Independent Statutory Reviewer on Access and Participation Plans for the Office for Students (OfS)

Body: Office for Students
Appointing Department: Department for Education
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Education
Location: Various
Skills required: Legal / Judicial, Regulation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £1,500 per day (daily rate)
Time Requirements: Daily (as and when required)


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.


Date: 18/09/2018

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


Interviews will now take place on 17.07.18 and not 09.07.18 as previously advertised.


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

All higher education providers that are subject to a cap on their tuition fees are required to have access and participation plans in place in order to charge fees up to higher maximum levels. Through these plans providers set out the activities they will undertake to support under-represented groups and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access, participate and succeed in higher education. This requirement is set out in the Higher Education Research Act (HERA) and an equivalent requirement already exists under the Higher Education Act 2004 (HEA04).

Decisions relating to Access and Participation Plans agreed by the OfS under HERA, or legacy Access Agreements made by the Director of Fair Access under HEA04, are provisional in the first instance. The legislation enables providers to apply for a review of decisions regarding the approval or variation of plans and certain enforcement decisions where providers are considered to have failed to comply with their plans.

Where a review is requested, the Statutory Reviewer will be responsible for reviewing:

  • Decisions taken by the Office for Students using powers under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA17) regarding access and participation plans, in the event that a governing body of a Registered Higher Education Provider applies for a review of such a decision.
  • Decisions taken under the powers of the Director of Fair Access to Higher Education under Part 3 of the Higher Education Act 2004 (HEA04), in the event that a governing body of a higher education institution applies for a review of such a decision. (This regime is being replaced by that under HERA, but will remain in effect during a transitional period.)

The Statutory Reviewer will decide whether a case meets the permitted grounds for a review and if so to review the case impartially, and make a recommendation if appropriate. This will allow the decision-maker to reconsider its decision as required by the legislation. We anticipate that the review will normally be conducted remotely, although the Reviewer may choose to request a hearing at their discretion. Cases should be reviewed promptly and will involve consideration of matters such as the extent to which an access and participation plan takes account of the guidance from the OfS/Director for Fair Access and Participation, the extent to which the provider has met the commitments set out in its plan, the reasonableness of the decision which the higher education provider has asked to be reviewed, and consideration of evidence presented.

The HERA17 and HEA04 are separate legislation and therefore the Statutory Reviewer role represents two separate appointments. The Secretary of State for Education will appoint one individual to both roles by default, unless agreed otherwise with you and another individual.


Person Specification

The OfS is required to have a Statutory Reviewer in place to review disputed OfS decisions relating to access and participation plans. Higher education providers have the opportunity to seek a review of such decisions and the legislation requires the Secretary of State to appoint a person or panel to carry out these reviews.

After a referral to the Reviewer, the OfS is required to reconsider its decision having regard to the Reviewer’s recommendation. It is therefore essential that the Independent Statutory Reviewer has the range of skills, knowledge and experience required for the role.

It is essential that you provide in your application, to the best of your ability, evidence and proven examples in each of the following selection criteria below. These responses will be further developed and discussed with those candidates invited for interview.

Essential Criteria:

· Substantial experience of analysing cases in dispute, assessing evidence and compliance with relevant processes and legislative requirements including the ability to interpret and apply statutory criteria to a decision-making process.
· Experience of representing individuals and organisations at all levels, and giving independent and persuasive advice taking into consideration complex information to form well thought out and robust conclusions.
· A proven ability to make and uphold carefully considered independent judgements on complex and contentious legal cases.
· Extensive experience in dealing with high profile legal cases with integrity and objectivity, preferably in the areas of mediation, arbitration or dispute resolution.
· A practising or former member of the legal profession, for example a solicitor, barrister or judge. Hold relevant professional legal qualification (e.g. law degree or equivalent) and membership of professional bodies.

Desirable Criteria

· Awareness of the legislative and policy context in which higher education providers and the OfS operate.
· Background in higher education and/or knowledge of widening participation to higher education in England.
· Awareness of judicial review procedures and civil law appeals process.

We particularly welcome applications from female, disabled, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) candidates who meet the specifications above.


How to Apply

Applicants should comptete the candidate application form and submit along with a CV and a separate personal statement demonstrating how they meet the key requirements for the role. Your personal statement should be no more than three pages long.

Your application must be submitted by email to PublicAppointments.

or by post to:

Department for Education

Public Appointments Team

Bishopsgate House




We also ask that you complete a diversity monitoring form which is for monitoring purposes only.

The closing date for applications is 23:00 on 17/06/2018

Diversity Monitoring Form
Statutory Reviewer Candidate Pack
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