This section of the Framework covers engagement with Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs).
Key Reference Points
QAA Quality Code, Relevant Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body guidance and appropriate institutional strategic documents, e.g. Higher Education Strategic Plan.
Staff members including Heads of Department, Programme Managers, Module Leaders, members of committees involved in the monitoring and review and approval of academic provision.
Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies sections
1. Scope and principles
Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) is an umbrella term for a diverse group of bodies. Professional bodies often act in the interest of an individual profession to promote and support professionals by being a membership organisation. They are usually independent of government and control entry to a specific profession. A regulatory body acts in the public interest, regulating professional activity or individual professionals. Many statutory bodies or regulators have powers mandated by Parliament and protect the public interest by guaranteeing the standards underpinning the professional title.
The institution strives to provide professionally recognised and practice-oriented programmes, which contribute to an outstanding learning experience and generate excellent graduate employment opportunities and outcomes for all students. Accreditation through PSRBs plays an important role in helping to achieve this aim.
This guidance sets out only the formal processes for engagement with PSRBs and is in no way intended to limit or prescribe the informal communication channels between Departments and their PSRBs which are vital to the maintenance of good relationships.
2. Key roles and responsibilities
a) The Associate Dean: Teaching Learning and Scholarship has strategic oversight for PSRB activity. They will submit a report of current PSRB accreditation/engagement and dates of any subsequent review or re-approval to Associate Faculty Board on an annual basis.
b) A nominated member of Departmental staff (appointed by the relevant Head of Department) - the PSRB link tutor - will coordinate, prepare and manage PSRB activity on behalf of the Department. The link tutor will liaise with the Associate Dean: Teaching Learning and Scholarship, the Associate Dean: Quality and Standards and the relevant Head of Department (or nominee) regarding the PSRB activity and ensure reports are submitted (or assist with submission of reports) as required. The PSRB link tutors are the designated official correspondent with all PSRBs in respect of the formal accreditation of awards and the formal notification of decisions and responses arising in the context of accreditation.
c) The Associate Dean: Quality and Standards will provide guidance on curriculum approval matters relating to the PSRB activity.
a) The Associate Faculty Board is responsible for ensuring the awarding institution’s quality and standards mechanisms in relation to PSRBs are followed and reporting on this as appropriate. Any variant regulations would have to be approved by Associate Faculty Board.
b) The Academic Standards and Enhancement Committee has an overview of PSRB activity and will receive notification of the outcome of each engagement. It is responsible for monitoring any action plans resulting from PSRB activity and will highlight good practice or issues requiring enhancement to further committees and subsequently to the awarding institutions as appropriate.
c) The Curriculum Approval Committee has responsibility for approving new curricula and changes to existing curricula and will therefore consider any implications related to PSRB engagement.
3. Engagements with PSRBs
Each PSRB has its own requirements with which the institution must comply in order to achieve and maintain its relationship. Most require some formal involvement with the awarding institution’s approval, review and regulatory processes in order to satisfy themselves about the standard of an award and the content, coverage and application of the curriculum in their subject areas.
The following section sets out the most common types of engagement with PSRBs but is not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive. Individual PSRBs will have specific requirements in terms of information required and the format of events. Where PSRBs require specific documentation (e.g. evidence of competency mapping), the institution will endeavour to use these documents in place of those prescribed in this guidance if appropriate. In such cases, prior approval must be gained from Academic Standards and Enhancement Committee or via Chair’s action as needed.
The procedure for seeking PSRB accreditation, either for a new or existing programme (NB the change itself may be the intention to seek PSRB accreditation) is laid out in the ‘PSRB Accreditation and Internal Approval Process Sheet’.
Curriculum development requiring PSRB accreditation
Where approval of a new programme or amendments to an existing programme which also requires PSRB accreditation are being undertaken, PSRB requirements should be considered as part of the curriculum development process. The curriculum development should follow the established procedure set out in the HQEF and is undertaken alongside the compilation of any additional information or documentation required by the PSRB. This may be achieved by:
The outcome of engagement with the PSRB should be recorded by the Curriculum Approval Committee Officer using the ‘Notification of outcome of PSRB engagement’ template.
Annual monitoring for maintenance of accreditation
Certain PSRBs require annual reports to be submitted to them in order for the relationship to be maintained. The format of the report and any supporting documentation will be mutually agreed. In such cases, prior approval must be gained from Academic Standards and Enhancement Committee or via Chair’s action as required.
Notification of changes to curriculum
Where changes are proposed to relevant programmes it is necessary to consult the PSRB on their requirements for maintenance of ongoing relationship before any amendments are approved by the awarding institution. A formal record of these consultations should be retained by the nominated PSRB link tutor. Each PSRB will have a specific process which must be followed and which may range from notification of the changes made to a full approval process.
The outcome of engagement with the PSRB should be recorded by the PSRB Link Tutor using the ‘Notification of outcome of PSRB engagement’ template.
4. PSRB outcomes and the Quality Assurance Cycle
The Key Roles and Responsibilities section above sets out the committees responsible for oversight of PSRB activity and the monitoring of outcomes, however, these outcomes also play an important role in the wider Quality Cycle. They should be considered as part of Curriculum Approval, Annual Monitoring and Enhancement and Periodic Curriculum Review. Likewise, issues and examples of enhancement arising from these activities will inform curriculum development with PSRBs.
5. PSRBs and variant regulations
On occasion, the requirements of a PSRB may conflict with the academic regulations resulting in a request for a variation to regulations. In this case, the appropriate procedure for requesting a variation to regulations will be followed. The request should include a clear statement from the PSRB directly or evidence from the PSRB’s accreditation criteria that this variation is required for accreditation. Any communications already held with the PSRB regarding this must also be provided.
Any approved variations must be recorded in the relevant Programme and Module Specifications.
6. PSRBs and external examining
Some PSRBs have specific requirements around the appointment and role of External Examiners and these must be taken into account when appointing External Examiners and when agreeing the details of their reporting commitments. An External Examiner usually completes an Annual Report to the institution and PSRB requirements can be taken into account at this point, or by agreeing a different reporting process.
7. Exception-based reporting to external bodies
Certain external bodies who provide funding, require Higher Education Providers to report to them any significant weaknesses identified by independent reviews by PSRBs, the Quality Assurance Agency or internal processes in a timely manner and for an action or improvement plan to be put in place to address the weakness.
All reports involving independent reviews by PSRBs, QAA or internal processes are submitted to Academic Standards and Enhancement Committee and any other committees as appropriate. The report to the Academic Standards and Enhancement Committee will be accompanied by an action plan or improvement plan if issues or weaknesses have been raised during the course of the reviews.
Log of operational changes made to HQEF Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies Section
9. Section documents