The Higher Education Code of Governance, published by the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) in December 2014, sets out in primary element 3 that 'the governing body ensures institutional sustainability by working with the Executive to set the institutional mission and strategy'.
The Code also advises that the governing body 'must rigorously assess all aspects of the institution’s sustainability, in the broadest sense, using an appropriate range of mechanisms which include relevant key performance indicators (KPIs)'.
The CUC, in partnership with FSSG, has developed guidance on how these requirements can be met in Illustrative Practice Note 4: Institutional Sustainability.
Performing an institutional sustainability assessment each year provides UK HEIs with a basis for engaging with their governing bodies on sustainability.
The ASSUR approach, developed by the Financial Sustainability Strategy Group, ensures that the governing body can explain the sustainability processes and evidence used. HEFCE and other funders recognise the ASSUR as one way to satisfy the recommendations of the Higher Education Code of Governance.
A key development alongside the ASSUR is the Margin for Sustainability and Investment (MSI). The MSI, calculated by institutions, has been adopted from 2016-17 as the replacement for the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) sustainability adjustments previously in use – the Return for Financing and Investment (RFI) and the Infrastructure Adjustment.