Where do we go from here? Quality assurance in English higher education
7 February 2023
The independence of the DQB, and the trust of the sector in the DQB, are important considerations as to why the DQB is a key element of the English higher education Regulatory framework. [...] In the absence of an organisation eligible to serve as the DQB, HERA allows the Secretary of State to permit the OfS to assume these functions, with protections for institutional autonomy and recognising sector expertise in the setting of standards. [...] These limits on the judgement and powers of the OfS further cement the necessity of the DQB in the English higher education Regulatory framework, and the importance of the DQB to the OfS when executing its statutory responsibilities. [...] Interpreting the role of the OfS On 20 July 2022, the QAA announced that it would be stepping away from the role of DQB to avoid risking its registration with the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR), which was under threat as a consequence of the approach to quality assurance being dictated to the QAA by the OfS. [...] In fact, many of the controls and restrictions placed on the OfS in relation to quality and standards are not enforceable in the event the Secretary of State is unable to appoint an organisation eligible to serve as the DQB.