Analyse over 750 benchmark metrics to inform your strategic financial planning and make smarter investment and savings decisions

Tribal Benchmarking provides comparative analysis of your resources, giving you the financial insight you need to challenge stakeholder assumptions and drive organisational investment. With separate benchmarking models used for universities and colleges, you benefit from sector specific comparisons. 


Informing institutional strategy

  • Comprehensive resource analysis

    • Reveal the real cost of delivering each area of operation
    • Identify opportunities for financial savings
    • Confirm specific investment needs
  • Sector specific comparison

    • Compare against sector trends, peer groups and “best practice”
    • Evaluate distance travelled by comparing year on year performance
    • Compare the performance of teaching departments against sector benchmarks
  • Service Effectiveness

    • Assess effectiveness of Support Services
    • Align service effectiveness analysis with financial analysis to produce an assessment of value for money
    • Use combined analysis as a powerful tool to drive change
  • Preparing for the future

    • Shape your cost base to improve student outcomes
    • Model the impact of future financial change
    • Support budget setting to achieve financial and educational targets

Financial Benchmarking for Russell Group universities


Head of Surveys and Benchmarking, Nick Pidgeon, summarises why Tribal's Benchmarking service works for the modern university, how the reporting portal gives granular and actionable insight, and why Russell Group universities are turning to our analysis to help inform strategic decision making.


Benchmarking for Russell Group universities



NEW: Performance Benchmarking

Helping universities improve the student experience AND the financial sustainability of operations, not as isolated aspects of performance, but as a truly combined approach to ROI.



University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham has been a customer of Tribal’s Financial Benchmarking for the last three years, aiming to positively impact the financial performance of the university to ultimately keep improving student performance.


University of York

"It lets you know you've got an issue and it tells you where to look."


University of Derby

"It has really started a debate and given us a good, rich data source for making structural changes."


Capital City College Group

"It’s an important input into informing the college's transformational journey and medium-to-long-term strategy."


What Our Customers Say

Tribal provided a refreshingly simple yet thorough approach to benchmarking the College.  Although Tribal’s consultants were responsible for the allocation of the college to their model to ensure consistency and objectivity, we were grateful for the opportunity to provide context and be part of the validation process that presented us with a set of outputs that hold integrity. The conclusions were clear, and we benefited from Tribal’s thorough approach that modelled outputs based on several different factors which helped emphasise the key messages.  Despite the complexities of our organisation, Tribal were always on hand to explain and help throughout the process, their patience and knowledge crucial to the successful end result.  These messages have been shared with the College and have and will be a key feature of our own discussions around future strategy, now forming part of an action plan moving forward.
Will Gordon , Director of Finance and Estates, Milton Keynes College

"So, for us, it has helped sharpen internal contribution accounting, financial performance, and curriculum areas, as well as confirming or challenging us on how much we're spending on certain central services."

[Read Ian's comments in full]


Ian Rule Interim Director/VP, Richmond upon Thames College

I found that the process and methodology adopted was very robust and the findings clearly communicated at both summary and detailed level. The team were very professional and provided clear and concise insight into the results and the key challenges that were needed to be addressed.

Peter Hope Chief Financial Officer, Ulster University

"Ultimately this is a tool designed to do a very specific task and it does it in a very helpful, clear, objective way. What we’ve got with that is some helpful comparison and granularity in terms as to how we’re operating financially as an organisation to support any of those detailed conversations."

[Read Jon's comments in full]


Jon Rollings Chief Operating Officer, Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

The messages presented by Tribal have increased a collective appreciation of the Group’s position. Having these delivered via an independent and objective voice has helped focus minds on the importance of the information and how this can help shape how we address the significant challenges we are facing. A very distinctive advantage was the how quickly Tribal was able to provide outputs particularly as we had entered into our strategic planning process for 2018-19. Benchmarking is now embedded as part of the College’s ongoing continuous improvement journey and we are hopeful, with Tribal’s help, the next exercise may provide an opportunity for a more collaborative approach within the region to self-evaluation.

Nirmal Borkhataria Chief Operating Officer, Capital City College Group

To help address the financial challenges facing the College of West Anglia and inform our future strategic direction we undertook a financial benchmarking project with Tribal.

We were aware that we needed to identify areas for savings and, to support this objective, we commissioned an independent analysis of our cost base compared to others in the sector. Tribal’s model provided a robust comparison of activity across the college, helping managers to identify areas for further investigation. Tribal’s modelling also demonstrated the impact of underachievement in 16-19 funding on its financial performance.

The team at Tribal worked closely with managers across the college to understand the data and the complexities of our organisation. As well as detailed discussions of the results with members of the executive team, Tribal presented a clear, concise summary of the key messages to the governing body providing them with critical insight needed to inform decision making.

Paul Harrison Vice Principal Corporate Services, College of West Anglia

The Tribal benchmarking exercise has provided us with a useful analysis of our institution which will be invaluable for future planning. We are grateful to our Tribal consultants for their support and feedback throughout the process. The support, advice, follow up meetings, and care taken in reporting to our various stakeholder groups was excellent. Our institutional structure differs to the standard model used by Tribal and this led to queries from colleagues once the analysis had been received. We were very impressed with the way in which Tribal dealt with these questions, and the time and care taken in helping us to understand the detail of the benchmarking analysis

Sharon Harrison-Barker Secretary and Registrar, University of Hertfordshire

"We’ve got to that stage in our post-merger recovery where we are now looking really closely at how we get that final 20% of efficiency that will take us into a more comfortable financial position. And we know (Benchmarking) can tell us which of our departments are more or less efficient, and what the underlying reasons are behind any lack of efficiency in our delivery."

[Listen to Stewart's comments in full]


Stewart Cross Director of Integration and Information, Capital City College Group


  • How is the service delivered?

    Data collection and categorisation is carried out onsite by our experienced consultants, and results are delivered through onsite feedback presentations and through our Benchmark+ web portal.

  • How long does a project take?

    It depends on the size of the university or college. Commonly a project will take 2-4 months from start to finish, including 20-30 person days supplied by Tribal consultants.

  • What’s the return on investment?

    On average we identify opportunities for savings equivalent to 3% of university/college income.

  • How much does Benchmarking Analysis cost?

    It depends on the size of the university or college. The average cost of a project for university is £45,000 + expenses + VAT. Average college cost is £15,000 + expenses + VAT.

  • What about confidentiality?

    The sensitive nature of much of the data that we require means that encrypted file transfer is essential. Securesend removes the risk associated with data transfer by unencrypted email, and has the additional benefit of being able to reliably handle large files.

    Your results will feed into the Tribal databank to form part of our anonymous comparator averages; we will never share your results individually.

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