Institutional Audit is the previous review process for higher education institutions in England and Northern Ireland. It was replaced in September 2011 by the Institutional Review method.
Institutional Audits are carried out by a team of academics who review the institution's quality and standards, using their knowledge of higher education and reference points in the Academic Infrastructure. After each audit, QAA publishes a report on the audit team's findings.
Institutional Audit forms part of the Quality Assurance Framework established in 2002 following revisions to the UK's approach to external quality assurance. At the centre of the process is an emphasis on students and their learning. QAA has developed a handbook for institutions to set out the audit process:
Handbook for Institutional Audit: England and Northern Ireland 2009 (PDF)
The Handbook was first published in 2006 and was revised in September 2009 after consultation with the sector regarding:
- the introduction of an approach to the audit of collaborative provision (which may be undertaken, as appropriate: within a normal Institutional Audit; by means of a 'hybrid' Institutional Audit; or as a separate Collaborative Provision Audit)
- the inclusion of student members on audit teams.
Full details of this consultation, which closed on 1 March 2009, can be found in the archive section below.
Audit guidance documents
We have developed a number of guidance documents for higher education institutions undergoing, or preparing for, an Institutional Audit.
- Mid-cycle follow-up - the mid-cycle follow-up serves as a short health check on the institution's continuing management of academic standards and quality. We have developed guidance notes for institutions and frequently asked questions about this process.
- Procedures on representations - we have developed procedures on representations for institutions where a team has judged that it has 'no confidence' in the soundness of the institution's procedures for the present and likely future management of the quality of its programmes and the academic standards of its awards.
- QAA standards for Institutional Audit - these are our service standards for the Institutional Audit process.
- Audit briefing event presentation
Guidance for students
Students who want to learn more about the Institutional Audit process might like to read our mini guide, which includes a step-by-step timetable of events. We have also published a number of information resources for student representatives about their role in Institutional Audit, including a detailed guide, case studies and a collection of short films.
Mini guide: A brief student guide to Institutional Audit (PDF)
Institutional Audit: guide for student representatives (PDF)
Our case studies, submitted by student representatives, offer further guidance on writing the student written submission
Introduction to audit by Alison Blackburn, Head of Academic Quality and Standards, University of Central Lancashire and QAA Audit Secretary
Short films to help student representatives prepare for Institutional Audit - Top tips for students; What to do afterwards; The importance of the student written submission.
To find out more about our approach to student engagement, please see the students section.
Institutional Audit training for student representatives 2010-11
Outcomes from Institutional Audit
As part of our enhancement work, we publish Outcomes from Institutional Audit papers based on particular themes which draw on findings in Institutional Audit reports. Two series have so far been published: the first covering 70 audits undertaken in England and Northern Ireland between 2002 and 2004 and the second covering 59 audits undertaken between December 2004 and August 2006.
All documentation relating to the development of Institutional Audit.
Institutional audit: a guide for student representatives (2004)