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An investigation of the University Heads of the Valleys Institute (UHOVI) 2009-2016, as a strategic partnership to deliver Welsh Government policy

Croke, Tom 2020. An investigation of the University Heads of the Valleys Institute (UHOVI) 2009-2016, as a strategic partnership to deliver Welsh Government policy. EdD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate a higher education-led strategic partnership introduced to deliver Welsh Government (WG) policy. Its focus is on the responses to research questions provided by a variety of staff working for and with the University of the Heads of the Valleys Institute (UHOVI) between 2009 and 2016. UHOVI was tasked with delivering level 4+ qualifications and skills to support the physical, economic and social aspects of regeneration in the Heads of the Valleys, South East Wales. The initial UHOVI partners were the University of Glamorgan (UoG), the University of Wales, Newport (UWN) and four further education colleges from the heads of the valleys region. Following the merger of UoG and UWN in 2013, the University of South Wales (USW) was formed and became the lead higher education (HE) institution in the strategic partnership. The contextual background to the study includes exploring the history of UK and Welsh education policy. This provides examples of legislation and national reviews that recommended the use of partnerships to meet government policy directives. Qualitative data was collected through a series of semi-structured interviews with identified UHOVI senior leaders, curriculum managers and administrators. This data is used to explore a broad understanding of the UHOVI partnership as a strategy to deliver Welsh Government policies. To help place this qualitative data into a theoretical context, use is made of Huxham and Vangen’s (2000a) conceptual framework for examining collaborative advantage (where a result is achieved by a partnership that an individual organisation could not achieve on its own) and collaborative inertia (where strategic partnerships do not progress). Combining the qualitative data collected for this thesis and Huxham and Vangen’s conceptual framework shows a picture emerging in which there appears to be uncertainty among a proportion of the participants about the purpose and core aim of UHOVI. In addition, what also emerges is an apparent lack of shared understanding of partnerships as the preferred strategy to deliver Welsh Government policy. Conclusions from this study will indicate that the critical success factors required to achieve collaborative advantage are present in the early phase of UHOVI (2009-2013), but largely absent from its latter phase (2013-2016). These factors are both internal to the partnership and external in terms of wider societal and economic influences. Continued research of partnerships as a preferred strategy to deliver national policies is needed to further understand how collaborative advantage can be more easily achieved and how collaborative inertia avoided.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 September 2020
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 01:31

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