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Strategic change

Universities are part of a global market for higher education. We aim to ensure that the Welsh higher education (HE) sector is competitive within the UK and internationally, and is sustainable for the long term.

Universities are autonomous bodies. HEFCW is able to influence actions through the public funding we receive from the Welsh Government and allocate annually to institutions. In return, institutions expect to account for the effective use of public funds.

In 2005, we were given responsibility by the Welsh Government to 'provide advice on options for using core funding more strategically to promote the reconfiguration and collaboration agenda ... including ... the possibility of using student numbers to provide a sharper incentive for securing changes which will strengthen the sector in Wales as a whole'.

Consequently, we:
  • established our Strategic Development Fund
  • implemented more strategic use of our core funding in the areas of research, Welsh medium and widening access, including £2 million for research in 2009/10
  • established strategic funded numbers from 2008/09
In 2009, we were further given responsibility by the Welsh Government to:
  • provide advice on how our strategic planning process and funding can be better used to ensure that the work of HE institutions aligns with the delivery of government policy and main strategic priorities
  • engage with HE sector stakeholders to: review the balance between recurrent (the annual block grant to HE institutions) and strategic funding streams; the way that government funding makes its way to institutions; and how this translates into delivering policies
  • explore ways in which additional levers can be used to deliver government policy, including measures to stimulate collaborative activities and to widen access to HE
  • take account, in funding allocations, of the regional dimension of HE provision, to secure efficiency and value for money in allocations of funding across Wales
  • provide advice on how to widen criteria to access strategic funding, to take into account emerging Welsh Government priorities, such as the transformation agenda
  • work closely with the Welsh Government to explore ways in which HEFCW capital funding can be used to secure maximum strategic impact for Wales
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