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Sector Insights v01:
Exploring the capabilities providers need to navigate regulation

We are a specialist higher education consultancy, united by our shared values of curiosity, courage, and capacity-building.


We launched this project to identify the institutional capabilities that will support the English HE sector to respond to opportunities presented by expected changes to regulation, policy and the competitor landscape.

Our report examines the role of innovation within the regulatory framework for English higher education institutions. Using the institutional capabilities required to respond to regulatory change as a lens, we examine the ways in which regulation can support or inhibit innovation within this part of the sector. Our intention in publishing this report is to generate debate and foster a dialogue to provoke meaningful change.


This report has been informed by a survey and qualitative interviews conducted in 2023. The focus has been English higher education institutions operating under the conditions of registration and regulatory framework as prescribed by the Office for Students, and the higher education regulatory environment in England.


We sought views on:

  • higher education institutions’ ability to respond to regulatory change,

  • key capabilities required to respond to regulatory change, and

  • how well-established these capabilities are within higher education institutions.


We also asked participants their views on threats and opportunities posed by the Department for Education’s reform agenda.

We wish to thank and acknowledge all those who responded to our survey. We are particularly grateful to those individuals who contributed to the qualitative interviews.


If you’re interested in contributing to further research or participating in a roundtable discussion on some of the themes identified in the report, please contact us.

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