What do universities and colleges need to do?
The new approach to quality assessment is published for information.
We encourage institutions to read all the details we have provided and discuss them with HEFCE.
1. Annual Provider Review
The new Annual Provider Review (APR) replaces the four or six-yearly Higher Education Review.
The APR is desk-based and a low-burden process. It uses existing HEFCE data analysis and assurance processes.
Institutions will not need to submit any additional returns. Instead, the new review brings together these processes in a more structured way.
We have now published detailed guidance on the APR process for 2016-17.
The appeals process for a provider’s Annual Provider Review outcome is explained in the APR guidance on pages 14-15.
Providers have 14 working days to submit an appeal on the grounds of procedural irregularity, that is, that the published process has not been followed.
The appeals form and more information about submitting an appeal are available on the HEFCE extranet.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
APR activities and events
To support providers in engaging with the APR and understanding its requirements, HEFCE will run a programme of APR activities throughout the autumn.
Tailored support sessions with the quality team will run on 9, 14 and 17 November. For details of how to participate in these sessions please email email@example.com.
The full programme of activities will be confirmed shortly.
2. Assurances from governing bodies
We are using existing processes for collecting assurances from governing bodies to support the Annual Provider Review.
These processes will also cover the student academic experiences, student outcomes, and the standard of awards.
Universities will need to include these assurances as part of their Annual Accountability Return. Colleges will be asked to submit the new assurances through a tailored template.
We have published detailed information about the assurance statements governing bodies will need to provide from December 2016.
We will use our five-yearly HEFCE assurance review (HAR) visit to test the reliability of these assurances. We have published the schedule for this review below.
3. Peer review and outcomes
Our Quality Committee will make the final judgements. This means that a diverse group of qualified and trained peer and student members will carry out the review.
Judgements will fall into one of three outcomes:
- Meets requirements
The provider will continue to undergo Annual Provider Review in subsequent years.
- Meets requirements with conditions
The provider will continue to undergo Annual Provider Review in subsequent years, but with an action plan to address areas of immediate concern.
The provider will be referred for further investigation and intervention.
How the Annual Provider Review works
HEFCE assurance review schedule (August 2016)
Transition in 2016-17
Quality review visits
Under the new approach to quality assessment the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) will carry out ‘quality review’ visits.
These visits will include detailed scrutiny of a provider’s ability to meet those elements of the baseline regulatory requirements that relate directly to the quality of the student academic experience, and to the safeguarding of degree standards.
QAA has published a Quality Review Handbook describing how they will carry out quality review visits.
We are putting in place transition arrangements for those providers who had been scheduled for QAA Higher Education Review (HER) during 2016-17.
We have written to all universities and colleges with details of these arrangements and will support all providers through the process.