These assessments provide institutions with an opportunity to demonstrate and take credit for the work they are doing in respect of widening participation, and show how it is embedded in institutional missions and policies. They also provide HEFCE and OFFA with vital evidence of how widening participation has become an integral part of the policies, processes and cultures in many institutions.
We set out the framework for these assessments in early 2009, using a flexible form of reporting that recognises the diversity of the higher education sector. This document also provided guidance on the expectations of HEFCE and OFFA.
We provided further guidance on strategic assessments that supplemented our initial request. This focused on information institutions should supply on their level of investment in widening participation.
We made the submission of a strategic assessment a condition for the continued receipt of funds for widening participation. Submissions were received by June 2009 and demonstrated institutions’ commitment to embedding widening participation.
In autumn 2010, Action on Access published a thematic review of the current assessments.
When we requested strategic assessments, we stated that we would require annual reports from institutions.
The monitoring process is conducted jointly with the monitoring of access agreements carried out by OFFA.
Guidance on the annual monitoring process for 2011-12 (HEFCE 2012/29) was published at the beginning of November 2012 , with a submission deadline of 10 January 2013.
HEFCE and OFFA jointly published a short report on the monitoring outcomes for 2010-11 in July 2012 (HEFCE 2012/13).
In December 2009 we asked institutions to develop their approaches to their evaluation of their widening participation commitments. We would like them to use the resulting evidence to inform the development of their widening participation policy and activities.
We published guidance on institutions' evaluation of their widening participation activities in October 2010. This aims to provide institutions with further guidance on our expectations and to highlight good practice, tools and resources which we hope will help institutions to enhance and improve their plans for evaluation.
In November 2009, we held a conference to provide initial feedback to the sector on the first submissions.
In March 2009, we held two conferences to support institutions in the development of their assessments.
In developing widening participation strategic assessments, we have undertaken a formal assessment of their impact on the HE sector in terms of regulatory burden, equality and diversity, and sustainable development.
For general questions about strategic assessments, contact Richard Smith, 0117 931 7151, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page last updated 19 December 2012