5.4 Approval process

  • 4.1 The standard approval process for new collaborative arrangements is set out below. It applies to:

    1. franchised and validated programmes, including short courses
    2. jointly-provided programmes leading to a single Brookes award (including ACP provision)
    3. jointly-provided programmes leading to joint or dual/multiple awards

    Some variations (e.g. location, documentation requirements, panel membership, etc) apply to other types of collaborative arrangements, and these are set out in section 5 below.

  • Location

    4.2 The approval panel event will normally take place at the partner premises where the proposed programme/s will be delivered (but see 3.4 above). For programmes leading to joint awards, the event may be held either at Brookes or the partner’s premises, as agreed between the parties involved and approved by the APQO - in order to ensure that any issues are shared and resolved, a joint approval event must be held, i.e. both the panel and the programme team must be representative of both partners.


    4.3 The panel will be convened by the link QAO, in consultation with the Faculty, and should consist of:

    Also see Chapter 2 - 2.4 Programme approval panel 

    • Chair
      Independent of the proposing Faculty. They should have: appropriate seniority within the University, e.g. Associate Dean (Student Experience), Head of Department, Programme Lead, Subject Coordinator, Senior or Principal Lecturer; experience of programme approval panel membership within Brookes and at other higher education institutions; and experience of managing or delivering collaborative provision. They should also have attended the Chair’s workshop run by APQO/OCSLD.
    • Internal Assessors
      • One academic staff member from each Faculty involved in the delivery of the proposal, but from outside the School/Department/s presenting the proposal.
      • One academic staff member from a Faculty not involved in the delivery of the proposed programme.
    • External Assessor/s
      At least one external panel member, independent of the proposing team and employed, or with recent relevant experience, in another UK higher education institution. They should have the ability to contribute an expert and objective opinion of the overall academic and professional standards of the programme, and on the capacity of the proposed teaching team to deliver them in the context of the partnership; and some experience of managing or operating collaborative arrangements.
      The external assessor should be identified and nominated by the PDT, and approved by APQO.
    • APQO link Quality Assurance Officer (Panel Secretary)
      To advise on the conduct of the approval event, and assist the panel in formulating their conclusions; and to write the report of the event.
    • Directorate representative
      Optional, if a specific perspective is needed to assist the panel in assessing the proposal.


    4.4 The following documentation should be prepared by the PDT for the approval panel:

    • Submission Document (T2.6; or T6.2 for a multiple-module short course; or T6.3 for a single-module short course)
      • where local permission to operate in the country of delivery will need to be secured, details of the approval process, and progress so far, should be included in the submission document;
      • for professionally accredited programmes, the PSRB may require additional documentation which should also be included in the submission;
      • for short courses, the submission document should indicate whether the credit could contribute to specified higher awards, and outline any progression requirements;
    • Programme Specification (T2.7)
    • Module Descriptions (T2.8)
    • Programme Handbook (or module handbook for single-module short courses; in line with APQO guidance in T2.9)
    • Operations Manual (T5.5 a or b, tailored as appropriate for the partnership, to clearly articulate the quality assurance procedures and how they will be implemented)
    • Partner prospectus, if available, or link to relevant pages on partner’s website;
    • For short courses, a draft certificate which has been agreed with the Academic Registrar;
    • A site visit report for all delivery sites not visited during the approval event (T5.14) will be provided by the link QAO.


    Key documents

    4.5 The agenda for the approval event will be drawn up by the link QAO in consultation with the PDT Chair. It is advisable to hold a pre-meeting at the University between the link QAO, the Panel Chair and the PDT Chair/Liaison Manager (other panel members may be included, as required) about a week before the approval event, to confirm the agenda and identify any additional information required prior to the event. The pre-meeting is particularly advisable where the event is to take place abroad.

    4.6 The panel must refer to the programme approval criteria, set out in guidance note G2.3, and satisfy themselves that:

    • the partner can provide the necessary resources and facilities to support the programme/s under consideration (or measures have been put in place to enable access to the appropriate Brookes resources, where the business case is dependent on this);
    • the staff at the partner organisation are appropriately qualified and have relevant subject expertise, and a good understanding of:
      • the nature, content, aims and learning outcomes of the programme/s
      • the learning, teaching and assessment strategies to be employed on the programme/s
      • the University’s approach to learning outcomes, assessment, grading and moderation
      • the University’s quality assurance requirements
    • the arrangements set out in the Operations Manual are appropriate and understood by all parties;
    • a robust staffing plan is in place to ensure the successful, and sustainable, delivery of the programme/s; and arrangements have been put in place to support any planned staff development activities to which partner staff are entitled.