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Dear Vice-Chancellor, Principal or Chief Executive

Responses to the invitation to comment on future changes to the UK Performance Indicators


1. This circular letter presents a summary of responses to ‘Invitation to comment on future changes to the UK Performance Indicators’ (HEFCE Circular letter 33/2013), issued in December 2013. In addition, it provides an outline of the next steps which have been agreed by the UK Performance Indicators Steering Group (UKPISG). No action is required in response to this circular letter.

2. In their December 2013 circular letters, the four UK higher education (HE) funding bodies each invited comment on future changes to the UK Performance Indicators (UKPIs). Respondents were invited to comment on some preliminary actions proposed by UKPISG in its initial response to the findings of a fundamental review of the UKPIs (‘How should we measure higher education? A fundamental review of the Performance Indicators’).

3. Annex A provides a summary of responses to the invitation to comment, and an outline of the next steps agreed by UKPISG.

Key points

4. UKPISG has formally agreed a set of guiding principles for the UKPIs. It is intended that these principles will guide UKPISG’s governance of the UKPIs, and in particular to assess the utility of the UKPIs to their key audiences. UKPISG intends the principles to be guiding rather than binding, and reserves the right to revise them over time, as required or appropriate to ensure its continued successful governance of these measures.

5. UKPISG has taken a series of decisions regarding the future of the research UKPIs. Firstly, it agrees that UKPIs are needed in the area of research. It also agrees that new research UKPIs should be developed, and that this provides scope to explore some of the suggestions raised in response to the invitation to comment. Working with others, the group will explore new and current measures of research activity that could be of use or interest if applied across a range of stakeholders, and seek to understand work in the sector to develop new measures.

6. UKPISG agrees that the current set of research UKPIs should be discontinued at the earliest opportunity. They will not be included in the July 2015 and future publications of the second tranche of UKPIs. While no firm commitment can be made on the timing of replacement measures, UKPISG agrees that the development process should aim to introduce them at the earliest opportunity.

Yours sincerely

Heather Fry

Director (Regulation and Assurance) and Chair of UKPISG

Date: 3 July 2014

Ref: Circular letter 21/2014

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Heads of other providers of higher education in the UK, Stakeholders and sector representatives with an interest in the UK Performance Indicators

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Planning, Research, Teaching and learning, Admissions

Enquiries should be directed to:

UKPISG secretariat, tel 0117 931 7166, e-mail