The survey of higher education institutions, further education colleges and other HEFCE stakeholders was carried out by Pye Tait Consulting between July and October 2013. It explored perceptions of HEFCE’s role, policies, processes, communications, and relationships with its stakeholders.
Other findings include:
- HEFCE is valued by its stakeholders as an organisation which listens to them and which understands the issues facing the higher education sector.
- Over 80 per cent of stakeholders say that HEFCE is effective at ensuring accountability for funding, implementing government policy and being a proportionate regulator.
- Over 85 per cent agree that HEFCE acts in the public interest and is open, fair, impartial and objective.
- The majority (83 per cent) believe that HEFCE has implemented change either very or fairly well, and 76 per cent agree that HEFCE has ensured a smooth transition to the new funding arrangements.
- A clear majority (83 per cent) describe the quality of HEFCE staff as very/fairly good, and over 70 per cent would speak highly of HEFCE – an increase on previous survey figures of 28 per cent among institutions, and 17 per cent among non-institutional stakeholders.
- The vast majority of stakeholders (89 per cent, including 97 per cent of HEIs) think that HEFCE communicates well with their organisation.
The report identifies a number of areas for improvement. It recommends that HEFCE builds on recent work to review the effectiveness of our consultations; suggests that more could be done to tailor communications for particular audiences such as further education colleges; and emphasises the importance of proactive communications to ensure that all of our stakeholders have a clear understanding of our purpose and mission.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:
‘I would like to thank all those who took part in the survey and provided such useful feedback. The survey findings show that HEFCE has continued to be valued and respected by its stakeholders through a period of significant change for the HE sector. We will now consider the report’s recommendations carefully in order to make further improvements to the way we work with our stakeholders.’
Read the Stakeholder survey.
- Based on high average favourability ratings of 8 out of 10 in each of these three areas (highly respected; trusted and approachable).
- The percentage change between 2007 and 2013 among institutions who are very/fairly satisfied with the relationship was +8 per cent. The percentage change among non-institutional stakeholders between 2009-2013 was +12 per cent (page 45 of the report).
- The survey builds on similar stakeholder research carried out in previous years, although there are important differences. Both institutional and non-institutional stakeholders are included in this survey, whereas these respondent groups were surveyed separately in previous years. A mixed methodology has also been used, comprising:
- desk-based research into the external context
- an online survey of all stakeholders
- follow-up in-depth qualitative interviews (telephone-based) with 38 stakeholders to further enrich the survey findings and explore key emerging issues in greater depth.
- The online survey targeted all higher education institutions, further education colleges that have a funding relationship with HEFCE. The total number of survey responses achieved were as follows:
- higher education institutions and further education colleges: 158 responses (from 122 institutions)
- non-institutional stakeholders: 69 responses.