Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies

This section of the Framework covers engagement with Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) in relation to accreditation review and approval activity.

Key reference points

Relevant benchmark statements, framework for Higher Education Qualifications, UWE Bristol Strategy 2020, QAA Quality Code, various Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies.

Audience

Heads of Department, Programme Managers, Module Leaders, members of committees involved in the monitoring and review and approval of academic provision.

PSRB section documents and templates

View PSRB section documents, templates and quality process sheets.

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies sections

  1. Scope and principles
  2. Key roles and responsibilities
  3. Engagements with PSRBs
  4. PSRB outcomes and the Quality Assurance Cycle
  5. PSRBs and variant regulations
  6. PSRBs and external examining
  7. Exception-based reporting to external bodies
  8. Annex
  9. Section documents and templates

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 University strives to be the best for 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 us 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 Faculties and their PSRBs which are vital to the maintenance of good relationships.

2. Key roles and responsibilities

Key individuals

a) The Curriculum Review and Accreditation Manager (CRA Manager) has oversight and management of the University’s PSRB activity and is a primary source of advice on engagement with PSRBs. The CRA Manager will liaise with the Faculty Associate Dean (Learning Teaching and the Student Experience) and the Head of Department (or nominees) regarding the coordination, preparation and undertaking of PSRB activity and is responsible for assigning a Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team Officer to support each PSRB engagement.

b) The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team Officer (LTET Officer) will liaise with all those involved in the process to provide advice and guidance, ensure the smooth running of the activity and will coordinate the production of any required documentation.

c) The Faculty Quality Account Manager, in liaison with the LTET Officer, will provide guidance on curriculum approval matters relating to the PSRB activity.

d) The Faculty/Programme Team will be constituted according to the scope and requirements of the engagement but is likely to include the Programme Leader(s), Head/Associate Head of Department, Module Leader(s) and appropriate Professional Service Staff. The Team is key in ensuring the programme meets the PSRB requirements, preparing the document submission and engaging in events with the support of the LTET Officer.

e) The Director of Academic Services (AS) is 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. In the first instance, Faculties are advised to contact the Director of AS’s nominee, the CRA Manager, with regard to any matters related to PSRBs.

Committees

a) Faculty Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC) has an overview of PSRB activity for the Faculty 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 the Learning, Teaching and Student Enhancement Committee as appropriate. Faculty ASQCs will also receive, on an annual basis, a summary of expected engagement with PSRBs for the forthcoming academic year.

b) The University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee (LTSEC) receives an annual report of all completed PSRB activity in the University and undertakes to identify any themes that may emerge for University action.

c) The Faculty Curriculum Approval Panel (CAP) will receive any updated documentation for approval following appropriate recommendations for amendment to curriculum provision.

d) Academic Board has responsibility for setting mechanisms for assuring the quality and standards of provision in the University and delegates the oversight of PSRB activity to LTSEC.

3. Engagements with PSRBs

Each PSRB has its own requirements with which the University must comply in order to achieve and maintain accreditation. Most require some formal involvement with the University’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. All forms of PSRB activity are supported by an LTET Officer, as appropriate.

Joint accreditation and internal curriculum approval event

Where the University is approving a new programme or changes to an existing programme which also requires PSRB accreditation it may be necessary to hold a joint approval and accreditation event known as a Special CAP (a sub-committee of the Curriculum Approval Panel). This type of event is undertaken where it is necessitated by the PSRB’s requirements or it is deemed by the CRA Manager to be the most appropriate form of activity.

The Curriculum Proposal and Design Phases follow the established procedure set out in the QMEF Handbook and are undertaken alongside the compilation of any additional information or documentation required by the PSRB. The joint event is held with both a UWE Bristol Special CAP and the PSRB representative(s) to allow for simultaneous approval and accreditation. For full details of the process see Quality Process Sheet QPS60.

Stand alone accreditation event

This form of PSRB activity normally takes place where there is no requirement for internal approval processes to be undertaken, such as:

  • provision that is already approved by the University and is seeking initial accreditation;
  • reaccreditation as part of the normal accreditation cycle without any changes to the curriculum;
  • a PSRB monitoring visit.

For full details of the process see Quality Process Sheet QPS61.

Paper based accreditation

Some PSRBs do not require a visit to the University and will, instead, undertake accreditation based upon the submission of documentation. This may also be the case where changes to curriculum have been approved by the University necessitating a reaccreditation by the PSRB.

For full details of the process see Quality Process Sheet QPS62.

Annual monitoring for maintenance of accreditation

Certain PSRBs require annual reports to be submitted to them in order for accreditation to be maintained. The format of the report and any supporting documentation will be prescribed by the PSRB. The reporting process is supported by the CRA Manager (or nominee) who will also retain a formal record of the reporting.

Notification of changes to curriculum

Where changes are proposed to accredited programmes it is necessary to consult the PSRB on their requirements for reaccreditation/maintenance of ongoing accreditation before any amendments are approved by the University. A formal record of these consultations should be retained by the CRA Manager. Each PSRB will have a specific process which must be followed and which may range from notification of the changes made to a full accreditation process (see types of engagement above).

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 Assurance 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 University’s Academic Regulations and Procedures resulting in a request to Academic Board for a variation to regulations. In this case, the Faculty should make the request for a variation via the CRA Manager prior to obtaining accreditation. The request should include the following:

  • A clear statement from the PSRB directly to the University 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.
  • Written support for the application from the Faculty Executive to Academic Board.
  • Written support for the application from the CRA Manager to Academic Board for a variation in regulations.

The CRA Manager will assist in the preparation of the application, including collation of evidence of the need for this change, and the writing of the paper to Academic Board. Where required, the CRA Manager will inform the PSRB of approval of the requested variation on behalf of the Director of AS. Any approved variations must be recorded in the University Regulations and the Programme Specification.

6. PSRBs and external examining

Some PSRBs have specific requirements around the appointment of External Examiners and guidance can be found in the External Peer Review section of the QMEF.

7. Exception-based reporting to external bodies

Certain external bodies who provide funding, require the University 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 one of the four Faculty ASQCs at the University. The report to the ASQC will be accompanied by an action plan or improvement plan if issues or weaknesses have been raised during the course of the reviews.

8. Annex

Antecedents: 

Approved by Academic Board 7 December 2011
For implementation January 2012
V1.1 Operational update August 2013
V1.2 Operational update December 2014
V1.3 Operational update July 2015


Log of operational changes made to QMEF Handbook PSRB Section

Version

Section

Change

1.1

 

General update of wording and re-organisation of sections in preparation of website deployment

 

9

Clarification of collaborative provision requirements

1.2   General update of wording to reflect new team and role names.  Removal of detailed information about processes to separate process sheets
  2 Clarification around flexibility of roles
  3 Removal of reference to template/process which is not in use
1.3 All Update terminology and remove detailed process to QPS Notes

9. Section documents and templates

Templates

Quality process sheets

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