OfS are reviewing their approach to regulation and will be issuing further guidance shortly. It intends to target its work to ensure that it is increasingly risk-based with its regulation focused where it is most needed. This revised approach will reflect the commitment it gave in the regulatory framework that providers that do not pose specific increased risk should have less regulatory burden once the regulatory framework is established.
Matters to consider and look out for this Autumn are:
- Guidance on principles-based regulation – the approach to monitoring and intervention, reportable events, and notifications. Their intention will be to target attention where it is needed and reduce the burden for providers that do not pose an increased risk
- Consult on changes to condition B3 (student outcomes), to raise the bar for all providers and address poor quality at subject level.
- Consult on introducing into the regulatory framework the new sector-recognised standards adopted last year by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment, to provide a regulatory tool to tackle unexplained grade inflation.
- Guidance on the public interest governance principles relating to academic freedom and free speech, because these principles underpin high-quality higher education.
- Continuing to ask providers to submit information about short-term financial risk as a reportable event. This information has been important in allowing OfS to understand the immediate risk from the impact of coronavirus
- Introducing an additional targeted interim data collection in October 2020, to allow us an early sight of the provider’s expected year-end position for the financial year ending in 2020 and key elements of its forecasts for 2021, including any new agreed or forecast borrowing