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Students: Public Participation

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether a formal assessment was made of the quality of student representation provided by the National Union of Students before the decision to establish the National Student Forum was taken. (163212)

The Government are strongly committed to a new style of politics and citizen engagement. We are ambitious to find new ways to engage the British people in the policy-making process through informed debate.

The Forum will not duplicate or attempt to replace the work of student representative bodies, of which the NUS is one, but will provide a new and complementary way for students to engage with policy-makers nationally. Therefore, the quality of existing representative groups is not at issue. We greatly value the representation and advocacy work of the National Union of Students, unlike the last Government who sought to decimate the NUS through the introduction of voluntary membership of student unions, and it is one of our key partners in the creation of the Forum. The Forum is intended to provide students from a wide range of personal and academic backgrounds with direct access to Government and policy-making agencies, giving a greater voice to students at a national level.