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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 national regulators and funding bodies and the Quality Assurance Agency to make sure regulation and quality assurance continues to be effective now and into the future and that there is a consistent approach across the UK.

Our current areas of focus include the implementation​ of the Higher Education and Research Act in England that sets up for the Office for Students, the new regulator for universities in England. We are also working on the development of the Teaching Excellence Framework, the management of academic standards and grade inflation and the entry of new providers into the higher education market.

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 Negotiating and Advisory Committee

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

Provision of information on higher education

Provision of information about higher education: outcomes of consultation and next steps

Report
16 June 2011
This joint report by Universities UK, GuildHE and the Higher Education Funding Council for England sets out how to improve the accessibility and usefulness of information about higher education.

Review of external examining arrangements in universities and colleges in the UK: Final report and recommendations

Report
7 April 2011
An outline of the final recommendations of the review of external examining arrangements undertaken by UUK and GuildHE.

Report front cover

Research report: Variable tuition fees in England: assessing their impact on students and HEIs

Report
12 August 2008
The third annual report on the effects of the introduction of the new higher education fees arrangements for UK and EU-domiciled full-time undergraduates attending higher education institutions in England.

Breaking down the barriers report cover

Beyond the honours degree classification: The Burgess Group final report

Report
16 October 2007
This report considers the honours degree classification system, which measures a student’s performance on an undergraduate honours degree programme.

Report front cover

Variable Tuition Fees in England – Second report

Report
26 June 2007
This is the second annual report on the effects of the introduction of the new higher education fees arrangements for UK and EU domiciled full-time undergraduates attending higher education institutions in England.

Report front cover

Variable tuition fees in England: assessing their impact on students and HEIs

Report
14 February 2007
This is the first of what is intended to be a regular series of short publications. It will enable the effects of the new variable fees arrangements for UK and EU domiciled full-time undergraduates attending Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Events

Blogs

Managing grade inflation and demonstrating student improvement

1 June 2018
UUK's William Hammonds provides an update on UUK's work with QAA, GuildHE and the UKSCQA to explore how to address concerns around grade inflation.

Auditorium

Freedom of speech at universities includes the right to protest

27 March 2018
UUK Director of Policy Chris Hale assesses the Joint Committee on Human Rights report on free speech in universities.

News

Office for Students launches new regulatory framework

28 February 2018
Universities UK has responded to the publication of the Office for Students’ (OfS) new regulatory framework. The document sets out how the OfS – the new regulator for higher education in England – will carry out its work from April 2018 onwards.

Committee of University Chairs consultation on senior staff pay

9 January 2018
Universities UK's response to CUC consultation on senior staff pay.

The team

Emily Darian

Emily Darian

Policy Researcher
Universities UK

William Hammonds

William Hammonds

Policy Manager
Universities UK

Samuel Roseveare

Samuel Roseveare

Policy Manager
Universities UK