OFFA Guide to Information

What is the Guide to Information?

The OFFA Guide to Information sets out the information we make available and where to find it.

OFFA is committed to making information available whenever we can legally do so, unless we consider that release would cause significant harm. In such cases we will withhold information under an appropriate exemption in the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. Where relevant, we will also comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and respect the privacy of individuals.

If you cannot find what you want through this guide, or on our website, you may wish to make a request for information under the FOI Act (an “FOI request”).

The Guide to Information fulfils our obligation to produce a “publication scheme” under Section 19 of the FOI Act. It follows the Information Commissioner’s model publication scheme and definition document for non-departmental bodies.

Who we are and what we do

OFFA’s role and responsibilities

OFFA staff and what they do

Senior staff biographies: Director and Assistant Director

Advisory group

Our relationship with Government and legislative basis for our activities 

Our location and contact details 

Organisations with whom we work in partnership

The Department for Education (DfE) is our sponsoring department.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) provides accommodation, IT, finance and other services under a Service Level Agreement. More information on what is provided is available in our annual reports. A copy of the Service Level Agreement is available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

Our Director meets regularly with the Minister for Universities and Science and other senior officials in government departments as appropriate.

What we spend and how we spend it

Framework document between BIS and the Director of Fair Access setting out the broad management and financial framework within which the Director of Fair Access is required to operate.

A list of contracts awarded and their value is available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

OFFA has its own policies for minor procurement which are available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

OFFA adopts policies and arrangements governed by HEFCE for procurement of services under contract.  These policies and arrangements are provided through our Service Level Agreement. A copy of the Service Level Agreement is available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

We publish senior staff salary information and details of salary bands and staff numbers for all OFFA staff. HEFCE provides us with HR services through our Service Level Agreement. We therefore follow HEFCE pay and grading structures for all staff other than the Director of Fair Access. Details of HEFCE pay bands are available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk. Details of the Director’s salary are available in our annual reports and accounts.

What our priorities are and how we are doing

Strategic Plan

National strategy for access and student success in higher education, which we produced jointly with HEFCE

Annual reports and accounts

Evaluation of our processes: our 2014 internal review of our effectiveness against the Regulators’ Code is available on request – please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

Service standards in approving access agreements are available in our guidance for universities and colleges on how to produce an access agreement.

The results of our annual monitoring of access agreements

Annual business plans are available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

How we make decisions

List of access agreements approved by the Director of Fair Access to Higher Education

Research publications, analysis, statistics, reports on annual access agreement decisions and trends and progress in fair access

Consultations and calls for evidence

Ministerial letters of guidance

Policies and procedures

HEFCE provide HR services through our Service Level Agreement. We therefore follow HEFCE’s Equality and Diversity Action Plan, HR policies and procedures. HR policies and procedures (including staff recruitment, selection, training and development, health and safety) are available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

Our Complaints page explains how members of the public, students and prospective students can complain. 

Our guidance for universities and colleges on how to produce an access agreement describes how institutions can appeal if their access agreement is rejected.

Lists and registers

List of access agreements 

A gifts and hospitality register for the Director of Fair Access is available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

Registers of interests for the Director of Fair Access and Advisory Group members.

Our Freedom of Information disclosure log is available on request: please contact enquiries@offa.org.uk.

The services we offer to institutions with an access agreement

Guidance for universities and colleges on completing their access agreement monitoring returns 

Guidance on how to produce an access agreement (and additional guidance for those doing so for the first time)

Additional guidance and decisions on specific aspects of drawing up and maintaining an access agreement 

Briefings focusing on specific topics giving an overview of practice in access agreements 

Data and analysis of trends, progress and effective practice