This key note paper offers critical reflections on the role, functions, problems and challenges of intermediary bodies in the United Kingdom, and particularly those of Universities UK, which represents the heads of most HEIs. In an increasingly marketised, competitive and globalised higher education system, the roles and functions of intermediary bodies are being questioned and they face serious problems of credibility with both government and institutions. My special focus is on Universities UK: its role, functions, structure and the problems it faces. However, I present the challenges for all intermediary bodies in the UK and, perhaps, beyond. In particular, I argue that they need to reinvent themselves as key players at both national and institutional levels and thereby make a serious contribution to policy-making at a critical time in the realisation of mass higher education in the UK
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