Our relationship with government

We’re a non-departmental public body, meaning we’re accountable to Parliament and we receive guidance on strategic priorities from the Department for Education, but our operations are independent of government.

Our foundations

Our foundations are in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which established our responsibilities and relationship with the government and other organisations in the sector.

A framework document sets out in more detail the way we work with the DfE. This includes the governance and accountability framework that applies between OfS and the DfE, and how the day-to-day relationship between OfS and DfE works in practice.

Annual guidance

We receive an annual guidance letter from the Department for Education (DfE) which sets out our priorities for the coming year, and tells us how much money to distribute to higher education providers.

Read the annual guidance letters


Most of our operational costs are funded through registration fees from higher education providers, but we also receive government grants to cover fee discounts and to fund specific initiatives. We also allocate over £1 billion of grants to universities and colleges on behalf of the government each year.

Find out more about how we are funded and how we spend this money

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