OfS privacy

We're 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 Office for Students (OfS) is the regulator of the higher education sector in England and its main statutory functions are set out in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.

Why we hold personal information

We collect and process personal data about people, including students and staff at universities and other higher education providers, and individuals with whom we deal, to perform our statutory functions, to operate as a public body, and to exercise our responsibilities and duties of care as an employer.

We may also collect and process your personal information for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To comply with statutory and other legal obligations
  • To establish, exercise or defend legal claims
  • administrative purposes and to improve any service we provide
  • the management of our accounts
  • journalism and media
  • to promote and run events
  • consultations and surveys
  • to support and manage our staff, exercise our responsibilities and to undertake our duties as an employer
  • to facilitate visitors to our buildings

We may collect data from you directly, for example through information you submit to us or receive personal data about you from a third party (for example from Jisc or other public bodies).

This general privacy statement covers all of these various purposes.

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.

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
Westward House
Lime Kiln Close
Stoke Gifford
BS34 8SR

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.

Last updated 16 May 2023
16 May 2023
The postal address for the OfS's Data Protection Officer has been updated
18 November 2022
Clarifications to the "Why we hold personal information" section.
02 November 2021
Re-structure of the section, incorporating information on extranet and recruitment into the main privacy notice.

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