Education Governance

As part of its lobbying work, SBID leads efforts to persuade the Government, politicians and official groups on issues around higher education.

SBID meets with stakeholders, civil servants and other relevant contacts to discuss current issues and exchange information to help set revised government policy.

Interior Design Degree Courses

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) sets the criteria for each course designation and, referring to HEFCE’s analysis, decides whether or not an alternative provider’s course should be designated or de-designated.

The Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE) monitors for compliance with the categories and conditions of specific course category designation, but regulatory oversight of alternative providers remains with The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).  HEFCE advises the Student Loan Company (SLC) when a course has been designated. SBID recognise interior design courses provided by a degree-empowered university and is independently recognised by The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for Key Independent Statistics.

Department of Business, Innovation and Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is a ministerial department of the UK Government.

BIS is responsible for:

  •  supporting British businesses to increase productivity and compete anywhere in the world
  • supporting innovation and developing the UK’s science and research industry, which is important to help economic growth
  • making sure consumer law is fair for consumers and businesses, and that consumers know their rights to be able to use them effectively
  • working with further and higher education providers to give students the skills they need to compete in a global employment market
  • Improvement and efficiency of regulation – by reducing the amount of regulation and providing it so that it is easy to understand for all of society, BIS can help businesses cut time, save money and be more efficient.

BIS is supported across the full range of its work by 47 agencies and public bodies.

Legal status:  Ministerial department of the UK Government.

Funded by:    The Treasury.

Remit:             UK wide for research policy. (England only  for higher education).

Role:               Regulation of higher education

BIS Logo

BIS has overall responsibility for ensuring delivery of the governments policy in higher education, science, and innovation. It provides funding received from the treasury for those in teaching and learning, in research, and knowledge exchange. BIS also distributes funding for activities in education research through Research Councils UK. Importantly, BIS directs and oversees the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) by providing a direction and guidance document. It also oversees the work of the not for profit Student Loan Company (SLC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

BIS manages the process and awards of the degree-awarding powers and university college title and the decisions on eligibility for university HEFCE funding. For alternative providers, BIS also determines the processes of specific course designation and sets the controls on the number of students for a course and the student support systems.


Higher Education Funding Council for England

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is a public sector body which provides funding for continuing development and excellence of higher education in England through policy and research activities.

It invests funds to promote opportunity, choice, innovation and excellence in research, teaching and knowledge exchange.

As the English lead regulator HEFCE works for the interest of students to monitor the financial sustainability of higher education providers and to ensure that the quality of teaching, learning and research is accurately and financially assessed independently.  It advises Government and the sector on policy and practice and adds a voice of authority in the wider debate on higher education issues, encouraging and supporting the positive contribution that higher education makes to the economy and to society.

HEFCE operates within a policy framework currently set by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).  It is independent of government jurisdiction as a body,  this helps HEFCE to act as a broker between the Government and universities.

This protects the autonomy of academia, which is regarded as a key factor in the success of English higher education.

HEFCE-funded institutions are assessed through the annual accountability returns process. Sometimes, HEFCE-funded institution are designated by HEFCE as ‘at higher risk’, and a support programme is implemented, this system ensures that all funded and recognised institutions are delivered to an exacting standard of excellence and creates a unified exacting standard.

It publishes the Register of Higher Education Providers online to provide an authoritative reference point of information collated from students to international governments.

There is a page for each provider showing it’s legal name, any operating names, it’s legal address and a website URL, together with a unique identifier for each provider – a UK Provider Reference Number, which helps to distinguish between similar sounding names. For universities with specific courses designated for the purpose of student support funding, the Register lists each designated course, its location, mode of study, duration, level and course name, and the name of the relevant validating or awarding body.

HEFCE also has a contract with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to provide quality assurance of an independent method assessment for reviewing the quality of all HEFCE funded higher education.


Higher Education Statistics Agency

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the official agency for the gathering, analysis and distribution of information about higher education. The Higher Education Data and Information Improvement Programme is also hosted by HESA. It is a condition of the Memorandum of Assurance and Accountability for course designation by BIS that data are returned to HESA.

HEFCE obligates higher education providers’ governing bodies to provide assurances that data submitted to HESA must be fit for purpose.

HESA is also required to collect data that are used for monitoring widening participation, monitoring student number control of course and establishments and the effectiveness of funding, equalities by demographic, gender and general mix of fair student uptake from applications received such as informing students of available options and choice and other required public information.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

QAA’s is UK-wide and international. It’s remit is to safeguard UK higher education academic standards to retain and improve quality. QAA advises Government about access to higher education courses.

It reviews independent awarding higher education bodies on their access to education by offering guidance and support. It helps UK higher education providers provide student experience to the highest standard available and to continue to seek improvement, it then directly licenses the higher education destinations that have met the standard.

QAA publishes the UK quality code and guidance which it maintains on behalf of and with the consent of the sector. These publications are widely used by UK academic and professional staff responsible for shaping student learning opportunities.

While the actual methods of review obviously differ across the UK’s four constituent countries to account for local differences, the UK Quality Code for Higher Education is UK-wide as a national standard and sets out the expectations that every UK higher education provider is required to meet.

It has three main parts:

  • academic standards
  • quality of learning opportunities
  • information about higher education provision.

QAA works in partnership with students, taking their views into consideration so that a student may also have an input in governance and in higher education providers reviews. This input assists the development and improvement of the Quality Code and policy in education.



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