Operational measures

OM 4: Degree awarding powers

OM 4 measures our performance in resolving applications for degree awarding powers (DAPs).

OM 4A: Number of applications for New DAPs received, resolved and remaining open

OM 4B: Number of applications for Full DAPs received, resolved and remaining open

Authorising degree-awarding powers is an important part of the OfS's role. It allows high quality providers to award their own degrees and improves diversity of choice for students.

It is important that we make decisions about DAPs applications in good time so providers that meet our criteria can award their own degrees. It is also important that our assessment process is rigorous to ensure that only providers able to submit high quality applications and meet our requirements are authorised for DAPs.

We began accepting applications for DAPs in October 2018. OM 4 includes data on applications received between 1 October 2018 and 31 December 2023.

Eligible providers that have been delivering higher education for less than three years can apply for DAPs on a probationary basis. This is known as new DAPs.

Eligible providers that have been delivering higher education for three or more years can apply for DAPs that last for three years. This is known as full DAPs.

Providers that have held full DAPs for three years are eligible to be considered for indefinite DAPs. Applications for indefinite DAPs are not included in OM 4.

OM 4 shows that, since October 2018, we have received between 0 and 6 applications for new DAPs or full DAPs each quarter. We have resolved some of these applications. From March to December 2020, we suspended receiving or assessing most DAPs applications due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of December 2023, we held 9 unresolved new DAPs applications and 9 unresolved full DAPs applications.

There was a delay to progressing some applications in 2023 due to changes to the designated quality body. All applications have now been handed over and we are progressing them.

Open applications can be at a variety of stages, from the initial eligibility and suitability assessment undertaken by the OfS, to the in-depth assessment against the DAPs criteria, undertaken by a team of external academic experts.

Before we authorise full DAPs, a provider is subject to an application scrutiny review which normally extends over 12–15 months. This process affects the time taken to resolve full DAPs applications.

OM 4 is based on data from our internal systems about the individual DAPs applications we receive and resolve.

A DAPs application is 'resolved' when:

  • DAPs are authorised for a provider
  • we make a final decision to refuse a DAPs application
  • we agree that an application can be withdrawn by the provider; or
  • we otherwise decide not to progress an application.

The OM 4 data shown here is different to that previously published. This is a result of improvements to the way in which we record and process internal data about our regulatory activity. These changes have not affected the performance of our regulatory activity and are limited to data from our internal systems. The data used for our key performance measures is unaffected.

Published 19 October 2022
Last updated 18 April 2024
18 April 2024
Updated with most recent data
18 December 2023
Updated with most recent data
08 June 2023
Updated with the most recent data

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