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New accountability arrangements from 2008

We have changed the framework by which higher education institutions account for the funds we provide to them.

Accountability: the new accountability framework

Our vision is that higher education institutions should have such excellent governance and management processes that they can easily demonstrate to their stakeholders, including HEFCE, proper accountability for the use of public funds.

Following consultation and development work in 2006-07 we have now published the framework for the accountability of HEIs to HEFCE which will operate from 2008 (HEFCE 2007/11).

The framework is the result of work toward better regulation which has been under way in HE for a number of years. Support for the direction of travel has been provided by the Better Regulation Review Group (BRRG) and the Higher Education Regulation Review Group (HERRG), chaired by Steve Bundred. We hope to be able to continue developing a streamlined approach to accountability that meets the needs of all stakeholders in coming years, and we will be working to this end in partnership with other public funders of HEIs.

The framework

The new framework involves three elements:

  • institutions to submit all of their accountability returns through a 'single conversation' within a one-month period (December), starting in 2008 (for full details see Circular letter 15/2008)
  • a streamlined regime of review by the HEFCE's own auditors
  • a programme of data assurance (still in development).

These three elements largely determine the risk assessment that HEFCE makes of each institution.

Our revised financial memorandum with institutions reflects the new framework.

Contact us

For further information or to discuss the accountability framework in HE, please contact Paul Greaves tel 0117 931 7378, e-mail

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Last updated 30 July 2008