House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee Enquiry into the Office for Students

ASCL response tothe House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee enquiry into the Office for Students.
We are pleased that the inquiry will scrutinise whether the statutory duties of the OfS are clear, and examine its performance against those duties since its establishment. 

We are also pleased that the inquiry will look at how the OfS’ regulatory framework has developed since its inception, its independence from and relationship with the Government, and whether it has the necessary expertise and resources to carry out its functions.

The inquiry must also examine the OfS’ work in relation to the financial sustainability of the higher education sector. This must include consideration of the extent of systemic financial risks in the sector, such as the reliance of some universities on overseas students, the poor general funding of FE colleges that also provide higher education, how the OfS considers and manages these risks, and the potential consequences of and processes for the failure of providers.

Our members have expressed concerns that the OfS is geared towards the work of universities and does not fully consider the wider range of students who undertake higher education courses in colleges, even though HE in colleges is under the jurisdiction of the OfS. 

Our concerns centre on the cost of registration by HE providers with the Office for Students, and the difficulties with recruiting independent assessors to quality roles. 

Full response to consultation