Higher Education and Research Bill (HL Bill 76)

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(a) the provider is treated as a registered higher education provider for all
purposes other than the excepted purposes, and

(b) the provider’s entry in the register remains but must specify—

(i) that the registration is suspended, and

(ii) 5the excepted purposes.

(4) The suspension of a provider’s registration ends—

(a) when the suspension is lifted by the OfS because the remedial
conditions have been satisfied or for any other reason, or

(b) if earlier, when the provider is removed from the register under section
1018 (de-registration by the OfS) or section 22 (voluntary de-registration).

(5) The OfS may vary the excepted purposes or the remedial conditions at any
time during the suspension.

(6) Where it decides to vary the excepted purposes or the remedial conditions, the
OfS must notify the governing body of the provider of its decision.

(7) 15The notice must specify the excepted purposes, or remedial conditions, as
varied.

(8) Where the excepted purposes are varied, the OfS must update the provider’s
entry in the register with the excepted purposes (as varied).

(9) Where the suspension of a provider’s registration ends otherwise than when
20the provider is removed from the register, the OfS must enter the date on which
it ends in the provider’s entry in the register.

17 Suspension: procedure

(1) Before suspending a registered higher education provider’s registration under
section 16, the OfS must notify the governing body of the provider of its
25intention to do so.

(2) The notice must—

(a) specify the OfS’s reasons for proposing to suspend the registration,

(b) specify the proposed excepted purposes and the proposed remedial
conditions (if any),

(c) 30specify the period during which the governing body of the provider
may make representations about the proposal (“the specified period”),
and

(d) specify the way in which those representations may be made.

(3) The specified period must not be less than 28 days beginning with the date on
35which the notice is received.

(4) The OfS must have regard to any representations made by the governing body
of the provider during the specified period in deciding whether to suspend its
registration.

(5) Having decided whether or not to suspend the provider’s registration, the OfS
40must notify the governing body of the provider of its decision.

(6) Where the decision is to suspend the provider’s registration, the notice must—

(a) specify the date on which the suspension takes effect,

(b) specify the excepted purposes,

(c) specify the remedial conditions (if any), and

Higher Education and Research BillPage 11

(d) contain information as to the grounds for the suspension.

(7) The OfS may vary the date specified under subsection (6)(a) at any time before
that date by notifying the governing body of the provider.

(8) Subsections (1) to (7) do not apply where the OfS considers that a suspension
5should take effect immediately because there is an urgent need to protect
public money, including, in particular, payments made under—

(a) section 37 or 38 (financial support for providers),

(b) section 87 in the exercise of UKRI’s power under that section to give
financial support, or

(c) 10section 22 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 (financial
support for students).

(9) In such a case—

(a) the OfS must notify the governing body of the provider of its decision
to suspend the provider’s registration, and

(b) 15that notice must comply with the requirements of subsection (6).

18 De-registration by the OfS

(1) The OfS must remove a registered higher education provider from the register
if the OfS becomes aware that the provider no longer is, or intends to become,
an English higher education provider.

(2) 20The OfS may remove a registered higher education provider from the register
if condition A or B is satisfied.

(3) Condition A is satisfied if—

(a) the OfS has previously exercised its powers under section 15 (monetary
penalties) or section 16 (suspension) in relation to breach of one of the
25provider’s ongoing registration conditions, and

(b) it appears to the OfS that—

(i) there is again a breach, or a continuing breach, of that condition,
or

(ii) there is or has been a breach of a different one of the provider’s
30ongoing registration conditions.

(4) Condition B is satisfied if it appears to the OfS that—

(a) there is or has been a breach of one of the provider’s ongoing
registration conditions, and

(b) its powers under sections 15 and 16 are insufficient to deal with the
35breach (whether or not they have been, are being or are to be, exercised
in relation to it).

(5) The OfS may make transitional or saving provision in connection with the
removal of a provider from the register under this section.

(6) That provision may include treating the provider as a registered higher
40education provider for such purposes as the OfS may specify.

(7) The OfS must—

(a) maintain a list of providers removed from the register under this
section,

(b) include in that list the details of any provision made under subsection
45(5), and

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(c) make the list publicly available by such means as it considers
appropriate.

19 De-registration by the OfS: procedure

(1) Before removing a registered higher education provider from the register
5under section 18, the OfS must notify the governing body of the provider of its
intention to do so.

(2) The notice must—

(a) specify the OfS’s reasons for proposing to remove the provider from
the register,

(b) 10specify the period during which the governing body of the provider
may make representations about the proposal (“the specified period”),
and

(c) specify the way in which those representations may be made.

(3) The specified period must not be less than 28 days beginning with the date on
15which the notice is received.

(4) The OfS must have regard to any representations made by the governing body
of the provider during the specified period in deciding whether to remove it
from the register.

(5) Having decided whether or not to remove the provider from the register, the
20OfS must notify the governing body of the provider of its decision.

(6) Where the decision is to remove the provider from the register, the notice must
specify the date on which the removal takes effect.

(7) The notice must also contain information as to—

(a) the grounds for the removal,

(b) 25rights of appeal, and

(c) the period within which an appeal may be made.

(8) The OfS may vary the date specified under subsection (6) at any time before
that date by notifying the governing body of the provider.

(9) A removal under section 18 may not take effect at any time when an appeal
30could be brought against the decision to remove or such an appeal is pending.

(10) But that does not prevent a removal taking effect if the governing body of the
provider notifies the OfS that it does not intend to appeal.

20 De-registration: appeals

(1) The governing body of an institution may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal
35against a decision of the OfS to remove it from the register under section 18.

(2) An appeal may be on the grounds—

(a) that the decision was based on an error of fact;

(b) that the decision was wrong in law;

(c) that the decision was unreasonable.

(3) 40On an appeal, the Tribunal may—

(a) withdraw the removal;

(b) confirm the removal;

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(c) vary the date on which the removal takes effect;

(d) remit the decision whether to confirm the removal, or any matter
relating to that decision, to the OfS.

21 Refusal to renew an access and participation plan

(1) 5This section applies where—

(a) an access and participation plan condition is one of the ongoing
registration conditions of a registered higher education provider, and

(b) it appears to the OfS that there is or has been a failure by the governing
body of the provider to comply with—

(i) 10the requirement of that condition mentioned in section 12(3)(b)
(failure to comply with general provisions of access and
participation plan), or

(ii) a fee limit condition which is one of its ongoing registration
conditions.

(2) 15The OfS may notify the governing body of the provider that, on the expiry of
the access and participation plan in relation to the provider which is currently
in force, it will refuse to approve a new plan under section 28 during such
period as the OfS may specify in the notice.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about—

(a) 20matters to which the OfS must, or must not, have regard in exercising
its powers under subsection (2);

(b) the procedure to be followed in connection with the giving of
notification under subsection (2);

(c) the effect of such a notification.

(4) 25The regulations must include provision—

(a) requiring any decision of the OfS under subsection (2) affecting the
governing body of a provider to have effect in the first instance as a
provisional decision,

(b) enabling the governing body to apply for a review of the provisional
30decision to a person, or panel of persons, appointed by the Secretary of
State in accordance with the regulations,

(c) enabling the Secretary of State to pay remuneration and allowances to
any person so appointed,

(d) prescribing the grounds on which an application for the review of a
35provisional decision may be made, and

(e) requiring the OfS to reconsider its provisional decision, and make a
final decision, having regard to any recommendation of the person or
panel.

(5) The OfS’s powers in sections 15 to 19 (penalties, suspension and de-
40registration) are also available in the event of the breach of a condition
described in subsection (1)(b).

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Voluntary de-registration

22 Voluntary de-registration

(1) The OfS must remove a registered higher education provider from the register
if—

(a) 5the governing body of the provider applies to the OfS for the provider
to be removed from the register, and

(b) the application complies with any requirements imposed under
subsection (2).

(2) The OfS may determine—

(a) 10the form of an application under subsection (1),

(b) the information to be contained in it or provided with it, and

(c) the manner in which an application is to be submitted.

(3) The OfS must notify the governing body of the provider of the date on which
the provider is removed from the register (“the removal date”).

(4) 15The OfS may vary the removal date at any time before that date by notifying
the governing body of the provider.

(5) The OfS may make transitional or saving provision in connection with the
removal of a provider from the register under this section.

(6) That provision may include treating the provider as a registered higher
20education provider for such purposes as the OfS may specify.

(7) The OfS must—

(a) maintain a list of providers removed from the register under this
section,

(b) include in that list the details of any provision made under subsection
25(5), and

(c) make the list publicly available by such means as it considers
appropriate.

Quality and standards

23 Assessing the quality of, and the standards applied to, higher education

(1) 30The OfS may assess, or make arrangements for the assessment of, the quality
of, and the standards applied to, higher education provided by English higher
education providers.

(2) But the OfS must assess, or make arrangements for the assessment of, the
quality of, and the standards applied to, higher education provided by—

(a) 35institutions who have applied to be registered in the register for the
purposes of determining whether they satisfy any initial registration
condition applicable to them relating to the quality of, or the standards
applied to, higher education provided by them (see section 13(1)(a)),
and

(b) 40registered higher education providers for the purposes of determining
whether they satisfy any ongoing registration condition of theirs
relating to the quality of, or the standards applied to, higher education
provided by them (see section 13(1)(a)).

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(3) “Standards” has the same meaning as in section 13(1)(a).

24 Quality Assessment Committee

(1) The OfS must establish a committee called the “Quality Assessment
Committee”.

(2) 5The Committee has—

(a) the function of giving the OfS advice on the exercise of its functions
under section 23, and

(b) such other functions that the OfS may confer on it.

(3) While a body is designated under Schedule 4 to perform the OfS’s functions
10under section 23, the Committee also has the function of giving to the OfS
advice on the exercise by the designated body of those functions.

(4) The majority of the members of the Committee must be individuals who
appear to the OfS to have experience of providing higher education on behalf
of an English higher education provider or being responsible for the provision
15of higher education by such a provider.

(5) In appointing members of the Committee who meet those criteria, the OfS
must have regard to the desirability of their being currently engaged at the
time of their appointment in the provision of higher education or in being
responsible for such provision.

(6) 20The majority of the members of the Committee must be individuals who are
not members of the OfS.

(7) Schedule 1 applies to the Quality Assessment Committee as it applies to
committees established under paragraph 8 of that Schedule.

25 Rating the quality of, and the standards applied to, higher education

(1) 25The OfS may make arrangements for a scheme to give ratings—

(a) to English higher education providers regarding the quality of, and the
standards applied to, higher education that they provide where they
apply for such a rating, and

(b) to higher education providers in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland,
30in respect of whom the appropriate consent is given, regarding the
quality of, and the standards applied to, higher education that they
provide where they apply for such a rating.

(2) “The appropriate consent” means—

(a) in the case of a higher education provider in Wales, the consent of the
35Welsh Ministers to the application of subsection (1) to the provider;

(b) in the case of a higher education provider in Scotland, the consent of the
Scottish Ministers to the application of subsection (1) to the provider;

(c) in the case of a higher education provider in Northern Ireland, the
consent of the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland to the
40application of subsection (1) to the provider.

(3) Such consent—

(a) may be given either generally in respect of all providers or in respect of
providers of a particular description or named providers,

(b) is given by notifying the Chair of the OfS, and

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(c) is valid until it is revoked by notifying the Chair.

(4) For the purposes of applying the definition of “higher education provider” in
section 77(1) to subsections (1)(b) and (2), the reference to “higher education”
in that definition—

(a) 5in the case of an institution in Wales, has the meaning given in section
77(1);

(b) in the case of an institution in Scotland, has the same meaning as in
section 38 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992;

(c) in the case of an institution in Northern Ireland, has the same meaning
10as in Article 2(2) of the Further Education (Northern Ireland) Order
1997 (S.I. 1997/1772 (N.I. 15))

and the reference to “higher education” in subsection (1)(b) is to be read
accordingly.

(5) “Standards” has the same meaning as in section 13(1)(a).

(6) 15For the purposes of applying that definition of “standards” to subsection (1)(b),
the reference to a “higher education course” in that definition—

(a) in the case of an institution in Wales, has the meaning given in section
77(1);

(b) in the case of an institution in Scotland, means a course falling within
20section 38 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992;

(c) in the case of an institution in Northern Ireland, means a course of any
description mentioned in Schedule 1 to the Further Education
(Northern Ireland) Order 1997 (S.I. 1997/1772 (N.I. 15)).

26 Performance of assessment functions by a designated body

(1) 25In Schedule 4—

(a) Part 1 makes provision about the designation of a body to perform the
assessment functions, and

(b) Part 2 makes provision about oversight of the designated body by the
OfS.

(2) 30The assessment functions are the functions of the OfS under section 23.

(3) Where a body has been designated under Schedule 4 to perform the
assessment functions, the functions do not cease to be exercisable by the OfS.

(4) The OfS may by notice require a body for the time being designated under
Schedule 4 (a “designated body”) to provide the OfS with information which is
35held by the designated body for the purposes of the performance of the
assessment functions.

(5) The OfS may give a notice under subsection (4) only in respect of information
which is required by the OfS for the purposes of the performance of any of its
functions.

(6) 40A notice under subsection (4) may require the information to be provided—

(a) by a time specified in the notice, and

(b) in a form and manner specified in the notice.

(7) If a designated body fails to comply with a notice under subsection (4) and
does not satisfy the OfS that it is unable to provide the information, the OfS

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may enforce the duty to comply with the notice in civil proceedings for an
injunction.

27 Power of designated body to charge fees

(1) In this section “designated body” means a body for the time being designated
5under Schedule 4.

(2) A designated body which is designated under that Schedule to perform the
functions of the OfS under section 23 may—

(a) charge an institution a fee for any activity undertaken, or service
provided, by the body in the performance by it of functions under
10section 23(1) (power to assess quality and standards) in relation to the
institution,

(b) charge an institution a fee for any activity undertaken, or service
provided, by the body in the performance by it of functions under
section 23(2)(a) (duty to assess to determine if initial registration
15condition relating to quality or standards is met) in relation to the
institution, and

(c) charge an annual fee to any registered higher education provider in
respect of costs incurred, or to be incurred, by the body in the
performance by the body of functions under section 23(2)(b) (duty to
20assess to determine if ongoing registration condition relating to quality
or standards is met).

(3) The amount of a fee payable under subsection (2)(a) by an institution may be
calculated by reference to costs incurred by the designated body in the
performance by the body of functions under section 23(1) in relation to a
25different institution or of its general functions.

(4) The total fees payable under subsection (2)(a) must not exceed in any period of
12 months the total costs incurred by the body in that period in the
performance by the body of its functions under section 23(1) and of its general
functions.

(5) 30The amount of a fee payable under subsection (2)(b) by an institution may be
calculated by reference to costs incurred by the designated body in the
performance by the body of functions under section 23(2)(a) in relation to a
different institution or of its general functions.

(6) The total fees payable under subsection (2)(b) must not exceed in any period of
3512 months the total costs incurred by the body in that period in the
performance by the body of its functions under section 23(2)(a) and of its
general functions.

(7) The amount of a fee payable under subsection (2)(c) may be calculated by
reference to costs incurred, or to be incurred, by the body in the performance
40by the body of functions under section 23(2)(b) which are unconnected with the
provider or of its general functions.

(8) The total fees payable under subsection (2)(c) in any period of 12 months must
not exceed the total costs incurred by the body in that period in the
performance by the body of its functions under section 23(2)(b) and of its
45general functions.

(9) A designated body must publish—

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(a) a statement of the amount of the fees which it charges under this section
and the basis on which they are calculated, and

(b) revised statements where the amount of the fees or the basis on which
they are calculated changes.

(10) 5In this section references to the general functions of a designated body are to
its functions under section 26(4) or paragraph 8(1) of Schedule 4 (duty to
provide information and an annual report).

Access and participation

28 Power to approve an access and participation plan

(1) 10The governing body of an institution may apply to the OfS for the OfS’s
approval of a proposed access and participation plan relating to the institution
for the purposes of satisfying an access and participation plan condition.

(2) An access and participation plan is a plan that complies with sections 29 to 31.

(3) The OfS may, if it thinks fit, approve the plan.

(4) 15The OfS may issue guidance as to the matters to which the OfS will have regard
in deciding whether to approve plans.

(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the procedure
to be followed in connection with the giving of approval under this section.

(6) The regulations may, in particular, specify matters to which the OfS is, or is not,
20to have regard in making any determination relating to approval.

(7) The regulations may require the institution to which any plan approved under
this section relates to publish the plan in the manner prescribed by the
regulations.

29 Duration of a plan

(1) 25An access and participation plan must specify the period during which it is to
be in force.

(2) The length of that period must not exceed such maximum as may be prescribed
by regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not prevent the approval of a new plan taking effect
30on the expiry of a previous plan.

30 Content of a plan: fees

(1) An access and participation plan relating to an institution must, in relation to
each qualifying course in connection with which fees are to be payable to the
institution by qualifying persons and in respect of each relevant academic year,
35specify or provide for the determination of a limit which those fees are not
permitted to exceed.

(2) The limit must not exceed—

(a) the higher amount, if the institution has a high level quality rating at the
time the plan is approved, or

(b) 40in any other case, the applicable sub-level amount.

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(3) In this section—

  • “the applicable sub-level amount” in relation to an institution means the
    amount determined from time to time under paragraph 2 of Schedule
    2 as the sub-level amount applicable to that institution;

  • 5“high level quality rating” has the same meaning as in that paragraph;

  • “the higher amount” means the amount from time to time prescribed as
    the higher amount under that paragraph;

  • “qualifying course” and “qualifying person” have the same meaning as in
    section 10;

  • 10“relevant academic year”, in relation to a qualifying course, is an academic
    year—

    (a)

    which is applicable to the course,

    (b)

    in respect of which fees are payable to the institution, and

    (c)

    which begins when the plan comes into force or while it is in
    15force.

31 Content of a plan: equality of opportunity

(1) An access and participation plan relating to an institution—

(a) must also include such provisions relating to the promotion of equality
of opportunity as are required by regulations made by the Secretary of
20State to be included in the plan, and

(b) may also include further provisions relating to the promotion of
equality of opportunity.

(2) In this section, any reference to the “general provisions” of an access and
participation plan is a reference to the provisions included in the plan by virtue
25of subsection (1).

(3) The general provisions that may be required by regulations made under
subsection (1) include, in particular, provisions—

(a) requiring the governing body of the institution to take, or secure the
taking of, measures to attract applications from prospective students
30who are members of groups which, at the time when the plan is
approved, are under-represented in higher education,

(b) requiring the governing body of the institution to provide, or secure the
provision of, financial assistance to students,

(c) requiring the governing body of the institution to make available to
35students and prospective students information about financial
assistance available to students from any source,

(d) setting out objectives relating to the promotion of equality of
opportunity,

(e) relating to the monitoring by the governing body of the institution of—

(i) 40its compliance with the provisions of the plan, and

(ii) its progress in achieving any objectives set out in the plan by
virtue of paragraph (d), and

(f) requiring the provision of information to the OfS.

(4) Regulations under subsection (1) may not require a plan—

(a) 45to include among the general provisions of the plan any provision
referring to particular courses or to the manner in which courses are
taught, supervised or assessed, or