Value for money in higher education
Higher education providers achieve value for money when they make optimal use of resources in pursuing their mission. Government policy, to enable greater competition between providers driven by student choice, is intended to increase value for money. Higher education providers, as autonomous organisations, must decide how to respond. However, providers are accountable to students and taxpayers for the investment provided by tuition fees and public funding.
The memorandum of assurance and accountability sets out the formal relationship between HEFCE and the higher education providers that it funds. This requires providers to gain adequate assurance that they are achieving value for money. Audit committees and internal auditors in all funded providers are required to provide an annual opinion on value for money.
Consideration of value for money is a necessary and central part of the governance of higher education providers. Governors should be presented with information that will allow them to understand the value for money that their provider offers and drive changes that will improve it. The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, supported by funding from HEFCE, has published Getting to Grips with Efficiency, a guide for governors that describes how they can ensure the efficient and effective use of resources at their provider.
For the 2015-16 academic year all funded providers submitted a report to HEFCE and their governing bodies setting out how they were achieving value for money. HEFCE has commissioned an independent review of these reports, analysing the nature and volume of the savings reported and the approaches taken to achieve them.