HEFCE answers critics

March 14, 1997

FUNDING chiefs are to raise their regional profile after a survey showed university managers wanted more face-to-face contact.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England will announce proposals to restructure the organisation at its annual conference next month. At the moment it divides England into just three regions, which many institutions consider too inflexible.

A survey carried out last year by the Office for Public Management found a quarter of respondents criticised HEFCE's effectiveness in quality assessment and 31 per cent felt its policy development and consultation was not good enough.

Nearly half felt they lacked understanding about HEFCE's less visible work, such as the Forward programmes for quality assessment of teaching and learning and funds for special initiatives. Most wanted the council to act more as a partner or advocate for the sector and less as an agency of Government.

Respondents, who included deans, heads of department and administrators in 16 institutions, wanted greater regional team contact and more collaboration.

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