At the heart of Widening Participation and Access since 1999 +44 (0)7541 850937

Our history:  Serving leaders and practitioners in higher education for over two decades.

Since its founding in 1999, Action on Access has operated as a national, primary provider and knowledge hub for: Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG); Access; Participation; and Student Retention and Success.


After its creation in 1999, Action on Access won the contract to deliver the National Coordination Team for Widening Participation (incorporating the National Disability Team) for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and for the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

In its early years Action on Access influenced and supported many special projects: working alongside HEFCE and the Northern Ireland Department to develop and improve P4P; Excellence Challenge; Excellence in the Cities; and the highly successful, high profile Aimhigher programme.

Evaluation projects

From its inception to date Action on Access has successfully delivered high quality research and evaluation work for the HEFCE, throughout the life of the Aimhigher programme.  More recently, evaluation projects were delivered for significant stakeholder organisations: the Institute of Physics; the ButtleUK’s ‘Care Leavers’ Quality Mark – a Practice Guide’ 2005; the 6-year ‘What Works? Student Retention and Success’ (partnered with the Higher Education Academy).  Andrew Rawson (Director, Action on Access) authored ’The Caring University in 2016’ for ButtleUK (then, the Frank Buttle Trust).

Growth and expansion

Action on Access has also received research funding from several sources – amongst them: the KPMG Foundation; the Ernst and Young Foundation; and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

We also evaluated Higher Education Institutions’ Widening Participation Strategies; the Office for Fair Access Higher Education Institutions’ early Access Agreements; and the Association of Colleges ‘Scholarship Project in College HE’.

Continued support and partnerships

The Action on Access Information Hub and Email Briefing Service is a respected and essential first stop for those needing to stay current and involved in the following: the latest Widening Participation and Access initiatives and resources; policy and legislation; news and events; current research; and information and networking.  Our new service , starting in November 2022 is already a highly-valued, well-used electronic platform reaching 600 committed and driven practitioners in 72 Higher Education Providers and HE stakeholders.

We continue to work with an expanding, wide range of partners and strategic alliances to inform and support the sector to deliver and embed inclusivity, diversity, access, widening participation and student success.

Action on Access : trusted by...

“Action on Access has been my go to source of info for years! No one in my new organisation knew of it, so I am hopeful more of them will subscribe as you are a great resource for the sector.”

Ashley Callard, Communications and Engagement Manager, Governors for Schools

“Thank you for regularly posting my training sessions and also other information on the AonA monthly eBulletin. That's really great - helps me reach a wider audience!”

Susan Mueller, HE Director, Stand Alone

"We really value the emails from Action on Access - so glad we can keep receiving them."

Shauna-Aine O'Brien, Student Support and Development Officer, Marketing, Outreach, Recruitment and Admissions, University of Kent