The University has many individual programmes which are accredited by Professional, Statutory or Regulatory bodies (PSRBs). Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies are a diverse group of organisations that include professional bodies, regulators and those with statutory authority over a profession or a group of professionals. PSRBs engage with the higher education sector through the approval, recognition and accreditation of Higher Education (HE) programmes.
Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) is a general term used to describe those organisations that work with the University in the approval, monitoring and review of programmes that lead to a professional or vocational qualification and which exist to ensure that national standards within the professions are met. PSRB accreditation may include recognition of membership or exemption from professional exams.
The University categorises PSRB activity in the following ways:
The term ‘professional accreditation’ covers all the means by which PSRBs officially approve, monitor and review relevant programmes. In some areas, this may involve a series of regular formal visits to the department concerned, whilst in other areas the interactions may be less regular, more informal or largely conducted through correspondence.
The term ‘exemption’ describes the process by which the PSRB reaches a judgement that successful completion of a programme of study enables exemption from professional body requirements.
The term ‘recognition’ describes the process by which the PSRB reaches a judgement that a programme of study achieves the professional body’s aims.
The term ‘prescription’ describes the process by which the PSRB agrees that a particular qualification or award of the University meets the criteria of an award, or set of awards, that allow the holder to be registered as a practitioner subject to and protected by Statutory Regulation.
The term ‘validation’ describes the process by which the PSRB reaches a judgement on the suitability of a programme of study to be recognised or continue to be recognised as meeting the necessary academic and professional standards for the award of a degree.
(vi) Licence to Practise
The term ‘licence to practise’ describes the process by which authority is conferred by a PSRB to carry out professional work in the sphere regulated by that PSRB.
(vii) Professional Practice
Professional practice is a structured learning opportunity for the development of transferable or specific skills, which, in conjunction with other elements of the programme of study are applied within a practical or vocational context. The assessment of such applied learning and skills may be undertaken directly through academic units or externally by a relevant, accrediting PSRB.
The University considers engagement with PSRBs to be instrumental in the development of programmes that are current and which meet the needs of business and the professions, and the expectations of students.
The University requires Schools to seek and retain professional, statutory and regulatory body accreditation for all programmes which qualify for such recognition.
Responsibility for gaining and retention of PSRB accreditation rests with the School/University College in within which eligible programmes reside.
Academic Affairs are to be consulted at an early stage if a School is seeking new or re-accreditation for programmes, and where reasonably possible attend PSRB visits for quality assurance purposes.
New PSRB accreditation arrangements may only be reflected within programme and marketing literature when the PSRB has confirmed that all requirements have been met and accreditation has been secured.
Records and Reporting
Academic Affairs maintains the University’s PSRB Register and conducts an annual exercise of PSRB visits, reports, action plans and School/University College responses to PSRB visits.
Reports arising from PSRB visits provide valuable information about the quality and standards of programmes as well as the experience of students on the programmes. The reports and the responses to any matters arising should be used as part of the normal review process, through Continuous Action for Programme Enhancement (CAPE) and Periodic School Review. Programme and School Boards, should consider reports and responses and monitor any follow-up action, in consultation with Academic Affairs, that is required.
Academic Affairs will coordinate the institutional level reporting to Education Committee (Quality and Standards) and Academic Council, which have oversight of PSRB accreditation activities as external assurance methodologies of the University’s provision.
Dissemination of Good Practice and Identification of Risks
Academic Affairs reports annually on outcomes of PSRB (re)accreditations, identification of best practice, identification of risks that require input from Faculty/University and any changes in accreditation status to the Education Committee (Quality and Standards). Academic Affairs also engages with the Centre for Education Development in the identification and dissemination of good practice.
Cancellation and Withdrawal of Accreditation
School/University Colleges must contact Academic Affairs immediately if (re)accreditation is withdrawn and/or the outcome of the (re)accreditation is anything other than full approval.
Should accreditation be withdrawn from any Programme or the status be altered in any way, the School will inform all current students including, students on temporary withdrawal, offer holders or other potential students affected by the change to avoid any disadvantage to the student(s) as far as possible.