Section J: Quality appraisals and internal quality audits (IQAS)


J1. Quality appraisals introduction

Quality appraisals are an audit of existing practice in a small defined area which is reported to the University Teaching and Learning Committee. The purpose of quality appraisals is to provide evidence to assist the University in ensuring that its policies and procedures operate effectively and are being implemented consistently across the Institution.


J2. Types of quality appraisal

Quality appraisals may cover a wide range of topics related, but not limited to:

  • the operation of formal academic committees;
  • course documentation;
  • course/module evaluation and review mechanisms;
  • implementation of teaching and learning strategies;
  • regulatory compliance;
  • the student learning experience.

Service quality appraisals will cover activities which support the student learning experience. This may include the processes for supporting centrally serviced committees, such as UTLC or URC (and any other committees outside of Registry).


J3. Evidence Required for quality appraisals

The Terms of Reference outlining the evidence required for each quality appraisal will normally be circulated at least 1 month in advance of the Quality Appraisal.

Schools/Services being appraised are responsible for ensuring that documentation is prepared in an appropriate format for the quality appraisal.


J4. Appointment of quality appraisal panels

Panels will normally comprise of a minimum of 2 members of staff not associated with the School/Service where the quality appraisal is taking place (usually 2 members of Registry staff. Where appropriate, panel membership may include a member of the Students’ Union Executive. The panel may include any member of staff, independent from the School/Service being appraised in accordance with criteria defined by UTLC/Graduate Board.


J5. Conduct of quality appraisals

The schedule of quality appraisals for each academic year will be determined by UTLC or Graduate Board, on behalf of UTLC/URC, and incorporated into the annual review schedule.

Quality appraisals are normally desk-based activities; however, they may include meeting(s) with relevant members of staff and students.


J6. Reports of Quality Appraisals

A report of the appraisal will be prepared by the panel and circulated to the School/Service being appraised to allowing them to identify and confirm actions to be taken following the appraisal. Where the appraisal is across multiple Schools/Services a summary report will also be prepared and circulated.

All reports will detail the conduct observed, draw conclusions and make recommendations.

The Dean/Director or Head of Service, or nominee, will receive the final report and will draw up a formal response and action plan to be presented for consideration by UTLC/URC.


J7. Internal Quality Audits (IQA)

The role of an IQA is to scrutinise areas of rapid change and development or to determine the nature of problems and to report on action and support required where issues of concern have been raised.

The need for an IQA may be raised via the annual evaluation process or other review mechanism (e.g. an external examiner report, DALO report, PSRB engagement or an Audit report).

An IQA can take place in relation to provision delivered either on campus or at a Partner Institution.


J8. Conduct of an IQA

The precise terms of reference, model of audit, panel membership and means by which the report of the audit will be considered will be agreed with the PVC (T&L)/PVC (R&E) in advance of commencing the Internal Quality Audit. In view of this an IQA may take the form of a desk-based exercise or a more detailed engagement which may involve meetings with members of Staff within the School(s) or Partner Institution concerned.


J9. Reports of IQAs

Reports and Actions following an IQA will be considered by the body approved within the IQA’s Terms of Reference. Precise outcomes available will be contained within the Terms of Reference and may include (but is not limited to) agreeing:

  • No further action is necessary.
  • A monitoring period.
  • An improvement plan.
  • That a Collaborative Partnership be terminated.