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Regulation of higher education

Effective regulation is essential to provide accountability for public funds, protect the interests of students and safeguard the reputation of UK higher education.

We are working closely with government, the funding bodies and the Quality Assurance Agency to make sure regulation and quality assurance continues to be effective now and into the future. We work with the national funding bodies to ensure there is a consistent approach to quality assessment across the UK.

Our current areas of focus include the government's Higher Education White Paper and the related Higher Education and Research Bill. The bill includes proposals for the establishment of an Office for Students, the Teaching Excellence Framework, and the entry of new providers into the higher education 'market'. ​

As these reforms are developed and introduced, we aim to ensure that:

  • there is consistency and comparability of arrangements across the whole of the UK
  • external quality assessment is proportionate, risk based and founded on effective institutional assurance arrangements
  • the sector maintains a shared and robust baseline of quality
  • regulation protects students against transient, negligent and poor quality providers

UK higher education is a global success story. It generates £27.9 billion in revenue, employs over 262,700 staff and has over two million students. There are nearly 200 universities with degree awarding powers, most of which are members of Universities UK. These universities range from small specialists to large multi-faculty institutions, each with their own distinctive strengths and missions. The success of UK higher education is founded on the diversity and autonomy of its universities. 

Copyright Working Group

We also co-convene, with GuildHE, a group responsible for negotiating copyright licences on behalf of the higher education sector.

Universities UK response to the Office for Students consultation on registration fees and other fees

14 March 2017
A fee-based approach to OfS funding will be an opportunity to strengthen accountability to the sector. However, as the costs of the OfS will also indirectly fall on students, fees and funding should be value for money, sustainable and proportionate.

UUK-GuildHE letter to peers on Higher Education and Research Bill ahead of Report stage

2 March 2017
The president of UUK and chair of GuildHE have written to members of the House of Lords during Committee stage of the Higher Education and Research Bill.

Report of the review group on UK higher education sector agencies

Report
31 January 2017
The group believes that the framework of recommendations set out in this report will create a more robust and effective sector agency landscape which meets the needs of its users.

UUK-GuildHE letter to peers on Higher Education and Research Bill priorities

19 January 2017
The president of UUK and chair of GuildHE have written to members of the House of Lords during Committee stage of the Higher Education and Research Bill.

Universities UK’s response to the government consultation, 'Schools that work for everyone'

12 December 2016
We support the government’s wish to raise standards and attainment in the school system and in doing so improve social mobility. This can be achieved through a number of partnership and engagement mechanisms with schools.

Consumer rights and universities: findings of the Universities UK self-assessment exercise

Report
28 November 2016
A summary of the findings of a Universities UK ​self-assessment exercise designed to help universities evaluate their approach towards the requirements of consumer protection law.

Briefing: Revised operating model for quality assessment

Briefing
23 March 2016
Universities UK broadly supports the new risk-based approach to external oversight. It should enable resources in the system to be focused more effectively where they are needed.

Report cover

Briefing: English devolution

Briefing
28 January 2016
English devolution is a complex and evolving policy process, and universities should have a central role to play.

Briefing front cover

Parliamentary briefing: Response to the Higher Education Green Paper

Briefing
19 January 2016
This briefing summarises Universities UK's response to the consultation on the Higher Education Green Paper, 'Fulfilling our potential: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice'.

Freedom of speech briefing front cover

Parliamentary briefing: Freedom of speech on campus

Briefing
24 November 2015
This briefing covers some of the legal and other considerations for universities on the matter of freedom of speech on university campuses.

Blogs

Research misconduct: how universities are addressing the issue

30 March 2017
Jamie Arrowsmith, Programme Manager at Universities UK, discusses the progress universities have made in addressing research misconduct.

Changes to higher education mean sector agencies must adapt

31 January 2017
Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, discusses recommendations from the sector agency review.

News

Response to passing of the Higher Education and Research Bill

27 April 2017
Universities UK's response to the passing of the Higher Education and Research Bill today

Response to minister’s plans for higher education reform

24 February 2017
UUK response to plans by the minister to make further reforms to the higher education system in England. They include proposals to encourage more universities to offer fast-track, two-year degrees.

The team

Emily Darian

Emily Darian

Policy Researcher
Universities UK

William Hammonds

William Hammonds

Programme Manager
Universities UK

Samuel Roseveare

Samuel Roseveare

Policy Researcher
Universities UK