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The vast majority (83 per cent) of stakeholders are satisfied with their relationship with HEFCE (an overall improvement since the previous survey in 2013). They describe HEFCE as a reliable and robust regulatory body with an important role in ensuring stability across the higher education sector. 

There has been an overall increase in positive perceptions of HEFCE since the previous survey in 2013. In particular, there has been a 21 per cent increase in the proportion of non-institutional stakeholders who view HEFCE as effective at increasing knowledge exchange activity, and a 20 per cent increase in the proportion of HEIs that consider HEFCE effective at supporting teaching excellence. 

Other findings include: 

  • Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of respondents believe that HEFCE is 'better' than other public sector organisations with which they work, and a similar proportion would speak highly of HEFCE to others.
  • Just under three quarters (72 per cent) agree HEFCE promotes and protects the student interest.
  • The majority (82 per cent) describe the quality of HEFCE staff overall as generally good, with 88 per cent agreeing they know who to contact at HEFCE if they have any queries.
  • Ninety per cent of stakeholders say that HEFCE communicates well with their organisation. 

The report makes a number of recommendations for further improvement, including the continuing need to keep stakeholders informed and up-to-date about HEFCE’s work, and to ensure that HEFCE’s consultations and other communications are as clear and succinct as possible. 

Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said: 

‘We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey and provided such useful feedback for us. It is particularly good to see that the vast majority of stakeholders continue to value HEFCE’s key role as a buffer body, or ‘broker’, between Government and the sector, while recognising that we are highly effective in delivering Government policy. 

‘There have been some notable positive changes in stakeholders’ perceptions of HEFCE since the last survey in 2013. And as a regulator HEFCE is considered effective by being ‘light touch’ and regulating ‘in partnership’ with institutions. 

‘We will consider in detail all the recommendations with a view to making further improvements in what we do.’

Notes

  1. The survey was carried out by Pye Tait Consulting between March – May 2015. Three broad stakeholder groups were surveyed: 1) higher education institutions funded by HEFCE; 2) further education colleges which receive funding from HEFCE for their higher education provision; and 3) non-institutional stakeholders such as partners and organisations with which HEFCE works. A total of 171 survey responses were received. The methodology comprised an online survey, followed by 40 in-depth qualitative telephone interviews with a selection of stakeholders.
  2. There were average favourability ratings of 3.4 out of 4 for each of these areas.
  3. 89 per cent of respondents believe that HEFCE is a broker – a 12 per cent increase since the 2013 survey.