5.9 Periodic review and partnership renewal

  • The standard length of contract for all types of collaborative arrangements is five years, and a periodic review must be undertaken before the contract between the University and the partner may be renewed. The renewal of the contract is dependent on the satisfactory resolution of all conditions set by the periodic review panel.

    The five-yearly periodic review of collaborative provision is a two-stage process, through which the University:

    • reviews individual partnership arrangements, through refreshed due diligence enquiries, assessments of ongoing market demand and re-negotiated financial agreements;
    • assures itself of the academic standards of Oxford Brookes awards made on the basis of programmes of study which are delivered through partnership arrangements, and that a high quality learning experience is being provided by the partner organisation.

    Periodic review usually takes place in the academic year before the expiry of the contract, since permission to recruit to a collaborative programme is suspended in the last year, until the review has been completed. This is so that no students may be recruited for a start date beyond the date of expiry of the current contract until a satisfactory periodic review has taken place, in order to allow time to change or terminate the partnership without prejudicing existing applicants. However, this may vary according to the frequency of intakes, and the recruitment cycle, for different partnerships, and advice on the timing of the periodic review should be sought from the Faculty link QAO.

  • Stage 1: Review of the partnership

    9.4 Partnership review focuses on the track record of the partnership and its future direction and sustainability, as well as the mechanisms in place to enable the ongoing management of the delivery and quality assurance of the programmes of study involved. Partnership agreements for the delivery of specific collaborative arrangements are signed for a maximum period of five years, and - if the contract is to be renewed - LPAG approval for continuation of the arrangements must be sought prior to carrying out the quinquennial academic review of the provision. A submission to LPAG is not required if the contract is not to be renewed, as the provisions of the current contract will remain in force while existing students - recruited prior to the expiry date - complete their studies. However, the programme/s must still undergo periodic programme review in order to ensure that standards and quality are maintained for the remaining students during the teach-out period.

    9.5 Articulation arrangements should also be reviewed every five years – this exercise should be carried out as part of the periodic review of the programme to which entry is granted, if that programme is also delivered by the same partner. If the articulation arrangement guarantees entry to an on-campus programme, the review may be combined with the periodic review of the home programme, if the timescales coincide.

    Timing of reviews for groups of programmes or delivery partners

    9.6 New programmes are often added to a partner organisation’s portfolio of provision leading to Oxford Brookes awards as the partnership develops and strengthens. Individual legal agreements are drawn up to cover each programme (or group of programmes approved at the same time)*, so they are not required to follow the same five-year cycle, unless a shorter initial period of approval is applied to new additions to the portfolio for the purpose of synchronising the reviews. It is therefore likely that programmes delivered by the same partner will be subject to periodic review at different times; however, a CPRF submission to LPAG is required for each programme (or cognate group of programmes) as they become due for review - even if other programmes in the portfolio have recently been reviewed - so that LPAG can take a view on the market demand and business case for each aspect of the portfolio with that partner.

    9.7 *NOTE: ‘umbrella’ agreements were introduced for each ACP partner from 2018-19, with all programmes delivered by each college being subsumed into the single agreement as they complete their five yearly reviews. However, programmes will remain on their existing periodic review cycle under the umbrella contracts.

    9.8 It is also possible that the same provision may be delivered by a number of partner organisations: this is especially the case within the ACP. It is desirable that these programmes should be reviewed at the same time for all partners involved in its delivery, in case curriculum changes are required in order to maintain currency.

    Collaborative Provision Renewal Forms

    9.9 Renewal submissions must be made to LPAG on the appropriate Collaborative Partnership Renewal Form, as follows:

    1. CPRF1 (template T5.3a) - for renewal of arrangements with existing UK or International partners who do not belong to the Associate College Partnership.
    2. CPRF2 (template T5.3b) - for renewal of arrangements with current members of the Associate College Partnership.
    3. CPP/RF3 (template T5.2) for the approval of new and the renewal of existing articulation or credit rating arrangements.
    4. CPRF4 (template to be developed in 2019-20) for the renewal of institutional partnerships.

    9.10 The CPRF primarily focuses on refreshing the financial, legal and academic due diligence enquiries and analysing the track record of the partnership since it was last approved or renewed. LPAG will assess the recruitment to the programme/s over the previous five years and consider whether convincing evidence of a continuing market for the provision is presented in the CPRF; and they will consider whether the partnership still fits with Faculty and University strategic priorities

    Stage 2: Periodic programme review

    9.11 The focus of the periodic review is a reflection on the quality of the student learning experience and the standards of student achievement, and on the arrangements for managing and enhancing the provision. In this respect, it is therefore similar to the review of home programmes (see Chapter 4 of the Quality & Standards Handbook); and the documentation requirements are also the same. The constitution of the periodic review panel is also the same as for home programmes, except that it does not normally include a student panel member.

    9.12 However, the periodic review of collaborative provision differs from periodic review for home provision in that reviews are held after a maximum of five years; and the process incorporates both a review and re-approval of the delivery and management arrangements for the provision. Changes to the provision may be incorporated into the review process, with the agreement of the Student Records and Curriculum Management Team, but should normally be processed during the year in line with the procedures noted in section 10 above. The review therefore follows a similar pattern to the relevant approval process described in this chapter (sections 5 to 9). The review of collaborative provision also involves meeting with senior staff at the partner organisation in order to confirm their commitment to the partnership as approved by LPAG; to discuss how they would like to see it developing, and get an insight into their educational ethos and priorities for the student experience. In most cases, the periodic review is held at the partner’s premises (but see 3.4 above).