Registration with the OfS

Public interest governance principles

The public interest governance principles apply to all registered providers:

I. Academic freedom: Academic staff at an English higher education provider have freedom within the law:

  • to question and test received wisdom; and
  • to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions

without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges they may have at the provider.

II. Accountability: The provider operates openly, honestly, accountably and with integrity and demonstrates the values appropriate to be recognised as an English higher education provider.

III. Student engagement: The governing body ensures that all students have opportunities to engage with the governance of the provider, and that this allows for a range of perspectives to have influence.

IV. Academic governance: The governing body receives and tests assurance that academic governance is adequate and effective through explicit protocols with the senate/academic board (or equivalent).

V. Risk management: The provider operates comprehensive corporate risk management and control arrangements (including for academic risk) to ensure the sustainability of the provider’s operations, and its ability to continue to comply with all of its conditions of registration.

VI. Value for money: The governing body ensures that there are adequate and effective arrangements in place to provide transparency about value for money for all students and (where a provider has access to the student support system or to grant funding) for taxpayers.

VII. Freedom of speech: The governing body takes such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured within the provider.

VIII. Governing body: The size, composition, diversity, skills mix, and terms of office of the governing body is appropriate for the nature, scale and complexity of the provider.

IX. Fit and proper: Members of the governing body, those with senior management responsibilities, and individuals exercising control or significant influence over the provider, are fit and proper persons.

Published 03 February 2022

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