The Office for Students (OfS) is the independent regulator of higher education in England, responsible for ensuring that all undergraduate and postgraduate students, whatever their backgrounds, have a fulfilling experience of higher education which enriches their lives and careers and delivers value for money. They are headquartered in Bristol, with a workforce of around 450 people.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Office for Students’ predecessor, become a client of SureCloud back in 2017, implementing the GDPR Data Privacy Management Suite to support and enhance their GDPR programme. As a new organisation and a successor of HEFCE, Office for Students has been looking to mature its approach to risk management. The focus of this for the team was initially to improve risk policies and procedures, to develop internal capability, enhance reporting to show transparency and allow challenge, and to identify and manage risks enterprise-wide systematically. These improvements established a highly effective risk management approach, but the organisation soon hit the ceiling in terms of their process supporting risk systems, with technology being a limiting factor rather than an enabler. The organisation was relying on numerous disparate spreadsheets to assess and monitor different types of risk – these were inconsistent, time-consuming and error-prone. Office for Students needed a single, seamless, enterprise-wide solution to manage and monitor all aspects of risk management.
“SureCloud’s Platform has moved us away from using a series of disparate spreadsheets and countless emails for recording risk – with all of the potentials for errors that entails – to a single, centralised source of risk information for every member of staff,” said Whitestone. “It’s dynamic and agile – if we want to get a snapshot of risk for a particular department or function, we can.”
“Despite us being at the start of our risk management journey, we are very pleased with how quickly staff can get to grips with the SureCloud Platform, this was a key factor for us” commented Whitestone. “They can more or less log on and go – it’s extremely intuitive and easy-to-use. In turn, this means that it frees up a huge amount of time spent manually inputting or transferring information, which is a great advantage for us.”
“We undertook a great deal of work to evolve our culture of risk management, to one that was far more consistent and proactive,” said Whitestone. “With SureCloud’s Risk Management solution in place, we have the systems to underpin that culture, and enable us to take a far more streamlined, agile and accurate approach to help manage risk across the organisation.”