The Financial Health and Sustainability of the HE sector
1. In December 2008, the report "Review of Higher Education Finance and Pay Data” was published by the JNCHES. It was agreed during 2010 that it would be timely to update the financial parts of this report (basically section 4).
Some preparatory work has been done towards this, overseen by the Sustainability Issues Working Group (SIWG), and a small sub-group established for this purpose. The report was written by Jim Port of JM Consulting.
2. It has become clear that this work cannot be completed before the summer of 2011 because of uncertainty about the future funding and regulatory environment for the sector.
A key factor is that the normal cycle in which HEIs in England produce threeyear financial forecasts in December each year did not take place in 2010 and so an important source of data will not be available for some time.
3. However, the SIWG decided that, even though the full report cannot be produced at present, it would nevertheless be useful to produce a statement of the position of the sector at this time, before the radical changes now being planned, and also to discuss the conditions that institutions will need to satisfy to be sustainable.
This is a different sort of report with more narrative and less data. It draws on some of the work already done, and on available data, which are not necessarily fully up-to-date or consistent across the whole of the UK, to provide the best assessments that can readily be made at this time.
4. In line with the discussions in the group, this report focuses much more significantly on sustainability than the 2008 report.