The Office for Students (OfS) needs to collect and process personal data about people, including students and staff at universities and colleges and individuals with whom we deal, to operate our daily business, exercise our responsibilities and duties of care as an employer, and to fulfil our statutory functions and duties.
The OfS is committed to protecting your personal information and being clear about what information we hold about you and how we use it.
This privacy notice is layered:
- Section 1 (this overview) provides general information about who we are and why we hold personal information
- Section 2 gives more detailed information
- Section 3 explains how we protect information, including personal data
- Section 4 explains your rights under data protection legislation and how you can make a request to access your personal data from us
- Section 5 provides privacy notices for specific initiatives, consultations, surveys and events run by the OfS.
Who we are
The OfS is the regulator of the higher education sector in England and has certain statutory functions set out in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.
Why we hold personal information
We process personal information to enable us to fulfil our public tasks, including our responsibilities as the lead regulator for higher education in England. This function is directed by the Secretary of State and is in accordance with our legal obligations, including those described in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.
We also have a role in monitoring the performance by higher education providers of their Prevent duty under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
Personal information is also used for administrative purposes, the management of our accounts, journalism and media, to promote and run events, consultations and surveys, to support and manage our staff, and to facilitate visitors to our buildings.
The services we provide are directed at learners aged 13 and over.
The OfS is the controller for the personal information we process, unless otherwise stated. As a data controller we determine the purposes and means of the processing of your personal data.
See our contact details
Data Protection Officer’s contact details
You can contact our Data Protection Officer by emailing [email protected] or via our postal address:
Data Protection Officer
Office for Students
Lime Kiln Close
Please note: the email address may be monitored by other members of the OfS’s data protection team. Therefore, please mark any correspondence ‘for the attention of the Data Protection Officer’.
Your rights over our use of your personal information
You have certain rights over our use of your personal information - please see section 4 for more details.
Queries or complaints about our use of your personal information
If you have any queries or concerns about our use of your personal information, please contact us at [email protected].
If you remain dissatisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Disclosure of personal information
We will not routinely pass your information to any other organisation except where required to do so as part of our functions or by law. However, there are circumstances when we may disclose personal information to other organisations without consent, such as:
- an organisation concerned in the investigation of a complaint and with other relevant bodies
- law enforcement agencies to prevent and detect crime
- other government departments, agencies or non-departmental public bodies
- researchers or consultants acting on our behalf.
How we protect the personal information we hold
We protect the personal data we hold under a framework of measures - please see section 3 for more details.