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Government

HEFCE works closely with our sponsor department, the Department for Education (DfE), and with a range of other government departments and agencies, to be a constructive and authoritative voice on issues affecting higher education.

Other government departments we work with:

HEFCE is a non-departmental public body. We work within a policy framework set by the Secretary of State for Education, but we are not part of DfE.

Ministers are ultimately responsible for our effectiveness and efficiency, and we have distinct statutory duties, but we are free from direct political control.

Every year we receive a grant letter from the Secretary of State for Education which informs us of our total budget for the year and advises on where to direct our funding. We also provide independent advice to Government on the funding and development needs of higher education, and act as an advocate for providers of higher education, including universities and colleges.

Government holds us closely accountable for the way we work and the funds we distribute. For more information see our Accountability Framework. As part of this we publish evidence of how we spend our own budget.

Framework Document

The Framework Document between HEFCE and our sponsor department sets out the broad policy framework we work within.

Change of sponsor department

The following functions of the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) were transferred to DfE in 2016:

  • higher and further education policy
  • apprenticeships
  • skills.

DfE and HEFCE agreed that the 2012 Framework Document between BIS and HEFCE would continue between DfE and HEFCE until 31 March 2018.

The document describes the terms and conditions under which DfE makes funds available to us.

Download the Framework Document

Download the Framework document as PDF (571 KB)