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UCEA marks its 20th Anniversary

UCEA has marked its 20th year with a publication entitled ‘20th Anniversary: History of UCEA’. The history was launched at an event attended by UCEA’s Chairs and Chief Executives from the previous two decades. At the event, held at the Royal College of Physicians on 24 June, UCEA welcomed colleagues from member HE institutions, the trade unions and other guests. Members enjoyed a panel discussion with guest speakers, Sir Brendan Barber, Chair of Acas, Dean Royles, Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Professor Julie Lydon OBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales and UCEA Board member.

This publication covers the history of UK HE collective bargaining, the formation of UCEA, the Dearing and Bett reviews, the creation of JNCHES* and New JNCHES, and the Framework Agreement. A final section profiles UCEA’s other significant work in pensions, pay research, its international work and communications support.

Despite the changes and challenges the sector has faced over the past 20 years, there were some clear recurring themes in UCEA’s work supporting its members. These included the importance of consultation and communication; joint and partnership working with the sector trade unions; positive employee relations against a backdrop of different governments, new funding models and economic recession; the continuation of collective multi-employer negotiations; and UCEA’s success in bridging gaps and meeting the common needs for increasingly differentiated members.

Professor Paul Curran, Chair of UCEA, said:

“Our member HE institutions have been through an extraordinary period of transformation over the past 20 years. We have seen major changes in the jobs people do, the way they do them and even where they do them, so the employment agenda has stayed current throughout. The ‘20th Anniversary: History of UCEA’ publication provides a fascinating record and an illuminating insight into the sector’s employment arrangements. UCEA will of course continue to look to the future to ensure we and our member HE institutions are well-prepared for the workforce challenges that lie ahead.”

Helen Fairfoul, Chief Executive of UCEA, said:

“This milestone has served as a reminder that we owe a considerable debt to the hard work and dedication of the many different people behind UCEA. I would like to express my thanks to the Board members, the staff at UCEA and the many sector organisations with whom we have been working in recent years. The work UCEA does is ultimately for its 166 members and I would also like to thank them for their support over the years.”

*Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff


For further information: Please contact Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership ( or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Officer ( Call 020 7383 2444.
Notes to editors

Photos available on request.

The publication is available in the publications section of the website.

Professor Paul Curran welcomed five of his six predecessors in attendance: Professor Sir Brian Fender, Professor Philip Love, Dr Geoffrey Copland, Professor Alasdair Smith and Professor Sir William Wakeham. He also welcomed two of the three previous Chief Executives in attendance: Peter Humphreys and Jocelyn Prudence.