Service Inspection Unit
The Service Inspection Unit at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) was the first Service Inspection model at a Spanish university whose structure, regulations and operations were pioneering in the implementation of similar bodies at many other universities.
In October 1987, by Rectoral decree, the Service Inspection Unit was created to deal with the need to equip UCM with the means required to fulfil and carry out the responsibilities it was assigned by articles 44.2 and 49.4 of the former, and now repealed, Law of University Reform (LRU) in 1983 and articles 15 to 19 of the Royal Decree 898/1985, of 30 April, regarding university teaching regulations.
In 1991, in the development of this Institution, the UCM Service Inspection Structure and Functions Regulation was approved, and remains in force today. The functions assigned to Service Inspection Unit in this Regulation, in accordance with the provisions in article 16 of Royal Decree 898/1985, of 30 April, regarding university teaching regulations, are distributed across three fundamental areas of activity which are, in order of precedence:
- conduct all disciplinary procedures for teaching staff, administrative staff and students;
- monitor and control of academic discipline; and
- advise Centres and Departments, Units and Services at UCM, at the request of the directors, in their field of competence.
Although the Service Inspection Unit at UCM would like to be able to dedicate more time and effort to academic control and monitoring, and to advising the university community, areas where they could carry out more important preventative work, it is clear that currently, the fundamental inspection task of this Unit is based on collaborating in conducting all disciplinary proceedings, as established in article 155 of the UCM Statutes (2017):
“Article 155. Service Inspection
- There will be a Service Inspection Unit at UCM, under the authority of the Rector when exercising its disciplinary and governing power, that is designed to inspect the performance of services and to collaborate in conducting all disciplinary proceedings and general monitoring and control of academic discipline.
- The academic members who will lead the Service Inspection Unit will be appointed by the Rector.
- The inspection activities are reserved, regardless of the interested parties’ right to access the information that they are legally entitled to.
- The Services Inspection Unit will draw up an activity report to be submitted to the Governing Council.
- Disciplinary proceedings will be conducted by people that are not part of the Service Inspection Unit, although they will be temporarily appointed to it, in accordance with the provisions in the Academic Discipline Regulations.”
Article 16.1 of the Royal Decree 898/1985 requires Universities to create a Service Inspection Unit, whether through the Statutes, or through the approval of a Service Inspection Regulation that also accompanies the Statutes. Recently, the Court of Auditors, in their Monitoring Report of Public Universities (2012 Financial Year), of 29 January 2015, noted the perceptive nature of this university service, which means that the disciplinary system mentioned above would be weakened otherwise (pg. 85).