Any time after an access and participation plan has been approved, providers may request a variation to any part of that plan.
A variation request includes any change to:
- a provider’s approved access and participation plan
- a provider's targets and investment plan
- a provider’s fee levels within the period that the plan is in effect, including those returned within annual fee information return.
A variation of a plan will be subject to the same assessment, approval and review process as a whole plan and can take up to 12 weeks to complete.
A variation that would result in a reduction in the level or rate of progress, or that would impact on support to students, would require a compelling justification.
Variations for 2023-24
In February 2022, we announced that we will be asking all providers to submit variations to their plans, to take effect from 2023-24, to respond to our new priorities for access and participation.
On 12 April we published advice providing full details on how providers can do this.
The advice includes:
See the advice on requests to vary access and participation plans to cover academic year 2023-24
- letter to accountable officers
- annexes on how to prepare and submit your plan
- fictional exemplar of plan summary
- plan summary template (please refer to Annex B of the variation advice before completing this template).
Providers will be able to submit variation requests from 1 May 2022.
What we are asking providers to do
We are asking all providers to upload to the OfS portal:
- a completed accessible plan summary
- a varied access and participation plan, describing how you will respond to the new priorities
- an amended variations template (if providers are making changes to targets and investment plan or changes to fee levels if they represent a significant departure from their plan).
When providers have done this, they should email [email protected] outlining the changes they have requested.
We are asking all providers to do this by 31 July 2022, but we would encourage you to submit earlier if you can.
Our guidance Advice on requests to vary access and participation plans to cover academic year 2023-24 provides full details on how providers can prepare and submit their variation requests. Please refer to this guidance before completing your variation request.
- Once a provider has submitted a variation request, we'll check that we have all the required information to be able to carry out an assessment.
- An OfS assessor will undertake an assessment of the variation request and may contact the provider with queries throughout this process.
- Following the assessment process, the OfS assessor will make a recommendation to the OfS's Director for Fair Access and Participation who will consider the variation and decide if it should be approved.
- The provider will be notified of the decision.
- If the variation is approved, the provider must publish the revised approved access and participation plan, including completed plan summary on its website. The revised full plan will also be published on the OfS website.
If the variation is not approved, the provider can make representations and request a review of the decision. The process for this is set out in paragraphs 41 to 48 of Regulatory notice 1.