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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Enhancement-led Institutional Review consultation launched

Date 20/10/2016

​Consultation has opened on the next iteration of the Scottish sector’s Enhancement-led Institutional​ Review method. 

This consultation​ comes as a result of Scottish Funding Council’s (SFC) planned review of the Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF). A formal consultation, events and continuing discussions across the sector have confirmed a strong commitment to Scotland’s enhancement-led ethos. 

Wider changes in the quality landscape in the UK have encouraged fur​ther reflection and questioning. However, Scotland has remained committed to external cyclical review as a fundamental element within its overall approach. External review is valued as enabling holistic reflection on approaches and progress to quality and enhancement, tested through peer review.  Continuing external review enables the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to meet its statutory duty and for Scotland to meet the expectations of the European Standards and Guidelines that apply across the European Higher Education Area. Successful outcomes from external review now also enable institutions in Scotland to be eligible for assessment under the Teaching Excellence Framework.

Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) is now widely recognised almost as a brand and given the continuing commitment to enhancement we are not proposing changing the name of the method.  ELIR has evolved with each cycle and will do again. Both continuity and change are important. Continuity provides stability in managing strategic planning of quality enhancement, evolution ensures that the approach remains relevant and valuable.

The consultation raises a series of questions on which we invite sector feedback in order to finalise the method for ELIR4. In developing the proposals we have been aided by an advisory group of experienced senior staff, academic and student reviewers as well as engagement with SFC officers and discussion at the University Quality Working Group. We have been mindful of developments across the UK and of the need to ensure the benefit and demands of external review are proportionate.

The consultation runs until 1 November 2016 and is open to individuals with relevant responsibilities.

The next steps, following the close of the consultation, will be for QAA Scotland, in consultation with SFC and the advisory group, to finalise proposals in light of feedback. We will then produce a draft Handbook, on which we will engage openly with the Scottish sector. The aim is to publish the finalised Handbook around Easter 2017.