OfS - ongoing conditions

As an English higher education institution the University must comply with the OfS conditions of ongoing registration. Failure to comply with the ongoing conditions of registration could lead to significant sanctions ranging from enhanced monitoring to suspension or deregistration. There are 23 conditions of registration which are clustered into the following themes:

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OfS Condition Indicators Responsibility Evidence of Compliance

A1 Access and Participation Plan

An Approved (fee cap) provider intending to charge fees above the basic amount to qualifying persons on qualifying courses must:
i. Have in force an access and participation plan approved by the OfS in accordance with HERA.
ii. Take all reasonable steps to comply with the provisions of the plan.

  • Approved APP in place
  • Delivering against plan
  • Governing Body engaged & monitoring plan
  • Taking action to ensure that the APP is delivered
PVC Education/ Academic Registrar

The Academic Support Access and Participation Plan webpage provides links to the agreed APPs for 2019-20 and for 2020-21 to 2024-25. The published transparency data shows delivery against the plan. 

Council reviews and approves the plans; the PVC Education is responsible for ensuring that the APP is delivered. The Education Committee annually reviews progress against the plan and reports on this to Council.

OfS Condition Indicators Responsibility Evidence of Compliance
B1 High Quality Courses reliable assessment of student achievement
The provider must deliver well-designed courses that provide a high quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed.
  • High quality courses
  • Skilled/qualified staff
  • Facilities/learning resources/student support
  • Research environment supports RDAPs
  • Effective Partnership arrangements where appropriate
PVC Education/ Academic Registrar

Quality is reviewed annually in the Education Committee’s Annual Quality Assessment Report to Council and also by reference to the Proctors’ Report on Complaints and Appeals (with a summary of complaints published annually in the University Gazette). 

Quality assurance is provided by the external examiners which are required to sit on exam boards.

B2 Provision of support for students from admission to completion
The provider must provide all students, from admission through to completion, with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.
  • Fair admissions system
  • Transparency information demonstrates fair access
  • Engagement with students
  • Support for student outcomes (all students)
  • Good record of continuation/completion, reliable and fair admission system
  • Fair and transparent complaints procedure 
PVC Education/ Academic Registrar

The admissions process is described on the University website, accompanied by admissions statistics, access facts and transparency data.

The University provides extensive student support and has one of the highst completion rates in the UK, as shown in HESA data.

There is a fair and transparent complaints procedure in place.

The quality of support is reviewed annually in the Education Committee’s Annual Quality Assessment Report to Council and also by reference to the Proctors’ Report on Complaints and Appeals.

B3 Successful outcomes for all students, employment and further study
The provider must deliver successful outcomes for all of its students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study.
  • Outcomes meet baseline standard (OfS)
  • Students from all backgrounds succeed
PVC Education/ Academic Registrar

The University encourages graduates to participate in the Graduate Outcomes survey and has previously carried out its own student surveys, showing successful student outcomes.

Student outcomes are reviewed annually in the Education Committee’s Annual Quality Assessment Report to Council.

B4 Qualifications maintain value and are comparable
The provider must ensure that qualifications awarded to students hold their value at the point of qualification and over time, in line with sector recognised standards.
  • Award threshold levels comparable to those elsewhere
  • External expertise input & assessment and classification processes reliable
  • Partnership arrangements in place where appropriate
PVC Education/ Academic Registrar

The value of qualifications are reviewed annually in the Education Committee’s Annual Quality Assessment Report to Council.

In independent league tables the University is consistently placed within the top three universities in the UK and within the top ten universities in the world.

B5 Courses meet standards in FHEQ level 4+
The provider must deliver courses that meet the academic standards as they are described in the Framework for Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) at Level 4 or higher.
  • Threshold standards accord with FHEQ
PVC Education/ Academic Registrar The University publication A Brief guide to the UK quality code and its implementation at Oxford sets out how the University’s standards accord with the FHEQ.
B6 TEF
The provider must participate in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF).
  • Must participate in the TEF
PVC Education/ Academic Registrar Oxford University holds a gold TEF award.
OfS Condition Indicators Responsibility Evidence of Compliance
C1 Consumer Protection Law
The provider must demonstrate that in developing and implementing its policies, procedures and terms and conditions it has given due regard to relevant guidance about how to comply with consumer protection law.
  • Information published regarding legal compliance
  • Published course information
  • Student contracts/Ts&Cs
  • Compliant complaints process
  • Quick response to OfS queries
  • Regular review of relevant policies and procedures
Academic Registrar

The University has published a statement in respect of Consumer Protection Compliance.

The University publishes the University Student Handbook which is reviewed annually and contains information to help students made informed choices.

Students are provided with detailed information about the undergraduate courses and graduate courses offered and fees payable and also a comparison of the costs associated with different colleges.

Contractual information is published online, by admissions year.

There is a fair and transparent complaints procedure in place.

C2 Student complaints scheme
The provider must:
i. Cooperate with the requirements of the student complaints scheme run by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, including the subscription requirements.
ii. Make students aware of their ability to use the scheme.
  • Cooperation with OIA
  • Payment to OIA
  • Making students aware of the scheme
Academic Registrar/ Proctors’ Office

There is information on the students website about complaints and academic appeals and information on the Academic Support website about appeals, complaints and conduct. The policies on both of these sites provide information about the OIA.

The Proctors prepare an annual report on “Complaints and Appeals Investigated” and a more detailed annual report to the Education Committee. Information is also published annually in the Gazette.

The OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator) fee has been paid. 

C3 Student Protection Plan
The provider must:
i. Have in force and publish a student protection plan which has been approved by the OfS as appropriate for its assessment of the regulatory risk presented by the provider and for the risk to continuation of study of all of its students.
ii. Take all reasonable steps to implement the provisions of the plan if the events set out in the plan take place.
iii. Inform the OfS of events, except for the closure of an individual course, that require the implementation of the provisions of the plan.
  • Commitment to preserving continuation of study
  • Credible plan
  • Plan published and available to all applicants, students and staff
  • Annual review and updating of plan
  • Plan is fair and equitable for all students
  • Work with students when implementing plan, adequate notice etc.
Academic Registrar 

The University has a student protection plan in place, approved by OfS. This is reviewed and update as necessary.

No notifiable events have occurred.

OfS Condition Indicators Responsibility Evidence of Compliance
D Financial Sustainability
The provider must:
i. Be financially viable.
ii. Be financially sustainable.
iii. Have the necessary financial resources to provide and fully deliver the higher education courses as it has advertised and as it has contracted to deliver them.
iv. Have the necessary financial resources to continue to comply with all conditions of its registration.
  • Credible financial forecast and business plans
  • Compliance with accounts direction
  • Financial forecasts met
  • Operate within financial “facilities”
  • Invoices paid on time
  • Unplanned changes to activities avoided
  • Registration fees paid on time
  • Financial statements filed on time
Finance Director

The published Financial statements of the University demonstrate that the University has credible financial forecast and business plants and that it operates in compliance with accounts directions.

The University's policy, as set out in its standard terms and conditions, is to pay all invoices within 30 days of receipt. The University is up-to-date with the filing of financial statements.

OfS Condition Indicators Responsibility Evidence of Compliance
E1 Public Interest Governance
The provider’s governing documents must uphold the public interest governance principles that are applicable to the provider.
  • Notify OfS of relevant changes in governing documents (eg those that relate to DAPs) and submits revised documents
Director of Planning and Council Secretariat 

The University has carried out a self-assessment of management and governance, which sets out how public interest governance principles are met. 

There has been no material change in any of these areas.

E2 Management and Governance
The provider must have in place adequate and effective management
and governance arrangements to:
i. Operate in accordance with its governing documents.
ii. Deliver, in practice, the public interest governance principles that are applicable to it.
iii. Provide and fully deliver the higher education courses advertised.
iv. Continue to comply with all conditions of its registration.
  • Published information about senior staff remuneration
  • Compliance with governing documents and statutory duties
  • Regular effectiveness reviews
  • Publically available governing documents
  • Appropriate delegations only
  • Reports and minutes made publically available
  • Register of conflicts of interest
  • Funds are used for purpose given
  • Published information about ensuring value for money
Director of Planning and Council Secretariat 

The University’s governing documents are its statutes and regulations, which are all publicly available. The University acts in compliance with these. The annual reports of the internal and external auditors are considered by Council during Michaelmas term each year and are considered at other times/by other committees as necessary.

From November 2019, Council minutes are publicly available. Minutes published prior to that are available behind single sign-on.

Information about senior staff remuneration is published on CRSSUO page of the website and the Vice Chancellor’s remuneration is included within the Financial Statements

The annual accountability returns submitted to the OfS confirm that funds are used for the purposes given.

The University’s legislation sets out the way in which delegations can be made by Council and by key officers of the University. Delegations by Council are set out in Council’s Standing Orders and the University maintains a register of officer delegations. The governance processes in place ensure that all of these delegations are appropriate.

The self-assessment of management and governance provides further details.

E3 Accountability
The governing body of a provider must:
i. Accept responsibility for the interactions between the provider and the OfS and its designated bodies.
ii. Ensure the provider’s compliance with all of its conditions of registration and with the OfS’s accounts direction.
iii. Nominate to the OfS a senior officer as the ‘accountable officer’ who has the responsibilities set out by the OfS for an accountable officer from time to time.
  • Compliance with accounts direction
  • Promptly addressing any issues with conditions of registration
  • Notifying OfS of any changes to the accountable officer

Finance Director

Director of Planning and Council Secretariat

Registrar 

The published Financial Statements demonstrate compliance with accounts direction.

An accountable officer (the Vice-Chancellor) has been nominated to the OfS. There have been no changes to this.

The General Purposes Committee on behalf of Council carries out an annual self-assessment of compliance with conditions.

E4 Notification of changes to the Register
The governing body of the provider must notify the OfS of any change
of which it becomes aware which affects the accuracy of the information contained in the provider’s entry in the Register.
  • Provide information to OfS within 28 days regarding any change to information published in the OfS register.

Director of Planning and Council Secretariat 

No amendments have been required to be made to the register.
E5 Facilitation of electoral registration
The provider must comply with guidance published by the OfS to facilitate, in cooperation with electoral registration officers, the electoral registration of students.
  • Provide information to electoral registration officer when requested
  • Facilitation of partnership working with electoral registration officer
  • Provision of accessible information to students regarding registering to vote
Academic Registrar

Information about how to register to vote is provided to all new students as a part of the general induction information.

Data is submitted to the electoral officer as required.

OfS Condition Indicators Responsibility Evidence of Compliance
F1 Transparency Information
The provider must provide to the OfS, and publish, in the manner and form specified by the OfS, the transparency information set out in section 9 of HERA.
  • Provide information to OfS by deadline
  • Publish information on website
Academic Registrar

Transparency data is published on the website.

F2 Student Transfer arrangements
The provider must provide to the OfS, and publish, information about its arrangements for a student to transfer.
  • Provide information to the OfS regarding transfer arrangements
  • Publish information regarding transfer arrangements
Academic Registrar

Student transfers in are not permitted.

The University provides assistance to students wishing to transfer out.

Information on student transfer arrangements is available on the academic support site.

F3 Provision of Information to the OfS
For the purpose of assisting the OfS in performing any function, or exercising any power, conferred on the OfS under any legislation, the governing body of a provider must:
i. Provide the OfS, or a person nominated by the OfS, with such information as the OfS specifies at the time and in the manner and form specified.
ii. Permit the OfS to verify, or arrange for the independent verification by a person nominated by the OfS of such information as the OfS specifies at the time and in the manner specified, and must notify the OfS of the outcome of any independent verification at the time and in the manner and form specified.
iii. Take such steps as the OfS reasonably requests to co-operate with any monitoring or investigation by the OfS, in particular, but not limited to, providing explanations or making available documents to the OfS or a person nominated by it or making available members of staff to meet with the OfS or a person nominated by it.
The requirements in paragraphs (ii) and (iii) do not affect the generality of the
requirement in paragraph (i).
  • Quality and timeliness of information
  • Reporting of “reportable events”
  • Provision of information to SLC
  • Reporting to OfS of information with a material impact
  • Resource and expertise in place (data capability)
Director of Planning and Council Secretariat

The Data Assurance Group, which reports to PRAC, has appropriate data capability and oversees the submission of quality checked data returns to OfS and HESA. All returns were submitted on time in 2018/19.

Ad hoc data requests or OfS visits would be coordinated by the Director of Planning and Council Secretariat.

All required reports have been made to the OfS.

F4 Provision of Information to DDB (HESA)
For the purposes of the designated data body (DDB)’s duties under sections 64(1) and 65(1) of HERA, the provider must provide the DDB with such information as the DDB specifies at the time and in the manner and form specified by the DDB.
  • Accurate data submitted on time
  • Responding appropriately to data audit/queries
Various (depending on source of data) The Data Assurance Group coordinates and quality assures the submission of HESA data returns.
OfS Condition Indicators Responsibility Evidence of Compliance
G1 Mandatory fee limit
A provider in the Approved (fee cap) category must charge qualifying persons on qualifying courses fees that do not exceed the relevant fee limit determined by the provider’s quality rating and its access and participation plan.
  • Fees in line with levels published and included on register
Academic Registrar Colleges are required to confirm that they have charged fees in accordance with published fee schedules. Further systems enhancements are planned as part of the Data Futures implementation. 
G2 Compliance with terms and conditions of financial support
The provider must comply with any terms and conditions attached to
financial support received from the OfS and UKRI under sections 41(1) and/or 94(2) of HERA. A breach of such terms and conditions will be a breach of this condition of registration.
  • Compliance with OfS and UKRI terms and conditions of support
  • Governance arrangements to oversee regularity and value for money
Finance Director

The external audit report and the Annual Accountability Return confirm that the University has complied with the terms of funding allocations.

The internal audit report covers value for money. This is also reported on annually to Council by the Planning and Resource Allocation Committee.

These are considered annually by Council in Michaelmas term, together with the Financial Statement and Forecasts.

G3 Payment to OfS and designated bodies
The provider must pay:
i. Its annual registration fee and other OfS fees in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State.
ii. The fees charged by the designated bodies.
  • Payment of fees in full and by the deadline
Finance Director Arrangements are in place to ensure that invoices are paid on time.

Contact us


Email: council.sec@admin.ox.ac.uk