Public services in the UK have experienced frequent reforms in the way that they are funded and provided to the public since the establishment of the welfare state, resulting from public administration reforms which are moving the welfare state towards a market state. Much has been written about reforming public administration and the notions towards applying new public management. There have been shifts in the mechanisms for funding higher education institutions towards the marketisation and privatisation of the sector, which have had a significant impact on the sector. This literature based study explores the consequences of the implementation of marketisation and privatisation on the English higher education sector. It also assesses how far the sector has been modernised, linking this to the frequent reforms to the English higher education policy, including financing of universities, students’ tuition fees and subsidies, governing of the sector, and increasing competition between universities within the wider context of reforming public administration in the UK.