OfS Reportable Events

Last full review: December 2021. This page is based on OfS regulatory advice which comes into effect on 1 January 2022.

If you consider that a reportable event may have occurred or would like to discuss whether an event may be reportable please contact Rebecca Thomas (rebecca.thomas@admin.o.x.ac.uk). 

One of the ongoing conditions of registration with the Office for Students (OfS) is that the University informs them of all “reportable events”. The OfS uses the information received to inform their risk assessment for the University. Key employees need to be aware of this condition and ensure that if they become aware of a reportable event they provide details of this to the Council Secretariat. Note that the University is also responsible for reporting matters that relate to the colleges, societies and permanent private halls (and in this note “college” includes all three).

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Events that have already happened

These are events that the University becomes aware of after they have occurred, such as the discovery of a possible fraud. These events must be reported within five working days of the University becoming aware of them.

Events that have yet to happen

These are events or matters relating to the University’s future plans. The majority of reportable events in this category should be reported within five working days of the University becoming aware that the event will have an impact on its compliance with its conditions of registration, or its authorisation for degree awarding powers or university title. This includes events such as the closure of a department or college, a likely breach of banking covenants, or a realisation that a deadline for the submission of data will be missed.

However, if the matter is relevant to the University’s eligibility for registration it must be reported within five working days of being first contemplated, which essentially means when it is first formally discussed by Council. This would only apply to events such as a change of control or ceasing to offer higher education, meaning it is very unlikely that the University will have reportable events which fall within this category.

The OfS provides the following definition:

A reportable event is any event or matter that, in the reasonable judgement of the OfS, negatively affects or could negatively affect:

a. The provider’s eligibility for registration with the OfS.
b. The provider's ability to comply with its conditions of registration.
c. The provider's eligibility for degree awarding powers, or its ability to comply with the criteria for degree awarding powers, where the provider:

i. holds degree awarding powers; or
ii. has submitted an application for degree awarding powers to the OfS, and for which the OfS has yet to reach a final decision.

d. The provider's eligibility for university title, where the provider:

i. holds university title; or
ii. has submitted an application for university title to the OfS, and for which the OfS has yet to reach a final decision.

In interpreting ‘the reasonable judgement of the OfS’, the OfS will, as a matter of policy, consider whether a reasonable provider intent on complying with all of its conditions of registration and acting in the interests of students and taxpayers (rather than in its own commercial, reputational or other interests), would consider the event or matter to be material.

Examples of events or matters that would always be reportable include the following:

  • The opening of a new college.
  • The closure of a subject area, department or college.
  • The termination of any partnership arrangement resulting in a contract change for students.
  • A notification of an investigation by a professional, regulatory or statutory body.
  • A complaint that the University has charged or advertised fees that exceed a statutory fee limit.
  • A significant drop in liquidity.
  • A likely breach of a financial covenant attached to a loan.
  • A matter relating to compliance with the Prevent duty.

The following are examples of events that may reportable, depending on the full circumstances (i.e. only if the event could have a negative effect as described above):

  • Complaints from students that are upheld by the University of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator and result in redress for the student or changes within the University.
  • A change in actual or forecast financial position.
  • A change in financial commitments or borrowings.
  • A change in student number forecasts.
  • The sale of University assets.
  • A redundancy programme.
  • Events and matters relating to fraud or financial irregularity.
  • Legal or court action.
  • Inaccuracies or omissions in information submitted to the OfS or a designated data body.

Refer to Table 1 on page 17 of the OfS regulatory advice for further detail and additional examples.

The question of whether to report a particular matter as a reportable event is for the University to determine. This will be done by the Registrar, in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the senior leadership team as necessary.

If you consider that a reportable event may have occurred or would like to discuss whether an event may be reportable please contact Rebecca Thomas (rebecca.thomas@admin.o.x.ac.uk).

For further information, including the full guidance note please see OfS regulatory advice 16: reportable events