Financial sustainability and TRAC

Review of TRAC

The UK Higher Education Regulators and Funders (Financial Sustainability) Group (RFG) commissioned a review of the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC). This was in response to the government’s request, as part of a wider review of bureaucratic burden, to assess and identify options for ensuring TRAC is not disproportionately burdensome and that it appropriately provides the data the government, regulators, funders and higher education institutions need.

See the Review of TRAC, carried out by KPMG

Statements from the Regulators and Funders Group

Nolan Smith, Director of Resources and Finance at the Office for Students and chair of the RFG, said:

'On behalf of the RFG I would like to thank KPMG for this comprehensive review and the significant input provided from the sector. It is clear that the majority of contributors to this review acknowledged the benefits of TRAC.

'The review focused on burden, and KPMG has provided a number of recommendations about how burden could be reduced and/or greater value could be derived through TRAC.

'In the latest TRAC guidance, we have already implemented the recommendation that the review suggested would make the most difference – streamlining the requirements around the governance sign-off process within institutions.

'The RFG is now working through the recommendations and priorities.’

Background to the review

The review focused on understanding the burdens associated with the TRAC system and to evaluate this in relation to its benefits. Its aim has been to identify improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of the system in meeting the needs of the multiple stakeholders and users.

About the Regulators and Funders Group

The Regulators and Funders group is a collaborative group of UK higher education funders and regulators. It comprises:

  • the OfS
  • UKRI
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • Scottish Funding Council 
  • Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland).

Its central purpose is to discuss higher education financial sustainability issues.

Membership of this group is:

Member Role
Nolan Smith Director of Resources and Finance, Office for Students (Chair)
Jessica Cole Deputy Director – Financial Sustainability, UK Research and Innovation
Steve Keightley Senior Financial Analyst, Scottish Funding Council
Bethan Owen Deputy Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
David Rooney Head of Quality and Governance, Higher Education Division, Department for the Economy, Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland
Kate Turton (Interim) Head of Research Sustainability and Engagement, UK Research and Innovation
Published 22 February 2021
Last updated 05 May 2023
05 May 2023
Updated membership of the RFG
13 January 2023
Updated membership of the RFG, and new statement on next steps following the TRAC review
30 November 2021
Review of TRAC published and information about the review updated.

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