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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Private providers that we review

Which institutions does the Concerns procedure apply to?

The Concerns procedure and the Scottish Protocol are integral parts of the UK quality assurance framework. Institutions come within the scope of one of these two schemes if they:

  • subscribe to QAA (including all publicly funded higher education institutions)
  • receive educational oversight from QAA.

In applying to QAA to provide educational oversight or for reviews of specific course designation (RSCD), applicants are agreeing to come within the Concerns procedure's jurisdiction (or within the jurisdiction of the Protocol in Scotland) and to cooperate with any investigations.

The question of whether the Concerns procedure or the Protocol applies depends on who is making the award, rather than the location of the provider.

  • The Concerns procedure applies to concerns about provision leading to an award from a higher education institution in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
  • The Protocol applies to concerns about provision leading to an award from a Scottish institution.
  • Where the provision does not lead to an award from a higher education institution in the UK, the Concerns procedure will be used.

How does the Concerns procedure affect educational oversight review?

QAA is committed to using the evidence it has about higher education providers effectively and efficiently. This includes sharing evidence among the different review processes QAA operates.

Any evidence about applicants for educational oversight which QAA accumulates as part of a Concerns procedure or Protocol investigation may be considered within the educational oversight review or RSCD review. Where this is the case, applicant institutions will be informed and given the opportunity to present additional information to the review team.

When QAA receives a submission to the Concerns procedure or the Scottish Protocol about an organisation applying for educational oversight of RSCD whose review visit is within the following nine months, we will normally investigate that application as part of the review rather than conducting a separate investigation.