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QAA demits DQB status to focus on sector and students in England

Date: July 20 - 2022

QAA has announced that it has notified the Secretary of State for Education that it will no longer consent to be the Designated Quality Body in England (DQB) after the current DQB year ends on 31 March 2023.

QAA is the UK’s independent quality body for higher education, working in each of the four nations of the UK and internationally to benefit the sector and students. It is custodian of UK-wide sector reference points including the Quality Code for Higher Education and Subject Benchmark Statements. In England, alongside its wider work for the sector (funded through membership), it has since 2018 had a separate and discrete role as the DQB, providing assessments to the Office for Students (OfS).

QAA has decided not to continue in the DQB role because the requirements made of the DQB by the current regulatory approach in England are not consistent with standard international practice for quality bodies, as reflected in the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG). QAA’s work in other nations of the UK and internationally depends on QAA’s registration on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR), which is based on compliance with the ESG. EQAR recently temporarily suspended QAA’s registration, citing areas of non-compliance in England. QAA has addressed these areas of non-compliance by announcing that it is publishing all reports of DQB reviews and including students on all DQB review teams, but believes that in the longer term it is not sustainable to meet both sets of requirements.

Vicki Stott, QAA’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We are committed to remaining EQAR registered, and so have reluctantly decided that it is no longer possible to continue as the DQB in England. We are working closely with DfE and OfS to ensure a smooth transition. We also look forward to the opportunities that will result for our other work, including enhancing our offer to our members in England and across the UK.’