Our universities are a source of great strength, and the UK higher education sector is something of which we can rightly be very proud. Millions of students benefit from our excellence in teaching and learning, and our research base is globally recognised as worldleading. However, the past five years have been a period of profound change, and the future continues to look extremely challenging.
These challenges have affected all stakeholders in UK higher education. Universities, funders and government departments, and the sector agencies that have played such an important role in UK higher education over many years, have all had to adapt to a new and dynamic operating environment. It was in this context – of significant changes in the policy and funding landscape, and a recognition that the needs of universities were changing as the operating environment evolved – that Universities UK (UUK) and GuildHE launched the review of UK higher education sector agencies.
As this report sets out, sector agencies have been integral to the success of our higher education sector, yet there is a need for reform. Agencies must to adapt to ensure they are able to meet the needs of the sector in the future. This report articulates an ambitious and challenging programme of reforms that will deliver a new settlement between agencies and the sector. We commend Sir David Bell, as chair of the review group, and his colleagues, for the thoughtful and considered set of recommendations presented in this report. It is now imperative that all stakeholders come together to implement, in full, the framework of recommendations set out by Sir David and his review group. This endeavour must include university leaders, their representative bodies, sector agencies and other stakeholders.
Finally, on behalf of the review group and all of our colleagues at UUK and GuildHE, we would like to extend our thanks to the representatives of the sector agencies who have contributed greatly to the important work of the review group. All played a full role in the review, and committed considerable time and resources to providing the evidence that has underpinned the deliberations of the group. This work shaped the findings presented in this report to a considerable degree.
UK higher education has a global reputation for excellence, and sector agencies have played an important role in supporting universities to deliver world-class teaching, learning and research.
The review considered the following higher education agencies:
Recommendations from the review group report include:
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