Approval of educational collaborative provision is for a specified period, normally five years. Towards the end of that period (6-9 months) the University carries out a formal review of the collaboration in order to make recommendations in respect of the nature and length of any future approval. Where a validated or franchised programme is also subject to validation by a professional body the review may be carried out conjointly.
Periodic reviews are not concerned solely with passing judgement on past activity. The review process itself is intended to be positive and forward-looking. Key elements are:
- The opportunity for self-assessment by staff involved in delivering the programme as they prepare for review.
- The opportunity for relevant staff to consider and establish their future aims, objectives and priorities and to contribute to the planning process in respect of the collaboration.
- The opportunity to identify areas which could be improved.
Reviews are not the occasion for the evaluation of the performance of individuals. Matters relating to the personal development of members of staff are the business of the collaborative organisation’s own staff appraisal systems. However, as part of the review process, the University may seek evidence that arrangements relating to, e.g., continuing professional development and appraisal, are working effectively to ensure and enhance the quality of the student experience.
Normally, at the outset of the final academic year in which an MOA remains valid, Academic Affairs will instigate contact with the relevant University Coordinator to seek confirmation with the School and Faculty if the arrangement is to continue. Faculties may adopt their own procedures, in line with their respective internal governance structures, to facilitate decision-making in this regard to ensure continued alignment with strategic aims and available resources. The Secretary of the CPG must be informed of the outcome of this process.
Where an arrangement is to continue, a Periodic Review will be carried out in accordance with the procedure outlined below. If not, appropriate arrangements for withdrawal will be put in place and coordinated through Academic Affairs in association with the School/Faculty.
In making a decision to continue, FEB should seek to review and update original business plans, with approval from Finance, for the proposed period of renewal. The updated business plan should either be presented as part of the paperwork considered by the CPG or confirmation provided that this has been agreed with Finance.
Periodic Reviews typically follow a similar process to that undertaken for original approval/validation. This involves the preparation and submission of supporting paperwork at School/programme level, which is then considered by a sub-group of the CPG acting as a Review Panel, with a report and recommendations being produced following a site visit and discussion with the Programme Team involved.
Appointment and Composition of Review Panel for Validated and Franchised Programmes
A Review Panel will be convened to consider the submitted documentation on behalf of the CPG. Review Panels will normally be established by the CPG during the term before the review is scheduled to take place. Its composition will be the same as that used for a Validation Panel. No-one involved in the delivery of the collaborative arrangement/programme under review may be a member of the Review Panel. Review Panel members will receive a copy of the Guidelines for Validation/Review Panels and other relevant information including a draft agenda for the meeting.
On confirmation being received from Faculty for the continuation of a particular arrangement, the Secretary of the CPG will formally notify those involved, setting out requirements for the review process, including details of the documentation to be provided.
Principally, the Programme Team must prepare a reflective statement in relation to the programme(s) and the collaboration. Its purpose is to provide an insight into the past (over the period of approval), and include details of any modifications which are to be made to the programme(s) and the rationale for those changes, as well as looking forward and highlighting plans that are in place to improve the provision and the student experience. The reflective statement should show the effectiveness of quality assurance and enhancement mechanisms in reviewing and enhancing provision. Examples of good practice should also be included. The Programme Team should ensure that the documentation complies with the relevant sections of the UK Quality Code.
In addition, the Programme Team, in consultation with the University Coordinator will be asked to provide supporting documentation. The Chair of the CPG, on consultation with the Director of Academic and Student Affairs will consider any request from a School/Faculty to vary the level of documentation required. The School/Faculty should send an electronic copy of the full submission, together with programme specifications and any other supporting documentation, for upload to a SharePoint site administered by Academic Affairs at least four weeks prior to the date of the validation meeting. The Validation Panel will have access to the SharePoint site. Initial comments and details of any further information requirements shall be requested from the Panel and coordinated through Academic Affairs.
The Review Visit
Review meetings will normally take place on a single day at the collaborative organisation and seek to assess the quality of the ongoing arrangement to ensure that it remains compliant with University expectations and requirements and to consider any proposed changes. There is a standard agenda and schedule of business. The Review Panel will meet in advance to consider the documentation and to identify any areas of concern and particular issues to be raised with the collaborative organisation. A tour of relevant facilities may also be undertaken, as appropriate, by the Review Panel. The Panel will then meet the Programme Director and other relevant staff, and separately, a group of students.
After the Review
The Secretary of the Review Panel will prepare a report on the periodic review on behalf of the Panel. The report will include one of the following recommendations in respect of future approval of the collaboration:
- Approval to continue for a specified period, future reviews to take place periodically.
- Approval to continue (subject to any conditions or recommendations).
- Approval to be withdrawn (candidates who have already embarked on the programme to remain eligible for a University award).
When the report is agreed by the Review Panel it will be sent to the Principal/Director of the collaborative organisation, the Programme Director at the collaborative organisation and the relevant Head of School and University Coordinator for the programme. The University believes that it is important that the report is considered not only at the level of the delivery of the programme, but at the level of senior management and within the governance structure of the collaborative organisation.
In the case of recommendation (ii) above, if the Programme Committee has difficulty in meeting the conditions or recommendations specified by the Panel, they are expected to report accordingly to the CPG, giving reasons, within two weeks of receiving the report. Otherwise the University Coordinator, on behalf of the Programme Team, will be required to provide a response to the recommendations made by the Review Panel within four weeks of receipt of the report.
The response will be considered by the Review Panel to ensure that all recommendations have been addressed.
The proposed new MOA will be finalised and agreed with the partner institution in parallel.
The final report and the Programme Team’s response and the new MOA will be considered by the CPG, who will forward the report and MOA, together with its own recommendations to the Education Committee for final approval, which, in turn, will report the outcome to Academic Council.
Details of the new MOA will be circulated for implementation to the relevant Faculty and Head of School, the University Coordinator, the Admissions and Access Service, Information Services, Finance, Student Records and Examinations and, if appropriate, the International Office and the International Student Support Office. The new MOA will be recorded on the Collaborative Provision Register and Recognised Teachers approved by the CPG.
Validation (Collaborative) fees are reviewed annually. Details can be found in the Student Finance Framework.