On 16 May 1991 the Government published a White Paper, Higher Education: A new framework (DES, 1991), announcing its intention to abolish the ‘binary line’ between the existing universities and polytechnics, and enabling the latter to acquire a university title. The White Paper included proposals for a new quality assurance regime which would for the first time bring the regulation of all institutions’ teaching and learning activities within an overall statutory framework. The proposed dual quality assurance regime would consist of, first, an assessment by the higher education funding councils (the non-governmental organizations allocating public funds for teaching and research to the higher education institutions in England, Scotland and Wales respectively, each answerable to the Secretary of State) of the quality of teaching and learning at subject level in institutions; and second, audit by the Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC) (an agency owned by the institutions through their representative bodies, the Committee of ViceChancellors and Principals (CVCP) (now Universities UK), the Committee of Directors of Polytechnics (CDP) and the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP)) of institutions’ quality control mechanisms.1