Dear colleagues,

As you will see from the articles posted in our Newsroom, the past few weeks have seen increased media interest in the private higher education sector, with much discussion centred around a major feature published in the Times Higher Education on 1 March 2012.  This seems to be an appropriate time to clarify the role of BAC in relation to private colleges for those readers who are less familiar with the sector as a whole.

What is the British Accreditation Council?

The British Accreditation Council (BAC) is a charity which provides an inspection and accreditation scheme for independent (i.e. non publicly-funded) institutions of further and higher education. Its main aim is to improve the standards of independent further and higher education.  Through the 2009/10 academic year BAC conducted over 600 inspections.

Private colleges voluntarily approach BAC to seek accreditation; the benefits of doing so include a recognised mark of quality, advice from specialists on improving standards, and being kept up to date with developments within the sector.

How is BAC governed?

BAC is governed by its Council which comprises individuals and nominees of stakeholder organisations (e.g. Accreditation UK, GuildHE, Universities UK, Council of Validating Universities, UK Council for International Student Affairs) who are closely involved in maintaining education standards; no members of Council or BAC’s other committees have a direct interest in a private FE or HE college. For practical purposes, Council gives delegated authority to the Executive and Accreditation Committees which monitor and implement BAC’s work.

How is BAC funded?

BAC is self-financing through accreditation fees paid by institutions. It receives no public monies. However, BAC is not for profit and any surplus is fed back to improve our systems as part of our mission to raise standards in the sector.

Our annual report, which accompanies our audited accounts, is freely available on the Charity Commission’s website. BAC’s Council will be considering the audited accounts for 2010/11 at its coming meeting and these will then duly become available on the Commission’s website.

If you have any questions regarding the governance and work of BAC, can I encourage you to review the website and get in touch (e-mail:; tel: 0300 330 1400).