New Conflicts of Interest procedures for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs)

29 June 2015

It is important that potential conflicts of interest in the administration of DSAs are identified and managed appropriately to ensure that all DSAs suppliers are selected independently of any bias, and based on their suitability for meeting a student’s needs. In an effort to ensure that potential and actual conflicts of interest are identified and managed appropriately, the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) has launched a new process and detailed guidance. The guidance draws on advice from a number of sources, including the National Audit Office (NAO).

DSA QAG currently require their members to register conflicts of interest and the key change as part of the new process will be that their members will be expected to report more detailed information about any conflicts they have, and what they are doing to manage these. As part of the process of drawing up this guidance BIS has been working closely with DSA QAG, and the new procedures will replace their current Register of Interest procedure. DSA QAG will be issuing revised instructions to their members and audit teams accordingly.

DSA QAG has been given a clear mandate from BIS to administer this work on behalf of the Department and the Student Loans Company. BIS places great importance on this process and therefore DSA QAG’s requests with regard to recording and managing Conflicts of Interest should therefore be treated seriously. If requests are not actioned, or conflicts are not revealed or managed appropriately, this could lead to the revocation of registration to supply DSAs services.

The guidance has been issued as a Student Support Information Note (SSIN) and can be viewed here.

If you have any questions please contact Karen Docherty (administration@dsa-qag.org.uk) or Paul Higgs (paul.higgs@bis.gsi.gov.uk).