This form of cheating is particularly hard to detect and, whilst universities must continue to do their part, it is clear to us the time has come for the Government to give legislative backing to the efforts to shut down these operations.
Legislation will not be a magic bullet; it is, however, a vital part of the broader package of measures.
And until recently, the Quality Assurance Agency was equally relaxed.
When Storey raised the issue in a letter in 2015, the body’s chief executive apparently replied: “We don’t regard this as a particularly serious problem.
In 2009, a House of Commons committee asked whether their operators should be prosecuted.
The government responded that it was not worth the trouble.
Any legislation would need to be carefully crafted, in particular to ensure that the law targeted the essay mills themselves, and did not criminalise students or legitimate educational services.
There are, however, existing models, including the Bill recently introduced by the Irish government and the draft bill published by Newton and Draper in 2017, either of which provide a starting point for developing legislation for the UK.
Read the letter from university leaders to Secretary of State Damian Hinds below. The full letter: Dear Secretary of State, We are writing to urge you to take action against the increasing problem of so-called essay mills companies that facilitate contract cheating by producing assignments-to-order for students.
Essay mills undermine the integrity of UK Higher Education and are unfair to the vast majority of honest, hard-working students.