Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee

26 March 2008

No. 41 (07-08)



The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee today announced a short inquiry into the work and operation of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). OFFA's aim is to promote and safeguard fair access to higher education for under-represented groups following the introduction of variable tuition fees in 2006-07.

The inquiry is part of the Committee's scrutiny of the work of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the public bodies and agencies for which it is responsible.

The Committee will focus on:

  • how effective OFFA is in promoting and safeguarding fair access to higher education for under-represented groups; and
  • how the effects of OFFA's work are measured.

The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 1 May 2008.

Guidelines for the submission of evidence

Evidence should be submitted in Word format only, and should be sent via e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from (ie individual or organisation).

Submissions should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should include a brief executive summary. Those submitting evidence are reminded that evidence should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted no public use should be made of it, but those wishing to publish their evidence before it is published by the Committee are invited to contact the Clerk of the Committee to obtain permission to do so. Guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:


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Committee Membership is as follows:

Mr Phil Willis (Liberal Democrat, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)
Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour, City of Durham)
Mr Tim Boswell (Conservative, Daventry)
Mr Ian Cawsey (Labour, Brigg & Goole)
Mrs Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire)
Dr Ian Gibson (Labour, Norwich North)
Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon)
Dr Brian Iddon (Labour, Bolton South East)
Mr Gordon Marsden (Labour, Blackpool South)
Dr Bob Spink (Independent, Castle Point)
Ian Stewart (Labour, Eccles)
Mr Graham Stringer (Labour, Manchester, Blackley)
Dr Desmond Turner (Labour, Brighton Kemptown)
Mr Rob Wilson (Conservative, Reading East)

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