.ie/stateboards/campaignAdvert/25248.htm  

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

In accordance with the Government's decision to advertise vacancies on State Boards, the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, invites applications from persons from suitably qualified and experienced persons to fill vacancies on the Board of the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The vacancies to be filled are the Chairperson of the Board of the HEA and 8 Ordinary Members of the HEA.  A minimum of four of the new ordinary member appointments must be an academic in a higher education institution.

The process of filling the vacancies on the Board of the HEA is being managed by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) under the revised procedures put in place in late 2014 for the appointment of persons to positions on State boards. Applications may only be made through the dedicated website www.stateboards.ie. PAS will undertake an assessment process in relation to the expressions of interest received and at the end of that process it will provide the Minister with a list of candidates deemed to be suitable for appointment to the Board.  The selection process may include a short interview dependent on level of interest.

A person being proposed for appointment as chairperson of a State Body/Agency will be required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas committee to discuss the approach which he/she will take to their role as chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the Body/Agency or Board in question and, following that discussion, decisions will be taken by the Minister or the Government, as appropriate, to confirm the nominee as chairperson.

The fees payable to board members are as follows: €11,970 per annum for Chairperson and €7,695 per annum for Ordinary Members. (It should be noted that in line with the ‘One Person One Salary’ principle, no public servant will be entitled to receive remuneration in the form of board fees, save for situations that are statutorily provided for e.g.Worker Directors).  Travel and subsistence allowances will be paid in respect of journeys undertaken to attend meetings of the Board or to transact its business. 

The Higher Education Authority (HEA)

The HEA is the lead organisation for the development of a higher education and research system that meets the needs of Irish society and our economy and is accountable to the Minister for Education and Skills for that leadership.  A key aim of the HEA is to create a higher education system that maximises opportunities and ensures a high quality experience for students. The HEA is the statutory funding authority for the universities, institutes of technology and a number of other designated institutions and is the advisory body to the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to the higher education sector.    The HEA also has aresponsibility for the effective governance and regulation of higher education institutions and the higher education system.  In 2015 the HEA was responsible for the allocation of c €1.1bn exchequer funding to the higher education institutions.

The Irish Research Council operates as a sub-board of the HEA and is responsible primarily for funding early stage career researchers: namely, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. The Council allocates c. €40m in Exchequer and EU funding. In addition the HEA and Council are responsible for c. €8.5m administrative costs.

The HEA and IRC currently employ c. 55 staff but anticipate filling a number of vacancies later this year.

The website of the HEA is available at www.hea.ie

National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030

The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 assigns certain operational responsibilities to the HEA including establishing high level key performance indicators for the sector and engaging in strategic dialogue with individual institutions and leading and driving the process of structural change.  It is the HEA’s responsibility to ensure that institutional objectives are aligned with national objectives, as set out in the Minister for Education & Skills performance framework, that performance is measured against these objectives and funding allocations made accordingly. The HEA performs an advocacy role for higher education to students, Government, employers and the general public.

Functions of the Board:

The Board is collectively responsible for promoting the success of the HEA by leading and directing the Authority’s activities. It provides strategic guidance to the HEA executive team and monitors the activities and effectiveness of management. The HEA has a schedule of matters reserved for the Board. Specifically the Board is responsible for the following:

  • Set strategic direction in approving statements of strategy and its implementation through annual work plans
  • Approve allocation of exchequer funding
  • Approve policy advice
  • Approve HEA governance arrangements
  • Approve functions assigned to the HEA under legislation

Applicants – Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must have experience that satisfies the criteria in at least one of the categories set out at a to g below.

a.   Strategic Management

b.   Finance and audit

c.   Risk, regulation and compliance

d.   Human resource management and pension administration

e.   Business and enterprise

For all positions above it is desirable that applicants have:

  • Previous board experience
  • Knowledge of the Higher Education sector 

f.    Academic:

Applicants must be currently employed at a senior level and have extensive professional experience in an institute of higher education (University, Institute of Technology etc.) either in the State or internationally. It is also desirable that applicants have previous board experience.  Appointments under this profile will be made with a view to balancing national and international expertise on the board.

g.   Chairperson:

Applicants must have significant senior management level experience in corporate governance (including strategy, governance and change management) in a large/complex organisation.  They must also have previous board experience.  Experience chairing a board is desirable.

Terms of Appointment:

Appointments to the Authority will be for a period not exceeding five years with the possibility of serving a second term not exceeding five years, subject to: 

  • The membership of any member of the Board may be terminated by the Minister at any time, on the basis of reasons to be stated by the Minister.
  • A member having served two consecutive terms, of whatever length, shall not be eligible for further appointment until a period of two years has elapsed.
  • A member of the Board may resign his or her membership of the Authority by notice in writing sent or given to the Minister, and the resignation shall take effect on the day on which the Minister receives the notice.
  • Members of the Authority shall, subject to the provisions of this Schedule, hold office upon such terms and conditions as the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, from time to time determine. The roles and responsibilities of Board Members are described in the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies 2009 (under review) which is available on the Department’s website.
  • A Board member shall cease to be a member of the board if he or she is nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann, is elected as a member of either House of the Oireachtas or as a representative in the European Parliament, elected to the European Parliament, or becomes a member of a local authority.