Action on Access was created in 1999 when four key organisations delivering widening participation (WP) brought together a group to facilitate, develop and promote a nationally-orientated, strategically-driven focus to widening participation in HE.These organisations were Universities UK, the Forum for Adult and Continuing Education, the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education and the WP Practitioners Network. Action on Access has developed over time to incorporate additional long term operational support (through conferences, guides, publication and electronic mail distribution) to access and WP practitioners.
Since 1999 Action on Access’s main contract has been to deliver the national coordination team for widening participation for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and for the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland. HEFCE has, asked as part of that contract, that Action on Access make available its main publications on the HEA website. These are also available on the Action on Access website.
Action on Access has had an active engagement with a succession of projects and programmes that have been part of the WP policy landscape over the last decade and more – these include special projects, P4P, Excellence Challenge, Excellence in the Cities and, more recently, Aimhigher. Action on Access has been proud to have influenced and supported these projects, and worked to develop and improve them. In 2003 Action on Access absorbed staff and resources from the funding council’s National Disability Team adding a new additional set of expertise, knowledge and resources to an already experienced and respected team of people.
Action on Access has a track record of success in winning contracts to widen access and participation. It has worked with host organisations, the University of Bradford and Edge Hill University, developing a sector-representative team of consultants and associates and a powerful set of strategic alliances with cross-sector key organisations.
Action on Access will help to further build WP capacity across the sector in relation to policy, practice and research – meeting, as it does, the challenge presented in the government's 2011 White Paper to create a new framework for WP and fair access. Based at its new host, the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE), Action on Access continues to deliver its key activities and to work nationally with partners, both established and new, to build an effective network that can be harnessed to meet the needs and aims of the sector in this new framework.
If you find the publications attached to this webpage informative and useful please visit www.actiononaccess.org where further resources are being developed and can be found. Action on Access can be contacted through NIACE, telephone 0116 285 4514, and through the Action on Access website.