OfS consultation on regulating student outcomes: our response

The Chartered ABS has responded to the OfS consultation on regulating student outcomes which forms part of the OfS’s policy of ensuring that students of all backgrounds experience positive outcomes from participating in higher education. Through the consultation the OfS is seeking to revise its current approach to protecting students from universities whose performance falls below minimum requirements and thus help maintain public confidence in the UK HE sector.

Our members are largely in agreement that the regulatory approach should feature numerical thresholds, prioritisation, and consideration of a provider’s context and compliance history, for example, but also urge the OfS to keep in mind the administrative burden these proposals might place on providers. We also caution against designing a system which inadvertently incentivises providers to treat improvements in teaching quality as secondary to achieving higher performance in metrics.

The consensus view of Chartered ABS members is that the regulation of student outcomes should be metrics-informed rather than metrics-driven, as this would be more effective in helping realise the actual policy objectives. Our response questions the practicality of the proposed timeline of implementation, as the imposition of the new proposals might be an additional burden to a sector which is still recovering from COVID-19-related setbacks. We also recommended that providers who are subject to regulatory action be granted a six-week window rather than four weeks to respond to concerns raised by the OfS for the first iteration of the exercise.

Our response to the consultation can be read in full here.