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Who we are and what we do 

Organisational information, structures, locations and contacts

The HEFCE website has information on the following topics:

  • about HEFCE 
  • who’s who at HEFCE  (including Board, directors, committees, and our structure)
  • governing legislation 
  • meetings with Ministers and external organisations
Our relationship to Government

We are accountable to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for the way we work and the funds we distribute. We engage with other government departments, such as the Department of Health and HM Treasury as necessary. More information on our relationship to Government is available on our web-site.

Working in partnership

Working in partnership is central to the delivery of our objectives. Key partners include Government, students, universities, colleges and key national agencies.

Our Chief Executive meets regularly with the following:

  • Jo Johnson MP, The Minister for Universities and Science
  • senior officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and other Government Departments as appropriate.

We also work closely with a variety of organisations and government agencies including:

  • the UK Research Councils
  • the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  • the funding bodies for higher and further education within the UK
  • many higher education representative bodies such as Universities UK, GuildHE, the Committee of University Chairs and Universities and Colleges Employers Association
  • unions for higher education and various higher education charities
  • the British Library  
  • mission groups in higher and further education.

The related bodies for whom we currently provide funding are:

  • the Higher Education Academy
  • the Equality Challenge Unit
  • the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education
  • the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  • the Higher Education Statistics Agency
  • Jisc.
Contact us

For more information about HEFCE, please contact us.

What we spend and how we spend it 

Financial statements, budgets and variance reports

Spending over £25,000

HEFCE publishes data relating to spending over £25,000 

Contracts and tenders over £10,000

HEFCE publishes invitations to tender for work to be carried out on a contractual basis costing over £10,000.

Procurement card spend over £500

Unless in exceptional circumstances, procurement cards are limited to spends under £500. 

HEFCE’s annual report and accounts

Our annual reports and accounts from 2000-01 to 2014-15 are available to download.

Senior staff and board members’ allowances and expenses

Every financial year we publish the expense claims of HEFCE staff at director level and above

HEFCE's financial strategy and scheme of delegated decision making

We are currently reviewing our financial strategy for how we use our financial resources to deliver our objectives. Within our financial regulations is a scheme of delegation from the HEFCE board.

Pay and grading structures

Read the salary information for both junior and senior staff.

Procurement and tendering processes

Read our procurement guidelines and procurement policy.

Staff guidance

This is available on request. Please contact customerservices@hefce.ac.uk

Grant letter from the Secretary of State to HEFCE

The Secretary of State sets out the annual funding for higher education in a letter outlining the funds that are available for allocation, with any government priorities.

What our priorities are and how we are doing 

Our standards and performance

Information on our standards and performance is available online. This page includes links to stakeholder surveys, our accountability framework and an independent efficiency review.

HEFCE business plan

HEFCE's business plan describes the things we know we have to do, and how we intend to do them. 

How we make decisions 

Major policy proposals and decisions and background information

All relevant decisions and policy are made available to the public. Publications and circular letters can be found online, listed by year.

Public consultations

Consultations are available on the publications section of the HEFCE website. Under ‘Filter results by type, theme or year:’ select ‘Consultations and outcomes’ from the drop-down list.

Minutes of senior level meetings

Board papers are available from September 2003. Earlier information is available in paper format on request. Board papers are normally made available on the HEFCE web-site three weeks after the meeting at which they are put forward.

Papers exempt from publication under the Freedom of Information Act, including partly exempt papers, are listed for information with the other papers. Exempt Board papers are reviewed for publication after 3 years.

University title papers are reviewed for publication following a decision.

Internal communications guidance and criteria used for decision making

Assessing equality impact

We assess the impact of every policy that we deliver through a formal process of assessment which considers impact in terms of:

  • equality
  • regulation
  • sustainability
  • student interest and choice
  • economic impact
  • privacy.

We publish all completed assessments.

Scheme of delegation

The scheme of delegation allows for effective decision-making, while ensuring proper accountability.

Our policies and procedures 

The conduct of departmental business

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Our CSR policy sets out our overall aims, key activities and targets in the areas of:‌

  • business ethics
  • managing our environmental impacts
  • procurement‌
  • our people
  • activity in the community
  • working with the sector.

More information on HEFCE’s CSR policy.

Equality and diversity

In all aspects of our work we are committed to promoting equality and diversity.

More information on HEFCE’s commitment to equality and diversity.

HEFCE standards

We strive to meet high standards when we conduct our business, make policy decisions and deal with requests or enquiries:

More information on HEFCE’s standards.

The provision of services (including information requests)

HEFCE information charter

The HEFCE information charter lists principles that we follow when handling information.

Read our policy for dealing with Freedom of Information, Environmental Information Regulations and Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations appeals, including guidance on making a request for information.

Policies and procedures for the recruitment and employment of staff

Recruitment policy

Our recruitment policy is available on request. Please contact customer services on 0117 931 7438 or by email at customerservices@hefce.ac.uk.

Current vacancies are available to view online.

Read further information on HEFCE as an employer.

Customer service

Our commitments

Read details of our commitments in the following specific areas:

  • response times
  • contacting us by phone
  • making payments
  • consultations
  • special initiative funding
  • data collection and verification
  • communication services.

Public interest disclosures (whistle blowing)

Our public interest disclosure, or whistle blowing, procedure has been in existence for a number of years and it has served to guide us in dealing with allegations received.

Read our public interest disclosures policy and procedure.

Making a complaint

Read the information on making a complaint against the Council.

Records management and personal data policies

HEFCE’s records management policy, information security policy and guidelines for handling personal data can be made available on request. Please contact customer services on 0117 931 7438 or email: customerservices@hefce.ac.uk.

Fileplan (high level, for current records management systems)

HEFCE uses an electronic document records management system (EDRMS). The top level of our fileplan (the structure within which we save our records) is as follows:

  • Chief Executive
  • data collection and management
  • economy and society
  • enabling excellence
  • funding round
  • HEFCE Board, chair and committees
  • institutions, related bodies funded by HEFCE and regional activity
  • learning and teaching
  • regulation in higher education sector
  • research
  • stakeholder management
  • student opportunity
  • sustaining a high quality higher education sector.
Charging regimes and policies

Charges for information requests

We may charge for responding to some requests, details of which can be found on our freedom of information web pages.


Lists and registers 

Public registers and registers held as public records

This section is not applicable to HEFCE.

Asset registers and information asset register

Our asset and information registers are available on request. Please contact customer services on 0117 931 7438 or email: customerservices@hefce.ac.uk.

CCTV

HEFCE has CCTV in place at both our London and Bristol sites. The purpose of CCTV at the sites is for the prevention and detection of crime. 

Disclosure logs

HEFCE does not have a disclosure log. We can provide details on request, please contact foi@hefce.ac.uk

Register of gifts and hospitality provided to Board members and senior staff

Our ethical guide is available on request. Please contact customer services on 0117 931 7438 or email: customerservices@hefce.ac.uk

Other lists required by law

This section is not applicable to HEFCE.


The services we offer

Newsletter and email lists

HEFCE uses several email lists to send messages to higher education institutions and anyone else with an interest in higher education. HEFCE also produces its monthly newsletter.

Sign up to the newsletter or email lists.

See the archive of email lists and e-newsletters

What we do

Our main role is to distribute public money to universities and colleges for higher education teaching, research and related activities, including strengthening their links with industry and the wider community.

We regulate universities and colleges, including monitoring their financial and managerial health and holding them accountable so we know they are using public money responsibly.

We ensure that the quality of teaching is assessed and maintained so that students have the best possible experience.

We fund programmes to support the development of higher education.

We support work to widen participation so that everyone who has the potential to benefit from higher education has the opportunity to do so, whatever their background.

We implement government policy on higher education and ensure that universities and colleges understand and respond to it, including providing guidance on good practice. We also advise the Government on the funding and development needs of higher education.

With the other UK funding bodies, we organise the assessment of research quality.

In everything we do, we strive to safeguard the collective interests of students, and to ensure that the higher education sector has the capacity and funding to respond to present and future challenges.

Page last updated 9 March 2016