OfS to consult on investigation fees

The Office for Students (OfS) has published a consultation on how it may charge universities and colleges to cover the cost of investigations.

OfS publishes guidance on investigation fees

The OfS’s ability to charge these fees is established by regulations laid in Parliament by ministers in December 2022. Under the proposals, the OfS could charge fees in a number of circumstances, including where it: 

  • finds that a provider is breaching, or has breached, any ongoing condition of registration. 
  • imposes a specific ongoing condition of registration on a provider. 
  • recommends that, in order to mitigate what the OfS considers to be the increased risk of a breach of an ongoing condition of registration of a provider, the provider should take or refrain from taking any action specified by the OfS. 

Charges for OfS staff costs will be based on the amount of time spent on a specific investigation, charged at the total cost of employment of that member of staff for each hour worked. Other costs, including work done through any external organisation contracted to the OfS, will be based on the actual costs incurred by the OfS. 

Nolan Smith, director of resources and finance at the OfS, said:  

'The OfS operates a risk-based approach to regulation and we believe there is a strong case that where we investigate the university or college involved should shoulder the costs of our work.  At the same time, we will continue to take steps to understand and tackle unnecessary regulatory burden for those universities and colleges providing high quality courses and good outcomes for their students. We encourage all universities and colleges regulated by the OfS to share their views with us.' 
Read and respond to the consultation
Published 09 March 2023

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