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Agencies collaborate to provide better service for UK higher education

The M5 Group

M5 Group - Paul Clark, Paul Feldman and Douglas Blackstock. Photo credit: Matt Lincoln.

Three of the UK's leading higher education agencies have announced plans to explore increased collaboration and cost sharing through a new partnership to be known as the 'M5 Group'.

The three agencies, HESA (the Higher Education Statistics Agency), Jisc and QAA (the Quality Assurance Agency), have a long history of collaborating on projects, in particular with HESA and Jisc delivering a national business intelligence service. The agencies intend to work even more closely together to develop better solutions to some of the long-term issues that are being faced by the UK higher education sector.

The tripartite approach will provide a greater pool of resources aiming to improve services.

Talks between the parties have been progressing for some months. The time is now right to take this forward in a more meaningful way. Not only are we geographically close – all based around the M5 in the south west – we also serve many of the same institutions Dr Paul Feldman, Chief Executive of Jisc

The whole of the education sector is facing up to severe financial pressures so it is vitally important that we do what we can to help improve efficiency and value for money Paul Clark, Chief Executive of HESA

HESA, Jisc and QAA all have very distinct and different strengths and institutional offers. We will be working together for the benefit of institutions across the UK whilst continuing to operate as separate and independent organisations Douglas Blackstock, QAA Chief Executive

Further details on how the M5 Group will be supporting the higher education sector will be made available in the coming weeks.


Notes to editors:

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About HESA

HESA (the Higher Education Statistics Agency) is the recognised source of data on higher education in the UK. Our experts collect, analyse, and disseminate accurate and comprehensive statistical information on all aspects of UK higher education in order to support the strategic aims of our users and enhance the effectiveness of the sector as a whole. We are a charity and a company limited by guarantee. We operate as an independent organisation, working in close partnership with higher education providers, regulators, funders, government departments, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

About Jisc

Jisc is the UK higher, further education and skills sectors' not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions. We operate:

  • Shared digital infrastructure and services
  • Negotiate sector-wide deals with IT vendors and commercial publishers and
  • Provide trusted advice and practical assistance for universities, colleges and learning providers.

For more information please contact the Press team

About QAA

QAA is an independent body. We safeguard the public interest in the quality and standards of UK higher education. We check how UK universities and colleges maintain their academic standards and quality. We review and report on how they meet their responsibilities, identify good practice and make recommendations for improvement. We publish guidelines to help UK universities and colleges develop effective systems to ensure students have the best learning experience. Further information is available at:, or contact Joanna Wynn.

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