Regulatory framework

Securing student success: Regulatory framework for higher education in England

Last updated: 24 November 2022

Navigation of this regulatory framework

The Office for Students’ regulatory framework

This document constitutes the regulatory framework for higher education in England required under section 75 of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA). It replaces the previous regulatory framework for higher education in England which operated under part 2 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and part 3 of the Higher Education Act 2004. It was first issued by the Office for Students (OfS) on 28 February 2018.

The audience for this regulatory framework is:

  • Students, and bodies representing the interests of students, on higher education courses provided by English higher education
  • Providers of higher education in England and bodies representing the interests of such providers.
  • Others including, but not limited to, employers, charities and research bodies that are not themselves

This regulatory framework states how the OfS intends to perform its various functions, and provides guidance for registered higher education providers on the ongoing conditions of registration. The OfS will have regard to it when exercising its functions. The framework is composed of five parts:

  • Part I: the OfS’s risk-based approach
  • Part II: sector level regulation
  • Part III: regulation of individual providers
  • Part IV: validation, degree awarding powers and university title
  • Part V: guidance on the general ongoing conditions of registration

A copy of this regulatory framework has been sent to the Secretary of State for Education, who will lay it before Parliament.

The OfS will keep the regulatory framework under review.

Publication of regulatory notices and regulatory advice

The OfS will publish regulatory notices that provide additional information about its regulatory requirements. These constitute part of this regulatory framework under section 75 of HERA or are issued under section 29 of HERA.

In addition, the OfS will publish regulatory advice to support providers in understanding and meeting its regulatory requirements. These do not constitute part of this regulatory framework.

Wider context for the regulatory framework

The legislative underpinnings for the regulatory framework are found in HERA, which itself is based on the government’s strategy for the reform of higher education in England. The following links provide more details:

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