Statement of expectations
We have published a statement of expectations that provides a clear and consistent set of standards for colleges and universities to help them to develop and implement effective systems, policies and processes to prevent and respond to incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct.
The statement of expectations outlines the practical steps that we expect universities and colleges to take in tackling harassment and sexual misconduct that affect their students. The statement of expectations does not constitute a regulatory requirement imposed through a condition of registration and the OfS will not, therefore, seek to use its enforcement powers in relation to the statement.
We will consider the types of changes providers make in response to the publication of the statement of expectations during the 2021-22 academic year.
Find out more about the statement of expectations.
We have appointed SUMS Consulting to evaluate the impact of the publication of the statement of expectations.
SUMS Consulting will evaluate the initial impact of the publication of the statement of expectations. This includes understanding if, and how, the statement has driven changes in:
- provider behaviour
- the underlying issue of harassment and sexual misconduct
- student experiences and outcomes related to the prevention of and response to harassment and sexual misconduct.
The evaluation is scheduled to be published in autumn 2022. It will employ a mix of robust quantitative and qualitative approaches, drawing on relevant existing documentary and data sources, and conducting primary research with carefully selected stratified samples of higher education providers, with students and their representatives, and engaging more broadly with multiple sector stakeholders.
Catalyst Student Safeguarding Programme
We funded and worked with projects across the higher education sector to address a range of issues affecting students in higher education, including sexual violence, hate crime and online harassment.
Our aim was to incentivise change and encourage solutions to ensure the best possible outcomes for students. Our £4.7 million student safeguarding Catalyst fund supported 119 projects, with a particular focus on sexual harassment, online harassment and hate crime, including religion-based hate crime.
Many of the projects funded by the student safeguarding Catalyst programme have produced valuable resources that will be of interest to the wider higher education sector. These resources include training materials, videos and reporting and support portals.
We commissioned Advance HE to carry out an external evaluation of the programme of 119 student safeguarding projects and it has produced a number of thematic and summative reports on the three rounds of funding.
Find out more about the student safeguarding programme.
Guidance and collaboration
In addition, we have:
- shared effective practice to inform the development of evidence-based policy to drive change across the sector
- joined UKRI’s forum for tackling bullying and harassment which brings together funding, policy and regulatory organisations, both in the UK and internationally, which will work together at a system level to raise awareness and bring about culture change, share and disseminate learning and practice and promote collaboration to maximise the impact of policies and resources
- worked in partnership with sector bodies and student groups to identify and promote best emerging and effective practice, research and evidence.