5.1 Scope of chapter

  • 1.1 This chapter of the Quality & Standards Handbook aims to be an accessible and comprehensive guide to procedural requirements for the approval, monitoring and review of collaborative provision. Its primary audiences are:

    • staff - both at Brookes and at existing or potential partner organisations - who are interested in developing collaborative partnerships;
    • central University and Faculty-based staff who are responsible for the delivery, management or administration of collaborative arrangements;
    • funding and regulatory bodies, external quality agencies, and professional bodies with an interest in the University’s management of its collaborative partnerships.

    1.2 The University is mindful of the expectations articulated in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education (2018): that effective arrangements must be in place to ensure that the standards of its awards are credible and secure, and the academic experience is of high-quality, irrespective of where or how courses are delivered and who delivers them. In the design of its procedures for the approval, monitoring and review of its collaborative partnerships and provision, the University recognises - and seeks to manage - the risks associated with the devolution of responsibilities for managing quality and standards to, or sharing these responsibilities with, a partner. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, the processes for approval, monitoring and review are tailored according to the extent to which responsibilities are devolved to a partner organisation. However, while recognising the risks involved, the University also wishes to take advantage of the opportunities and benefits associated with entering into collaborative arrangements, such as widening participation in higher education, securing market advantages, and developing good relationships with other educational establishments, employers, etc, in the UK and abroad.

    1.3 Approval, monitoring and review procedures for collaborative provision differ from the processes applying to home provision in a number of ways:

    • approval for new partnerships is given by the Learning Partnerships Advisory Group on the recommendation of Faculty Executive Groups, prior to the academic approval of specific delivery arrangements;
    • approval and review events are managed by the APQO, rather than by Faculty quality teams;
    • Faculty overviews of the annual programme review exercise are considered by the Collaborative Provision Sub-Committee, and the outcomes of the QA processes are used to inform LPAG’s monitoring of partnership performance;
    • the five-yearly periodic review process is a mechanism for re-approval of the provision and renewal of the contract governing the partnership, and involves a re-submission to LPAG.

    1.4 This chapter covers the following procedures:

    • the initial approval of new collaborative partnerships by LPAG [section 7];
    • the approval of specific collaborative programmes with a new or existing partner [sections 8-17]:
    • modification of existing collaborative arrangements [section 18];
    • monitoring requirements [section 19];
    • periodic review and renewal of existing partnerships and programmes [section 20];
    • improvement action planning, and closure of collaborative arrangements [sections 21-22];

    Sections 2-6 set out the definitions of common forms of collaborative provision and some key considerations, and section 23 outlines the responsibilities of the key players in the approval, monitoring and review of collaborative arrangements.

    1.5 This chapter does not include procedures for the approval, monitoring and review of:

    • Degree/Higher Apprenticeships – these are covered in Chapter 7 of the Quality & Standards Handbook;
    • collaborative research degrees, the academic arrangements for which are approved and monitored by the Research Degrees Committee – however, LPAG approval is required prior to entering into contractual arrangements in which a dual or joint award is made with another awarding body (see section 7.17);
    • school experience, clinical practice, and other placements which form an integral part of Brookes ‘home’ programmes and are quality assured through the normal procedures governing that provision [NOTE: Faculty AESCs are required annually to approve the Faculty framework for selecting placement providers, and to monitor placement quality through an annual report from the Partnerships & Placements Managers – using template T5.8];
    • individual claims for the accreditation of prior learning;
    • progression agreements - in which admission to a Brookes programme from a programme delivered by another institution is not automatic, but is conditional on some check on the applicant’s prior learning or achievement.

    1.6 Elements of other chapters of the Quality & Standards Handbook also apply to collaborative provision, and cross-references are made in the relevant sections of this chapter. The closure of collaborative programmes and/or partnerships is covered in Quality & Standards Handbook chapter 2 (Programme design and approval), section 6. For annual programme review requirements, refer to chapter 3: section 4.

    1.7 The procedures for negotiation, approval and management of collaborative partnerships, set out in this chapter, aim to ensure that:

    1. the selection of partners is based on clear criteria, and on thorough due diligence enquiries;
    2. collaborative arrangements are fully costed and risk assessed; and consideration of the financial and business aspects of partnership proposals is separated from that of academic delivery and the quality of learning opportunities provided;
    3. written agreements and related documentation clearly sets out the rights and responsibilities of the University and its partners in respect of the specified arrangements;
    4. the University is able to fulfil its responsibility for the academic standards of any awards made in its name, and ensure that they meet the expectations of the UK higher education sector, as articulated in the UK Quality Code, national or international qualifications frameworks, and any relevant subject/professional benchmarks;
    5. the University can assure itself that the quality of learning opportunities offered by a partner organisation is sufficient to enable students to achieve the standards (including, where relevant, the professional standards) required for the award to which the collaborative programme leads;
    6. students receive accurate and comprehensive information about their programme of study and the award to which it leads.