Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE)
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Revised operating model for quality assessment: Announcement of preferred bidders

HEFCE is pleased to announce preferred bidders following an exercise to procure quality assessment services for the new operating model for quality assessment in higher education in England.

The procurement exercise marks the next phase of a review of quality assessment undertaken by HEFCE with the higher education funding bodies in Wales and Northern Ireland, as part of their respective statutory responsibilities. The review considered what kind of arrangements would be necessary for the next decade, to reflect the increasing dynamism and diversity of the higher education landscape.

The revised approach to quality assessment is designed to be proportionate, risk-based, and grounded in the mission and context of an individual university or college (Note 1). It will promote continuous improvement in the areas that matter to students. The new arrangements will also provide a secure platform on which the Government’s planned reforms to the higher education landscape can build.

Oversight and implementation of the new operating model will be undertaken by HEFCE, with a number of activities delivered by other organisations with appropriate expertise and credibility. HEFCE undertook an open procurement process to contract for these activities and services through the Official Journal of the European Union (Note 2). The following preferred bidders were selected:

  • Gateway into the higher education system (Lot 1): the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  • Verification of a provider’s approach to its own review processes (Lot 2): the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  • Support for governing bodies (Lot 3): the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education
  • Unsatisfactory quality investigations (Lot 4): the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  • Degree standards (Lot 5): the Higher Education Academy
  • International activities (Lot 6): the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

These results are provisional and depend on the successful conclusion of HEFCE's voluntary standstill period. The standstill period will end at midnight on Sunday 22 May 2016.


  1. For more information about the revised model, see Revised operating model for quality assessment.
  2. Lots 1, 2 and 4 apply to England and Northern Ireland; Wales may join Lots 1, 2 and 4; Lot 3 relates to England, Northern Ireland and Wales; Lots 5 and 6 relate to England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.


Channel website: http://www.hefce.ac.uk

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