In a statement published on 7 October, the Higher Education Funding Council for England said it wants to seek the views of the sector on future approaches to assessment of quality.
Based on the feedback it received, it would invite tenders for the sector’s quality assurance work under a joint procurement exercise, which would help to “ensure transparency and demonstrate value for money”.
It said it is looking to “develop innovative approaches that are risk-based, proportionate, affordable, and low burden”, which would also need to “demonstrate value for taxpayers’ and students’ money”.
“Over the coming months we will therefore be listening carefully to the sector, the National Union of Students, government and other stakeholders,” Hefce said.
That would offer a “valuable opportunity to work together to explore fresh approaches to quality assessment in a fast-evolving and increasingly diverse higher education environment”.
“The views of students, universities and colleges will be crucial in designing the tender specification,” it added, saying it will create a steering group, including representatives from the NUS and funding bodies, to oversee the process.
Existing quality arrangements will continue in 2015-16, with some pilot activity to take place in 2016-17, with full changes to take effect in 2017.
The Scottish Funding Council will also conduct a similar review in partnership with Universities Scotland and NUS Scotland, it added.