The Powers of the Office for Students

Glynne Stanfield, Education Partner, Eversheds-Sutherland

In this installment of the Education Studio, Glynne Stanfield, Eversheds-Sutherland’s Head of UK Governance and External Relations practice and International Education Practice discusses the powers held by the new Office for Students.

Glynne is one of the leading legal advisers to universities in the UK; an advisor to governments on the Higher Education market and involved is some of the key commercial transactions of the past decade.

In this presentation he gives his understanding and insight into the UK HE market, setting out his view on the Office for Students.

Key points include:

  • The Office for Students is a “super regulator”
  • Every university needs to develop a “failure regime” for first time, with potential financial implications
  • OFS has powerful intervention powers to withdraw degree awarding powers “in subject area”
  • Students do have a “contract” – the argument is over
  • OFS will have the power to “fine” universities like other super regulators
  • Two university markets become “one market”
  • The private sector will not like many of their obligations, like joining TEF and “public interest test”
  • Several Universities are using the 18 month gap before OFS April 2019 powers start to take action before the new regime kicks in
  • OFS will be able to validate degrees, opening interesting possibilities
  • Student transfer obligations are significant and open challenges
  • Scotland may attract international interest with a different approach
  • Management Recruitment from private sector will become much harder
  • Transparency on every salary over £100,000 will catch out a lot of senior staff and vice chancellors pay will be affected