February 2011 | ref: 2011/04
1. This report sets out the findings and recommendations of the review chaired by Professor Sir Alan Wilson into the strategy, activities and effectiveness of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). The review's terms of reference are at Annex A and the Review Group membership is listed at Annex B.
2. The review was commissioned by HEFCE, working with all of JISC's public funders, both higher education (HE) and further education (FE). It encompasses the full range of JISC activities, not just those funded by HEFCE. The review process was informed by: discussions with JISC staff and Board members; interviews with key stakeholders; evidence provided by JISC and from many other sources; and by an extensive consultation with institutionssee note 1, sector bodies, comparator organisations and other interested parties.
3. The Review Group was impressed by the range of evidence demonstrating the success of JISC over many years. There is a common view that it has played a pivotal role in the UK as an enabler of innovation and of early, widespread adoption of information and communications technology (ICT). Its shared services (most notably the Joint Academic Network, JANET) have become indispensible to the HE and FE sectors. It has done outstanding work to create and collect electronic content and resources, and in negotiating collective procurement on behalf of the sectors. There is no comparable body within the UK, and internationally its reputation is outstanding as a strategic leader and partner.
4. Alongside this praise has come some criticism of the breadth and complexity of JISC's activity, and of its structure, processes and governance arrangements. Some of this reflects its undoubted success and the demands of different funders and institutions to extend the range of its work, and differences in need between HE and FE. All this has resulted in, at times, a lack of coherence and follow-through. There have been questions about the impact of some of JISC’s activity. In an era of financial constraint, it is necessary to refocus activities around clearer priorities, and to ensure JISC operates with a sustainable financial model.
5. A 'vision for the future role of JISC' is set out in paragraphs 76-91, which includes the review's recommendations. A summary of these recommendations is as follows:
6. No immediate action is required of institutions in response to this document.
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