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INDEPENDENT experts are to carry out a review of governance at Welsh universities.

It takes place between now and November after being agreed at the start of the year.

University governance has come under the spotlight in recent months following the early retirement of former Bangor University vice-chancellor Professor John Hughes. He stepped down at the end of December last year after emails about his private life were sent to staff, although he said the emails – allegedly sent two years previously – had been doctored.

The university’s council said in December that it faced a number of challenges, “many of which affects its strategy, direction and long-term success”, and that a team would see the necessary changes through.

Last week Swansea Univeristy’s vice-chancellor Professor Richard Davies and dean of the school of management, Professor Marc Clement, were sacked for gross misconduct. Both deny any wrongdoing.

South Wales Police said this week that its regional crime unit had executed warrants as part of an investigation into alleged bribery offences, following an earlier complaint submitted by Swansea University to the Serious Fraud Office.

Universities in Wales have been preparing paperwork showing how governance works at their institution in preparation of the review, although details of who is carrying it out have not been disclosed as yet.

The review has been commissioned by university body Universities Wales, with the support of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).

A Universities Wales spokeswoman said: “The review will be conducted between July and November and will deliver a series of proposals to further strengthen the governance of Welsh universities. “The final report will be submitted to HEFCW by the end of calendar year.”

The Welsh Government said Minister for Education Kirsty Williams had been working with HEFCW to increase transparency on issues such as senior pay, the living wage for all university staff, and civic leadership.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The next stage of strengthening higher education governance and accountability will be an independent review, overseen by HEFCW, which will look at the current and future governance framework for universities in Wales.”

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