Consultations – opportunities to influence

Opportunities to influence

The EPC responds to a variety of consultations from Government, the funding councils and other stakeholders, representing the views and interests of all the membership.

The EPC will follow one of four pathways to prepare its consultation response:

  • Full consultation
  • Representative consultation
  • Executive consultation
  • No collective response

The EPC Executive will decide which pathway to use depending on the timing and scope of the consultation. You can read EPC Protocol for Consultations here.

Where possible, the EPC seeks to offer a single, authoritative, HE engineering voice in our responses to consultations. Sometimes, it is even more effective to collaborate with other education sectors in the engineering space. To this end, we sometimes work with Engineering for Education, an engineering education and skills policy body, to produce  collaborative responses.

Open Consultations

OFFICE FOR STUDENTS: consultation on regulating quality and standards in higher education

The consulltation is on a what OfS calls “tougher minimum standards” with the threat of fines and even deregistration for HEIs that don’t meet them. 

These powers, it is proposed, will be exercised not merely at an institutional level, but at a subject level too, which, in effect, might allow OfS to exert direct or indirect pressure on an HEI into closing a department whose metrics looked like underperformance. 

The EPC will be responding to this consultation on behalf of members and we’re keen to hear what you think and are inviting members views through a survey (based on OFS proposals and questions).To help you access the information, we’ve summarised the key takeaways and provided a summary of the proposals on the EPC website.

The consultation is seeking to 

  1. “Define ‘quality’ and ‘standards’ more clearly for the purpose of setting the minimum baseline requirements for all providers”
  2. “Set numerical baselines for student outcomes and assess a provider’s absolute performance in relation to these”
  3. “Clarify the indicators and approach used for risk-based monitoring of quality and standards”
  4. “Clarify our approach to intervention and our approach to gathering further information about concerns about quality and standards”

all of which could have profound impacts on the sector and on engineering, as Johnny Rich explores in his blog.

Members are invited to review the consultation and complete our survey by 14th December so we can make a full EPC response as the collective voice of engineering HE. The OfS consultation closes on 12th January 2021.

APPG ON DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN STEM: new inquiry on Equity in the STEM workforce

Individuals and organisations are now invited to submit evidence to the APPG’s new inquiry on Equity in the STEM workforce, launched on 10 November 2020. The APPG has published a data analysis brief on the diversity and representation in the STEM workforce as it stood in 2019. It found that 65% of the STEM workforce are white men, and only 27% are women. Workers of Indian ethnicity are statistically over-represented in STEM, whereas people of other ethnic minorities tend to be under-represented in STEM.

The inquiry will examine how the Government and organisations employing STEM workers are helping to create a diverse and inclusive environment and be used to develop actionable solutions to increasing equity in STEM.

As the APPG is keen to hear about the experiences of individual STEM workers from junior employees to those in leadership positions, the EPC will not be making a response on behalf of the sector, but would encourage our members to provide evidence on the six key questions on representation in the STEM workforce

Full details can be found in the Call for Evidence. The deadline is Friday 29th January 2021.

WORLD FEDERATION OF ENGINEERING ORGANISATIONS (WFEO): IEA Graduate Attributes and Professional Competencies Framework

UNESCO and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) recognise the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) Graduate Attributes and Professional Competencies Framework (GAPC) as a valuable international benchmark for engineering education. IEA monitor the various accords (Washington, Sydney and Dublin) and these competencies are the IEA’s version of the Engineering Council’s Learning Outcomes and UK-SPEC competences.

The current IEA Graduate Attributes and Professional Competencies Framework has been reviewed to ensure that they reflect contemporary values and employer needs as well as equip engineers/technologist/technicians of the future to incorporate the practices that advance the UN Sustainable Goals.

As a result, there are a number of changes to future engineering competencies within the IEA Graduate Attributes and Professional Competencies Framework being consulted on at the moment. You can see and comment on them here. It is currently expected that changes will be proposed at IEAM 2021 in June next year. Therefore, it is important to be aware of what is emerging at this stage so that you can input views if there are aspects that are particularly welcome, missing or in need of further work.

UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee inquiry into UK Science, Research and Technology Capability and Influence in Global Disease Outbreaks

Once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed its peak, the Science and Technology Committee will inquire formally into the place of UK research, science and technology in the national and global response, and what lessons should be learned for the future. Some of this touches upon the engineering departments’ EPC Covid-19 survey responses.

There is not currently a deadline to this call for evidence.

Immigration White Paper

The EPC’s campaign in response to the Immigration White Paper is ongoing. We welcomed the September 2019 announcement that work visas for foreign graduates be extended to two years and will continue to work with stakeholders to make sure the proposed new fast-track visa for science meets the needs of the UK’s engineering and research community. EPC’s concerns now focus on the £30k salary threshold (the policy should not exclude the invaluable technicians and early career researchers potentially excluded from this solution) and the deposit. If you think we should be raising further points, please contact us.

Submitted Consultations

Date  Consultation Response Outcomes
October 2020 OfS Digital teaching and learning in English higher education during the coronavirus pandemic: Call for evidence pdf_icon  
May 2020 OfS consultation on the integrity and stability of the English higher education sector pdf_icon  
May 2020 REF 2021 timetable pdf_icon  
November 2019 Migration Advisory Committee’s call for evidence on a salary threshold and points-based system pdf_icon  
October 2019 Compensation and Condonement: Response to proposed accreditation regulations pdf_icon Engineering Council response
September 2019 Improving Higher Technical Education: Department for Education pdf_iconpdf_icon  
August 2019 Engineering Council Standards Review pdf_icon  
May 2019 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Future frameworks for international collaboration on research and innovation: call for evidence pdf_icon  
April 2019 OFSTED consultation on the education inspection framework 2019 pdf_icon  
March 2019 UKRI consultation on the Knowledge Exchange Framework pdf_icon  
March 2019 Independent review of TEF: call for views pdf_icon  
February 2019 UKSCQA degree classification consultation pdf_icon  
January 2019 APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM pdf_icon Successful influence on APPG lines of inquiry for 2019.
October 2018 REF 2021 pdf_icon  
July 2018 Home Affairs Committee Post-Brexit migration policy inquiry pdf_icon Ordered to be published on 10 July 2018. Available here.
June 2018 Engineering Council Review of UKSPEC pdf_icon  
May 2018 Women into Engineering pdf_icon  
May 2018 The Department for Education consultation on the subject-level Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) pdf_icon  
May 2018 The Department of Education call for evidence to support a Review of Post-18 Education and Funding pdf_icon  
Feb 2018 Department for Education consultation on Accelerated degrees: widening student choice in higher education pdf_icon
Jan 2018 HEFCE Knowledge Exchange Framework Metrics Technical Advisory Group – initial call for evidence on KEF metrics  pdf_icon  
Jan 2018 Migration Advisory Committee Science budget and Industrial Strategy inquiry call for evidence on International students: economic and social impacts pdf_icon  
Dec 2017 Securing student success: risk-based regulation for teaching excellence, social mobility and informed choice in higher education pdf_icon  
Oct 2017 Education Select Committee, Value for Money in HE pdf_icon The House of Commons Education Committee released the written evidence it has received for its inquiry into the value for money of universities, including the EPC’s submission.
Apr 2017 BEIS, Building our Industrial Strategy Green Paper pdf_icon  
Apr 2017 HESA, NewDLHE: The future of graduate outcomes data pdf_icon  
Mar 2017 HEFCE – Consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework pdf_icon  
Nov 2016 Education Committee – The impact of exiting the European Union on higher education inquiry pdf_icon EPC President, Professor Stephanie Haywood, gave evidence to the House of Commons Education Committee on the 11th of January 2017


The EPC received a number of mentions in the final report of the Committee.

Sep 2016 Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BIS) – Inquiry on industrial strategy pdf_icon  
 Aug 2016 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee – Leaving the EU: Further call for evidence pdf_icon  
Jul 2016 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – Accelerated courses and switching university or degree pdf_icon  
Jul 2016 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – Teaching Excellence Framework. Technical consultation for year 2 pdf_icon  
Mar 2016 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – Review of the Research Excellence Framework pdf_icon  
Mar 2016 OfQual AS and A Level Electronics consultation on Conditions and Guidance pdf_icon  
Jan 2016 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – Higher education: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice pdf_icon  
Jan 2016 OfQual AS and A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics consultation on Conditions and Guidance pdf_icon  


Read the EPC’s submissions to other recent consultations.