College bosses are investigating safety concerns within its student residences after worrying issues were highlighted at their quarterly board meeting.
The decision comes after numerous concerns were raised to the board of Inverness College UHI, with worry over the safeguarding of students at residential facilities top of the list after empty rooms were let out to “unknown individuals”.
Student residences at Inverness College UHI are managed by private property development company Cityheart Living Ltd, under a contract with of University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
Under the contract, Cityheart is responsible for the safeguarding of students within the facilities, located at the Inverness Campus in the Highland capital.
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Concerns were initially raised at the meeting of the UHI court.
The minutes read: “There was an increased risk around safeguarding our students when
empty rooms were let out commercially to unknown individuals.”
Among detailed discussions, board members also raised concerns that Cityheart, operators of the student residences, had not suitably prepared the facility for an open day, with disappointment at no staff being available to show parents and students around their perspective living facilities.
Cityheart referred a request for comment back to UHI.
A UHI spokeswoman said: “The university lets out rooms at its student residences during holiday periods and other periods of low occupancy. Access restrictions ensure that student and non-student occupiers are not housed within the same areas. Access to student accommodation is restricted to student residents and authorised staff only.
“We work with Cityheart Living and academic partner colleges to ensure staff are available to assist at open days.”
An external audit had been originally been requested by the board of Inverness College UHI, however, during their meeting last month, board members agreed to retract the request and instead will meet with representatives of UHI to discuss the issues.
A meeting is scheduled to take place later this month.
A spokeswoman for Inverness College UHI said: “Safety of our students is paramount and following reported incidents relating to student welfare, Inverness College UHI worked with Cityheart Living Ltd and the University of the Highlands and Islands to enhance safeguarding measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of our students.
“Following a range of actions taken to improve processes and communication in consultation with stakeholders, we are satisfied appropriate safeguarding and security arrangements are in place at the student residences on Inverness Campus, however, our Board of Management has sought assurances from the University of the Highlands and Islands that a common approach is adopted at all its student residence sites across the wider region.”