Assurance and accountability for HEFCE-funded institutions
Our assurance team reviews the assurances that institutions provide over their systems of internal control, corporate governance and risk management. We also monitor and address financial and other risks associated with HEIs and related bodies.
The accountability framework involves three elements:
- institutions submit accountability returns, known as the Annual Accountability Return (AAR) process
- a five-year cycle of review visits by our team, known as a HEFCE assurance review (HAR)
- a programme of data assurance.
These three elements largely determine the risk assessment that we make of each institution. Our memorandum of assurance and accountability reflects this framework.
We carry out a number of 'sector development initiatives' aimed at improving audit standards and management practice within the sector.
We are responsible for responding to instances where information or allegations are received regarding institutions and we provide advice on a formal and informal basis to HEIs.
For providers regulated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) that receive funding from HEFCE, we rely upon annual assurances from the Chief Executive of the ESFA.