Why do Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies Review Programmes/Modules?
Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies undertake visits or paper-based reviews of academic provision to provide students or programmes with professional recognition in a number of vocational areas. Details of the relevant accrediting bodies can be found on individual course web-pages:
What is the Involvement of the University in Professional Accreditation?
During professional accreditation events at the University, the accrediting body may seek the involvement of senior University representatives responsible for quality and standards to explain, for example, University policies or strategic directions.
The University remains independent in maintaining the academic standards of provision and the professional accreditation recognises that the provision meets the criteria specified by the Professional Body. A programme may not meet the criteria for recognition, however, this does not mean that the curriculum and student experience is below standard. These are assured separately through the University’s own processes of approval, annual monitoring and periodic review.
However, the University seeks assurances that Colleges/Schools respond appropriately to the concerns of professional accrediting bodies and to consider issues that might have an institutional impact.
The Accreditation Schedule
The Professional Body maintains a register of the period of accreditation and will usually liaise directly with Colleges/Schools concerning specific dates. Occasionally, there can be delays and postponement and so the dates are not always fixed.
Colleges/Schools are requested to advise Academic Quality Services of the specific schedule for any accreditation, in particular visits by the Professional Body.
Academic Quality Services maintains a central record of the accreditation period.
How are Reports from PSRBs scrutinised by Colleges/Schools?
Colleges/Schools are required to consider the reports of their Professional Bodies within their internal quality assurance structures and, where appropriate, managerial framework. In consultation with the College/School, the Head of College/School responds promptly to Professional Body Reports and suggests a relevant course of action to obtain final accreditation.
Following confirmation that accreditation has been granted, the Head of College/School or their representative must provide Academic Quality Services:
- A copy of the Professional Body Report; and
- A response to the recommendations, with timeframe (in a format as specified by the Professional Body).
The response outlines the action which has/will be taken arising from the accreditation report and identifies any issues of concern distinguishing between issues relevant to the College/School and to the University as a whole. Good and effective practice recognised by the accrediting body should also be noted.
Ongoing Monitoring of PSRB Accredited Status
Key recommendations and actions in response to professional body reports must be monitored and progress is discussed in Annual Programme Review (APR) reports. Advice and guidance is provided on expectations for monitoring through the APR process.
After the Scrutiny by Professional Bodies
After each accreditation event or desk-based review, Professional Bodies are required to submit a report to the College/School under investigation outlining any areas of concern, and noting any commendations. Once the College/School has responded to the concerns to the satisfaction of the Professional Body, written confirmation is provided to note that the programmes of study under investigation have been formally accredited. The Professional Body will keep a record of the approved periods of accreditation and the dates for future accreditation submission.
Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee
Academic Quality Services is responsible for forwarding details of accreditations to the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee.
The Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee has a quality control function. The Committee owns, maintains and reports upon the University’s regulatory, quality assurance and learning, teaching & assessment framework for all taught and research programmes, including professional and statutory bodies.
The Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee examines the Professional Body reports and College/School response by exception to determine if any issues have a broader University-wide impact and might advise Professional Bodies of any action that the University will be taking regarding these issues.
Another role of the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee is to identify examples of good practice and disseminate them within the University. Staff of Academic Quality Services undertake this function in liaison with the College/School Directors of Learning and Teaching.
The Role of Academic Quality Services in Accreditation by PSRBs
Academic Quality Services supports the various University quality committees to which the reports (and/or issues arising from them) are referred and acts as the central record-keeper of professional reports, College/School responses and institutional comments.
PSRB Accreditation Deadlines
There are generally no established deadlines across Colleges/Schools when accreditation occurs, and hence the date for receipt of Professional Body Reports is varied.
Academic Quality Services issues reminders on a semesterly basis to Colleges/Schools and liaises with relevant College/School contacts concerning the accreditation arrangements.
If there are any issues arising from a review, the Professional Body will require these to be addressed within a specified timeframe prior to granting full accreditation. As good practice, Colleges/Schools that are subject to external accreditation should forward copies of the Professional Body reports and responses promptly to Academic Quality Services.
Issues Requiring Immediate Action
If there are institutional issues requiring immediate action, Colleges/Schools should contact Academic Quality Services who will then contact the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as Chair of the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee immediately. Appropriate action shall then be taken.