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The governance framework for the higher education system provides robust assurance of compliance with legislative and other requirements and timely and responsive interventions to address any issues arising.

The framework makes clear the central oversight role of the HEA in monitoring governance practice across the system, the respective responsibilities of higher education institutions (HEIs) and the mechanisms in place to ensure good governance practice and accountability of State funding. It begins by considering the definition of governance in a higher education context, provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities in maintaining good governance and highlights the key components which will ensure a robust and transparent governance framework moving forward. The key relationships underpinning an effective framework are then outlined, together with the individual mechanisms in place that facilitate the monitoring of compliance and good practice.

What do we mean by governance?
For the purpose of this framework “governance” means the systems and procedures of oversight implemented by the HEA with regard to the individual HEIs, and to the collective system of higher education. The objective of such oversight is to ensure that the HEIs and the system collectively meet the outcomes expected, effectively and efficiently. This is consistent with the definition set out within the respective Codes of Governance for Irish institutions. “Regulation” means the system of statutory and administrative rules and requirements placed on HEIs, with the HEA responsible for monitoring and reviewing ongoing compliance. In practice governance and regulation have a relationship of mutual dependence, with adherence to the regulatory system being a subset of overall good governance.

Governance comprises the systems and procedures under which organisations are directed and controlled. A robust system of governance is vital in order to enable organisations to operate effectively and to discharge their responsibilities as regards transparency and accountability to those they serve.
Code of Governance of Irish Universities 2012, Code of Governance of Institutes of Technology 2012


Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies


Higher Education Authority Act, 1971

National College of Art and Design Act, 1971

Regional Technical Colleges Act 1992 

Dublin Institute of Technology Act, 1992

Universities Act 1997

Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993

Institutes of Technology Act 2006

Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training Act) 2012

Protected Disclosures Act 2014


HEA Procurement Review

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