Consultation on proposed regulatory advice and other matters relating to freedom of speech

Published 26 March 2024

About this consultation

The Office for Students (OfS) is implementing new freedom of speech functions. This consultation seeks views on proposals relating to:

  • guidance on the new free speech duties imposed on registered higher education providers, on their constituent institutions and on relevant students’ unions
  • amendments to the OfS regulatory framework to make reference to the OfS’s new general functions and general duties
  • the OfS’s recovery of costs in connection with the new free speech complaints scheme and regulation of students’ unions.


Start:  26 March 2024

End:   26 May 2024

Who should respond?

We welcome responses from anyone with an interest in freedom of speech in English higher education.

We are particularly (but not only) interested in hearing from students, staff, students’ union representatives and leaders at providers that will be engaging in the new arrangements. We welcome views from all types and size of provider and students’ union.

We also welcome the views of schools, employers, third sector organisations, policy bodies and others with an interest in freedom of speech in English higher education.

How to respond

Please respond by 26 May 2024.

Please use the online response form

How we will treat your response

We will summarise and/or publish the responses to this consultation on the OfS website (and in alternative formats on request). This may include a list of the providers and organisations that respond, but not personal data such as individuals’ names, addresses or other contact details.

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please tell us but be aware that we cannot guarantee confidentiality in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not be regarded by us as a confidentiality request.

The OfS will process any personal data received in accordance with all applicable data protection laws (see our privacy policy).1

We may need to disclose or publish information that you provide in the performance of our functions, or disclose it to other organisations for the purposes of their functions. Information (including personal data) may also need to be disclosed in accordance with UK legislation (such as the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 2018 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

Next steps

We will publish a summary of responses to this consultation in summer 2024. We will explain how and why we have arrived at our decisions, and how we have addressed any concerns raised by respondents. We will then set out next steps in the policy and implementation process.


Email [email protected]

Alternatively, call our public enquiry line on 0117 931 7317.

Consultation events are planned for 2024. These events will provide an opportunity for you to discuss these proposals. Find out more about the events

If you require this document in an alternative format, or you need assistance with the online form, contact [email protected]. (Please note: this email address should not be used for submitting your consultation response.)

1 Available at the OfS privacy webpage.

For more information about our work to date on this topic, please see our freedom of speech webpages.

Published 26 March 2024

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