The Regulatory Partnership Group (RPG) was asked by the Government in June 2012 to develop a new operating framework for higher education in England to take account of the new funding arrangements introduced in September 2012. A vision was set out in the 2011 White Paper “Students at the Heart of the System”.
A draft of the operating framework was circulated prior to the conference and was discussed during the presentations and breakout sessions. The overall feedback was that the document represented a step forward. However the current version is complex and hard to understand, and not accessible to students in particular. The main new feature in the report seemed to be a registry of providers of HE services. Overall it was hard to judge from the document what was a description of existing structures and what was new. Further iterations of the operating framework will be circulated in the next few months, in particular including market research with students.
Part of the RPG activity is on redesigning the information landscape. Andy Youell from HESA gave a very clear summary of the work carried out in the HESA Information Landscape Study of June 2012 and subsequent work. A new body called HEDIIP has been formed and is currently defining a programme of work, supported by a programme office. For further details see http://www.hediip.ac.uk. Tom Wilson will be chair of the programme board. The overall objectives are
1. Collective oversight to enable effective governance of data collection.
2. Definition of a common data language.
3. An inventory of data collection and collectors.
4. Specific data standards work.
From the UKRISS perspective, there is likely to be overlap with the UKRISS work on research information reporting and HEDIIP activities, in areas such as reporting on research students, subject coding etc… Hence we plan to engage with HEDIIP during the next few months to identify common information fields, definitions and dictionaries.