Senior Officer Compliance and Student Protection

£38,261 - £39,838
08 Sep 2021
30 Sep 2021
Contract Type
Contract, Permanent, Temporary
Full Time

Two opportunities: a one-year fixed term post and a permanent post.

We are the independent regulator of higher education in England.

We aim to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. We also care about supporting and developing our staff, working together to achieve more than each of us can do alone.

We’re proud of our people, our culture and the benefits we offer. At the OfS we want to create a welcoming and engaging working environment which is free from discrimination. We particularly welcome applications from people with a disability or impairment, those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender, and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background, as these groups are under-represented within our workforce.

We’re looking for skilled, committed people who care about students and their experience of higher education. Join us and you’ll be part of an energetic, forward-looking organisation with high ambitions and big opportunities for our people.

Job Summary

As a member of our Compliance and Student Protection (CASP) directorate, you will take on a varied array of projects that are impacting on the student experience. Gathering information and analysing data, you will formulate evidence-based conclusions and identify the best way to resolve cases across a wide range of topics. Across all that you do, you will have the flexibility and creativity to come up with new ways to address each project.

This is a highly varied role that will also present you with the opportunity to work on policy development. To make the most of this interesting opportunity, you will therefore be both process-driven and highly analytical. With the capacity to present your findings in an articulate manner, you will have exceptional verbal and written communication skills, and the capacity to reach reliable judgements based on your analyses. On a practical level you will have experience in the shaping or implementation of processes, and a background in the regulatory sector would be useful. Crucially, you will be a team-player who can help colleagues successfully manage their workload, and you will enjoy sharing expertise.

The Office for Students (OfS) exists to ensure that English higher education offers the best experience and the best value - for students, for taxpayers, for the economy, and for the public good. We have high ambitions and offer great opportunities to get involved in bringing that vision to life.

The role

The Compliance and Student Protection directorate has strategic and operational responsibility for developing and implementing the OfS’s regulatory framework. We design and deliver high quality services for providers for market entry, DAPs and UT, and for monitoring providers. We do this on the basis of the provisions of HERA, or the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA), and the regulatory framework.

The purpose of the role ‘Senior Officer – Compliance and Student Protection (PB8)’ is to deliver one or more of the directorate’s functions on the basis set out in HERA or the CTSA and in the OfS’s regulatory framework. Key responsibilities include delivering one or more of the directorate’s functions in the following broad areas:

  • Market entry
  • Market exit
  • DAPs
  • University title
  • Prevent
  • Risk assessment, monitoring and intervention for registered providers

The role will also include continually improving the system that delivers services to providers. The role requires engagement with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that there is a consistent understanding of the OfS’s approach to your areas of responsibility.

Initial assignments: When appointed to this post, you will be given an initial activity assignment and will work in one or more home team within a directorate. This is where you will undertake all or most of your work in the first instance. However, the organisation is committed to working flexibly and moving people to work in different teams and on different assignments, in order to develop an individual’s skills and experience, improve communications across teams, and to ensure that as the OfS’s priorities change, resources are allocated appropriately. Movement to different assignments will take account of an individual’s competencies, knowledge and preferences, the needs of the organisation, and the need for some team stability.

The key person attributes to fulfil this role are:

  • Expertise and experience in the operation of regulatory processes
  • Ability to reach reliable judgements on the basis of complex evidence
  • Experience in the use of a systems approach to the design and delivery of services
  • Ability to communicate complex regulatory issues effectively, orally and in writing
  • Personal resilience

Responsibility: Delivering and working in a team

  • In the areas for which you are responsible, the outcomes and objectives in the OfS’s business plan are delivered efficiently and effectively
  • You deliver your objectives in a way which results in: delivery of the OfS’s behaviours and values; and flexible, agile and collaborative working, including with staff and teams in other directorates

Responsibility: Ensuring that the OfS is able to discharge those of its statutory functions that fall within the remit of the team

  • Individual providers are assessed, risk assessed and monitored in relation to the initial and ongoing conditions of registration, on the basis of the provisions of HERA and the OfS’s regulatory framework
  • Individual providers are assessed, risk assessed and monitored, on the basis of the CTSA and the OfS’s Prevent monitoring framework
  • Individual providers are assessed in relation to the DAPs and university title requirements, on the basis of the provisions of HERA and the OfS’s regulatory framework
  • Reliable, evidence-based recommendations for decisionmakers are made
  • Investigation, intervention and enforcement action is carried out in relation to individual providers, on the basis set out in HERA and the OfS’s regulatory framework
  • Students are protected in the event of whole-provider market exit
  • One or more strands of activity from across the work of the directorate are delivered. In the first instance, these strands of activity are likely to include
  • System development required to implement and operate the regulatory framework effectively
  • Operationalisation of agreed approaches for one or more conditions of registration, market exit, or the Prevent monitoring framework
  • Development and implementation of one or more aspects of the regulatory framework, or of the OfS’s business plan
  • The OfS’s function as principal regulator of registered providers that are exempt charities o identifying and removing barriers to market entry - maintaining the recognised and listed bodies orders o implementing a degree verification service
  • Regulating the use of ‘university’ and ‘degree’ as protected terms

Responsibility: Continuous improvement of the service provided by the team

  • The team designs and delivers a high-quality service for providers
  • The purpose of the system from the provider’s perspective is understood and is used to design against customer demand
  • Capability measures are collected and used to understand how the system is performing from the provider’s perspective and action is taken to improve the system
  • Action is taken to remove blockages to system improvement
  • The impact of regulatory arrangements and interventions is measured Internal and external communication
  • There is credible and effective communication about regulatory and operational matters with contacts in providers

Responsibility: The OfS’s approach to the allocated activities, the requirements placed on providers, and the benefits of this for students is effectively communicated in a range of internal and external contexts

  • By working with sector and other bodies, the OfS’s approach to regulation is well understood


  • The Office for Students currently uses enablers to evaluate your strengths and ask that your application describes what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. The enablers for this role are:

Knowledge and Learning:

  • Maintains a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the regulatory context for the OfS’s work
  • Undertakes double loop learning, understanding and addressing root causes as well as surface issues Planning
  • Plans and manages own workload and works collaboratively with others to resolve competing demands, and copes with changing priorities in a flexible and proactive way
  • Identifies risk to plans and delivery
  • Demonstrates a readiness to contribute to decision-making and to take the initiative and originate action in circumstances where norms are already established


  • Writes in a clear and concise manner, using appropriate grammar, style and language, which is tailored for the reader. Writing will set out regulatory information in a way that is evidence-based, intelligible for non-experts, and provides confidence to decision-makers
  • Communicates clearly and fluently to individuals and small audiences, using appropriate style and language, and with good presentation skills


  • Demonstrates a confident and co-operative style and deals effectively with people at all levels to build positive working relationships
  • Maintains credibility with other teams in the directorate and with external contacts
  • Maintains effective work behaviour in the face of setbacks or pressure and remains calm and professional in such circumstances

About you:

  • Demonstrable ability to understand and interpret the OfS’s regulatory framework, and the Prevent monitoring framework, and to use this to undertake assessments, risk assessments, and interventions; and to implement and communicate aspects of the regulatory framework
  • Demonstrable ability to reach and convey reliable and challenge-proof judgements on the basis of complex and imperfect information
  • Demonstrable ability to work with high levels of complexity and ambiguity
  • Demonstrable ability to think broadly about the theory and practice of regulation
  • Demonstrable ability to adopt a systems approach to service design and delivery
  • Demonstrable ability to work collaboratively and flexibly in a complex environment through a matrix structure to deliver the team’s functions

Working for us:

The OfS regulates the higher education sector on behalf of all students. We value diversity and the wealth of perspectives, experience, and ideas that it brings to our work, and we strive to embed equality of opportunity in everything we do.

We recruit based on fair and open competition and welcome applications from candidates regardless of age, disability, race and ethnicity, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background. To attract the widest possible field of qualified applicants, flexible working, for example job share and part time working, apply to this role.

Closing date for applications: 30 September 2021.

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