External stakeholder survey
To fulfil our mission, we must ensure that we provide an effective service to our stakeholders, and that clear, accessible and strategic communications support both our internal operations and our relationships with the Welsh higher education sector, the Welsh Government and other external partners.
In order to assess how effective our service is, and how well our relationships work, we commissioned, in 2019, our third survey of stakeholders and partners.
This year was an opportunity to do something we hadn’t done for a number of years, but which was long overdue: we needed to gauge the mood of our stakeholders and partners.
Our stakeholder survey – this was our third one – is important in that it gives us a sense check, and helps us to determine the course of our relationships with stakeholders and partners over the coming years.
Issues ebb and flow; duties change; personnel come and go. But through all this there needs to be a fundamental understanding in the relationship between HEFCW and our stakeholders, as well as our partners.
How accessible are we? Do our stakeholders understand our relationship? What are we doing well, and what could be improved?
So, here is our new report.
There are many things to take away from an extremely positive and encouraging report, and much to reflect on.
Fundamentally – and we always knew this – our greatest asset is our people, and our stakeholders value their relationships with us more than anything. A good relationship can help with mutual understanding, and can clear misunderstandings. A personal approach builds trust and resolves problems.
However, we are a small organisation of fewer than 50. We would love to be able to spend even more time building relationships and conducting more business in person. But the reality for us, as it is with so many of our partners and stakeholders, is that we spend much of our time corresponding and requesting and reviewing information. This is fine; this is all part of being a responsible regulator. But we will look carefully at the comments and outcomes that cover areas such as bureaucracy, visibility and policy areas and see how we can tackle them over the coming months.
In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone who gave their time to complete the survey and give a follow-up interview.
And I would particularly like to thank HEFCW staff for their tireless dedication and professionalism in supporting a strong, successful and desirable higher education sector in Wales.
Dr David Blaney