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PA Consulting carried out a project to assess the total accountability burden on the HE sector in England, using a sample of HEIs. As an add-on to this project, the consultants carried out a specific assessment of the accountability burden of the 2008 RAE.

The review found that the total sector cost to HEIs in England of RAE 2008 was approximately £47 million. This is a small reduction since the previous exercise due to the lower frequency and increased efficiency of the exercise. The review found that the RAE is perceived as a high-cost obligation which nonetheless has multiple benefits for institutions, for example in terms of internal management and reputation, and which is proportionate to the level of funding available.

The report recommends that HEFCE considers ways in which research assessment can be better incorporated into institutions' 'business as usual' research management practices in the future.