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Policy and public affairs

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We work to help shape higher education and related public policy to support part-time higher education and the needs of part-time learners in Northern Ireland, as well as promoting the work and mission of The Open University.

We do this by working closely with the Minister and civil servants at the Department for the Economy, elected Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, particularly its Committee for the Economy, as well as Ministers and officials from government departments and other Assembly Committees.

You can read in more detail about a variety of our recent influencing and engagement activities here:

  • In September 2016, we gave evidence on the work of The Open University to the Committee for the Economy.
  • In January 2016, we hosted a meeting and visit of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning.
  • In December 2015 we held an event to promote "The Power of Part-Time Higher Education" at the Northern Ireland Assembly, demonstrating how part-time higher education is vital to society and economy. This was a key part of our campaign.

Watch our students talk about the #PowerOfPartTimeHE: 

  • We hosted a visit and meeting of the Committee for Employment and Learning at The Open University office in Belfast in January 2015.
  • We have responded to a number of consultations to ensure The Open University and the needs of its students are represented in policy-making. We also give evidence to Committees on various issues relating to the work of the OU here.
  • We work closely with colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast, and Ulster University to promote the needs of the HE sector. In 2013 we held a joint initiative called "Advancing Knowledge, Changing Lives" promoting the value and impact of HE to politicians.
  • Dr Leslie Budd, Reader in Social Enterprise, was Economic Specialist Advisor to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in the last mandate.
  • We are represented alongside Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University on the Assembly's Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series, presenting research to Members in order to formulate evidence-based policy-making.
  • The Open University made major contributions to the Department for Employment and Learning’s (now Department for the Economy’s) Higher Education and Widening Participation strategies – Graduating to Success and Access to Success. The Open University is currently represented on all the project implementation groups for these two strategies alongside the other universities, colleges and sector bodies.

We attend a range of party conferences to raise the profile of The Open University among politicians.

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For further information:

Dr Frances Morton
Policy and Public Affairs Manager
Tel 02890 536262 / 07500 992783