House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee Inquiry into the Office for Students (OfS)

The EPC response to this consultation can be found here.

The House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee is launching an inquiry into the Office for Students (OfS), the regulator of the higher education sector in England.

The Committee is seeking evidence from higher education providers and other relevant stakeholders on a number of questions, including:

  • are the OfS’ statutory duties clear and appropriate? How successful has the OfS been in performing these duties, and have some duties been prioritised over others?
  • does the OfS have sufficient powers, resources, and expertise to meet its duties? How has its expertise been affected by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s decision not to continue as the OfS’ Designated Quality Body?
  • how does the OfS measure value for money for students? How can this be measured in an objective, tangible way that is not based on economic or political judgements about the value of subject areas or types of institution?
  • how does the OfS engage with students? To what extent does input from students drive the OfS’ view of their interests and its regulatory actions to protect those interests?
  • what is the nature of the OfS’ relationship with universities? Does the OfS strike the right balance between working collaboratively with universities and providing robust challenge?
  • how does the OfS oversee the financial sustainability of higher education providers and the higher education sector? Is its approach clear, and is its oversight sufficient to spot potential risks early on and take action accordingly?
  • to what extent is the financial sustainability of providers determined by government policy and funding rather than the OfS’ regulation? Is there a need for policy change or further clarity to ensure the sustainability of the sector?

The EPC is collaborating with the National Engineering Policy Centre, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering Council to respond on behalf of the engineering sector. The deadline for responses is 7th April 2023.

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