HC Deb 21 March 2000 vol 346 cc504-5W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what, in relation to the current assessment of academic teaching quality is(a) the annual cost to public funds in each of the last three years, (b) the estimated cost of compliance by the higher education sector and (c) the assessed benefits of the process. [115767]

Mr. Wicks

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has a statutory responsibility under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 for assessing the quality of the provision which it funds. Quality assessment/subject reviews are carried out under contract between HEFCE and QAA, the cost of which for the last three years is:

£ million
1997–98 (HEFCE and DENI) 4.1
1998–99 (HEFCE only) 4.2
1999–2000 (HEFCE only) 5.6

The cost of compliance by the HE sector is not collected centrally.

Quality assurance provides: accountability for the use of public funds; public information on the purpose and quality of provision to prospective students and other stakeholders; encouragement to improve; and opportunities for sharing best practice across the sector.