Who we are

The Office for Students (OfS) is an independent public body. We are not part of central Government, but we report to Parliament through the Department for Education (DfE).

We were established by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which also sets out our powers and general duties.

Our people

Our chair is James Wharton and our chief executive is Susan Lapworth. Meet the senior team.

We are governed by a board which sets our strategy and is advised by a student panel.

Our values

Our values drive our behaviours and decision-making – how we operate and engage with students and the higher education sector, as well as within our organisation. In summary, our values should guide everything we do.

OfS values - ambition, openness, learning, diversity


  • We are purposeful, clear and decisive
  • We challenge ourselves and are open to challenge
  • We conduct our activities rigorously, building on success and learning from failure
  • We are confident about making difficult decisions in the student interest
  • We are forward-thinking and aim to be at the cutting edge.


  • We are transparent about what we do and why we do it
  • We share wherever and whenever we can
  • We are clear, plain-speaking and consistent in all communication
  • We welcome scrutiny and being held to account
  • We listen and engage.



  • We seek to understand and do 'what works'
  • We are reflective and curious
  • We are dynamic and adapt to better ways of working
  • We are evidence-informed and communicate with authority
  • We take responsibility for our actions and their impact.


  • We encourage and value difference in people, thought and the provision of higher education
  • We interact respectfully
  • We give access to opportunity
  • We take context into account.


Last updated 02 September 2022
02 September 2022
Page updated to reflect the appointment of Susan Lapworth as chief executive.
01 May 2022
Updated chief executive.
01 April 2021
Updated to reflect change of chair

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