The Commissioner's Role and Responsibilities
Sir Professor Peter Scott was appointed Scotland’s first Commissioner for Fair Access in December 2016.
The Commissioner is independent of government and responsible for leading a system wide effort to deliver fair access in Scotland, including the development of a framework for fair access.
He provides impartial policy advice to the Scottish Government and other organisations and works across the entire education system to:
develop best practice
improve the evidence base
hold to account all those with a role in advancing fair access to higher education
The Commissioner holds a non-statutory role. He is not an ombudsman or regulator and is not able to take forward individual cases.
The functions of the Commissioner for Fair Access are to:
lead cohesive and system wide efforts to drive fair access in Scotland; acting as an advocate for access for disadvantaged learners and holding to account those with a role to play in achieving equal access, including ministers and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
co-ordinate and prioritise the development of a more substantial evidence base on the issues most pertinent to fair access, including the commissioning and publication of independent research and the development of a framework for fair access
publish an annual report to ministers outlining the Commissioner’s views on progress towards equal access in Scotland to inform development of effective policy at national, regional and institutional level
The Commissioner's Biography
Peter is Professor of Higher Education studies at University College London. Before that he was Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University and Pro Vice-Chancellor for external affairs at the University of Leeds. He was a member of the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England where he chaired its widening participation strategic committee.
His earlier career was spent in journalism and he was Editor of the Times Higher Education.
He was knighted in 2007 for services to education and is the recipient of a number of honorary degrees. He has published widely on education, including widening access issues.
The Commissioner's Publications
The Commissioner has published a number of short papers on issues pertinent to access, as well as three annual reports:
The Commissioner’s first report – Laying the Foundations for Fair Access – was published in December 2017.
The Commissioner’s second report Building on Progress Towards Fair Access – was published in June 2019
The Commissioner’s third report Fair Access to Higher Education: Progress and Challenges – was published in June 2020
The Commissioner’s fourth report Re-committing to Fair Access: A Plan for Recovery – was published in June 2021
The Impact of Covid-19 on Fair Access to Higher Education – December 2020