OfS seeks views on approach to monetary penalties

The Office for Students (OfS) has set out its proposed approach to the use of a monetary penalty where a university, college or other higher education provider is judged to have breached a condition of registration.

Students in a lecture theatre

The OfS is seeking views from higher education providers, students, and other interested bodies and individuals, in a consultation which launches today.

Monetary penalties are an important part of the OfS’s regulatory approach as they incentivise compliance with conditions of registration by deterring, or applying consequences for, breaches. They are one of a range of sanctions and interventions the OfS uses to ensure that the interests of students are protected.

The OfS is proposing the following five step approach to determining a monetary penalty:

  1. Consider the nature, seriousness and impact of a breach of a condition.
  2. Consider any mitigating or aggravating factors.
  3. Consider the provider’s track record of compliance with the OfS’s conditions.
  4. Consider any other relevant factors.
  5. Determine the amount of the penalty.

The proposed approach also includes the possibility of a ‘settlement discount’ for a provider that acknowledges it has breached a condition and accepts the imposition of a monetary penalty at an early stage.

The OfS generally expects to publish information about any monetary penalties it imposes, subject to consultation with an individual provider, and this would include the amount of the penalty and the reasons it was imposed.

After the consultation closes the OfS will publish its final approach having considered responses and other relevant factors.

Read more about the consultation and how to respond
Published 03 March 2020

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