This page sets out how the strategic dialogue process works.

A System Performance Framework, stating national priorities and key objectives of Government for higher education was set out by the Minister for Education and Skills for 2014-2016. Through a process of strategic dialogue between the HEA and the HEIs, a well-coordinated system of mission-diverse institutions is held accountable for its performance against the set of clearly defined national priorities and key system objectives in the framework, with public funding aligned to facilitate delivery of agreed outcomes.

The framework sets out a process for evaluation of institutional performance in each of seven domains having regard to particular institutional mission:
1. Clusters;
2. Participation, access and lifelong learning;
3. Teaching and learning;
4. Research and innovation;
5. Engagement;
6. Internationalisation;
7. Institutional consolidation.

The general process for strategic dialogue is as follows:

• The HEA writes to higher education institutions requesting submissions under the cycle in question. Submissions, based on developments including most recently available SRS data are to be returned to the HEA.
• The HEA Executive (with assistance from an expert panel) carries out an internal review and analysis of the institutional submissions.
• On foot of this analysis the HEA prepared institutional feedback up to and including an indication of likely performance outcomes.
• A round of strategic dialogue meetings then takes place.
• Following these meetings with HEIs, the HEA will make a set of funding and strategy recommendations to the HEA’s Board committees prior to final decision by the Board so as to inform the Performance Funding allocations under the next year’s grant.