5.11 Closure of partnership and/or collaborative programmes

  • 11.1 Please refer to the suspension and closure processes described in the Quality & Standards Handbook chapter 2: section 5 as these procedures and reporting requirements apply equally to collaborative provision. Some additional points for consideration in respect of collaborative partnerships are given below.

    11.2 Please note that there is a formal process for reviewing the viability of, and potentially suspending, programmes delivered by the Associate College Partnership – advice on this procedure should be sought from the Head of UK Partnerships & Apprenticeships ( scullimore@brookes.ac.uk).

    11.3 As with home provision, the termination of a partnership or closure of a collaborative programme may arise in a number of ways. Irrespective of the circumstances, safeguarding the interests of any students remaining on the programmes is paramount, and the exit strategy must ensure the integrity and continuity of their education while studying for a Brookes award. Exit strategies must also give consideration to minimising the reputational damage to the University. It can be difficult to predict the exact circumstances which may lead to the termination of a partnership, particularly in the case of a serious breach of contract. The management of the closure of collaborative arrangements may take a variety of forms, depending on the situation, and the process of agreeing the exit process must therefore be carried out in consultation with the appropriate range of interested parties within Brookes and the partner organisation.

    11.4 A number of potential exit strategies will have been identified at the point of consideration of a new partnership (or the renewal of an existing one), and approved by the Learning Partnerships Advisory Group. It is of key importance that due consideration is given to exit strategies at the point of initiation of a new partnership, since withdrawal from collaborative arrangements can be protracted and expensive if not managed effectively. Potential exit strategies should be reviewed regularly by the managing Faculty – through the annual review process, and at the point of the five-yearly contract renewal submission to LPAG - in order to assess whether they remain appropriate in the context of any changes to the risk environment in which the partnership is operating.

    11.5 When a Faculty decides to terminate a partnership agreement, support for the decision must be sought from the Vice-Chancellor’s Group in good time to give formal notice; and a more detailed plan for the withdrawal must be drawn up before the period of notice expires. If possible, the exit plan should be negotiated with the partner - in the case of international partners, all Brookes staff travelling out to meet with partner staff to agree the exit plan must be made aware of all factors affecting the termination of the arrangement. NOTE: The standard survivorship provisions of the Brookes legal agreement normally suffice in the case of planned closures at the expiry of a current contract, and further detail is only required if the exit arrangements differ from the normal requirements set out in the existing contract.

    11.6 The University retains overall responsibility for the remaining students on the programme/s, and for enabling them to complete their studies, regardless of the willingness of the partner to work with Brookes staff to protect the interests of students. Where there is a significant teaching-out period for a collaborative arrangement, a review of the provision to be closed should be undertaken by a University panel – following the University’s periodic review process set out above- in order for the University to ensure that appropriate quality management arrangements will remain in place to enable the remaining students to complete their programme of study and achieve the award for which they are registered (NOTE: a review is not necessary where no students remain on the programme/s). These arrangements should be approved by AESC/QLIC on receipt of the review report, and monitored by the appropriate Faculty AESC/QLIC and Faculty Executive group; and, where deemed necessary, the Vice-Chancellor’s Group.