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About the memorandum of assurance and accountability

The memorandum of assurance and accountability (HEFCE 2014/12) takes effect from 1 August 2014. It supersedes HEFCE’s financial memorandum (HEFCE 2010/19), following a consultation held at the end of 2013.

We use the memorandum to agree funding arrangements with individual institutions each year. The memorandum should be read in conjunction with Part 2, the funding agreement, which gives:

  • conditions specific to the institution
  • the funding available to the institution
  • the educational provision the institution has agreed in return for those funds.

Each institution must have proper systems for managing and controlling its finances, and must submit annual audited financial statements.

Institutions' finances are monitored through regular financial returns and contact with our staff. This helps us to identify and minimise any risks at an early stage.

We issue an annual 'Accounts Direction' detailing the information institutions must disclose in their annual financial statements. 

As far as possible we concentrate the accountability process between HEFCE and institutions into an exchange of documents and dialogue during a specific period (currently December) each year – this is known as the annual accountability return.

Our aim is to minimise our demands on institutions and as far as possible to rely on data and information that they have produced to meet their own needs. 

Audit Code of Practice

Our Audit Code of Practice sets out our requirements for institutions' internal and external audit arrangements and gives the broad framework in which they should operate.

The code is published as an annex to the memorandum of assurance and accountability. HEFCE's assurance and institutional risk service provides guidance and support to institutions in this area, including up to date guidance on value for money and data assurance.

Sector impact assessment

In developing the memorandum of assurance and accountability, we undertook a formal assessment of the impact it will have on the HE sector in terms of regulatory burden, equality and diversity, and sustainable development.

Sector impact assessment of the memorandum of assurance and accountability

Download the Impact assessment of MAA as MS Word (57 KB) | Download the Impact assessment of MAA as MS Excel Spreadsheet (15 KB)

Page last updated 18 November 2014