Key performance measure 11

Efficient regulation

KPM 11 provides a set of measures, using data about our interactions with providers, which can be used to consider regulatory burden.

KPM 11A: Minimum and maximum number of OfS data and information returns for providers

KPM 11B: Average number of OfS conditions of registration subject to enhanced monitoring per registered provider

KPM 11C: Amount of regulatory fees paid by providers per student

One of our strategic goals is that we minimise the regulatory burden we place on providers, while ensuring our actions are effective. Achieving this is likely to be a sign of efficient regulation.

Other KPMs assess the benefits of our regulation to students and taxpayers. KPM 11 focuses on the burden we place on providers.

For any regulator, measuring burden is difficult. When providers are required to submit information to us about their activities, they incur administrative costs. Measuring these costs directly would require detailed studies within providers, leading to additional costs and burden.

Instead, KPM 11 presents a set of measures that, taken together, can be used to consider aspects of regulatory burden for higher education providers.

KPM 11A presents data on the number of data and information returns that providers must submit to the OfS and its designated bodies. The data and information that providers submit is essential for OfS regulation. However, collecting and submitting this information is an administrative burden for providers. Counting these returns gives us an indicative measure of this burden.

KPM 11B presents data on enhanced monitoring requirements we impose on providers. Enhanced monitoring requirements often mean that the OfS requires more frequent or detailed information from a provider. This allows us to protect the interests of students and taxpayers. However, enhanced monitoring requirements increase administrative burden for a provider. Counting the conditions that have enhanced monitoring requirements in place gives us an indicative measure of this burden.

KPM 11C presents data on the fees that providers must pay to the OfS and its designated bodies. Paying regulatory fees is an administrative cost for providers. We can measure this directly.

If our actions to minimise regulatory burden have the desired effect, then we would expect KPMs 11A-11C to decrease or, if they increase, to reflect a minimal level of burden for effective regulation. We do not want regulatory burden to reduce to a level that results in too little protection for students and taxpayers. 

This approach to monitoring burden is experimental. It may need to evolve to align with our regulatory approach.

KPM 11A shows that for 2022-23, the maximum number of returns a registered provider had to make was 16. In 2021-22 it was also 16. The minimum number of returns was 4 in 2022-23, which was the same as the previous year.

KPM 11B shows levels of enhanced monitoring requirements. In February 2024, the average number of conditions subject to enhanced monitoring was 0.06 per provider. This is a reduction from 0.2 measured in April 2023.

KPM 11C shows that in 2021-22 registered providers paid £18.72 per student in regulatory fees. This is a reduction from £20.09 per student in 2020-21, and £20.99 per student in 2019-20 (2020-21 and 2019-20 adjusted to 2021-22 prices).


KPM 11A counts the number of routine data and information returns that providers must submit. This includes returns to the OfS, the designated data body or the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). It presents the maximum and minimum number of returns providers must submit.

Different providers must submit different returns. The number of returns depends on a provider's registration category and several other factors. The minimum number of returns counts the returns that all providers were required to submit. The maximum number of returns counts the returns that at least some providers were required to submit.

KPM 11A gives figures for providers in both categories of registration – Approved and Approved (fee cap). Providers in the two categories of the OfS Register are subject to different levels of regulation. Approved (fee cap) providers submit more information to the OfS. This is to provide accountability for the public money they receive and the higher tuition fees they can charge.

The actual burden related to each return differs depending on the information collected. KPM 11A does not consider the volume and complexity of the information in each return.


KPM 11B counts the instances of conditions of registration that are subject to enhanced monitoring requirements. It then divides this by the total number of registered providers to obtain an average number of conditions subject to enhanced monitoring, per provider.

We can apply enhanced monitoring requirements to one or more conditions of registration for a provider. For example, if we have concerns about a provider's financial sustainability, we may impose enhanced monitoring requirements in relation to condition D (financial viability and sustainability). We might require the provider to submit additional information about its finances.


KPM 11C adds up the total regulatory fees that registered providers pay to the OfS and the designated data body for the relevant academic year and the designated quality body for the relevant financial year. The total regulatory fees are then divided by the total number of students at those providers for the relevant academic year. The results are then adjusted by inflation to give a real cost time series.

Data for 2019-20 and 2020-21 has been updated due to improvements to the way provider mergers are handled. The regulatory fees per student published in 2020-2021 (not adjusted to 2021-22 prices) were £19.91 for 2019-20 and £19.70 for 2020-21.

Contact us

If you have any queries, feedback or suggestions about KPM 11, please contact Matt Davey at [email protected].

Published 08 September 2022
Last updated 18 April 2024
18 April 2024
Updated KPM 11B with the latest data,
16 October 2023
Updated KPM 11A with the latest data.
08 June 2023
KPM 11B updated
27 April 2023
KPM 11C updated
03 November 2022
KPM 11C published

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