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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

Survey report: How have professional bodies dealt with COVID-19?

Date: July 23 - 2020

Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs) are a diverse group of organisations that include professional bodies, regulators and those with statutory authority over a profession or a group of professionals. Accreditation of degrees by professional bodies is, in many cases, required for access to professions as an indicator that graduates are fit to practise or to give graduates an advantage in seeking employment. QAA works with these bodies as part of our service to our institutional members as we safeguard academic standards and ensure the quality and global reputation of UK higher education.

We sent out a survey to 130 PSRBs across the UK. 60 responded to us, giving insight into their policy and operational changes demanded by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the challenges they've faced around the accreditation of higher education programmes in that time and as they prepare for the next academic year.

We also conducted a desk-based review of published statements and policies from PSRB websites to support the analysis.

The findings indicated to us that programmes involving a practical element, including work placements and practical assessments, were most acutely affected by lockdown. We also found that while communication between providers and PSRBs about individual accreditation arrangements was positive, more needs to be done to share information between PSRBs about shared problems and ways to resolve them, as well as with the wider higher education sector.

While QAA's PSRB Forums offer an opportunity for dialogue between the higher education sector and PSRBs, and among PSRBs themselves, this report offers a starting point to build further constructive engagement across the broad range of professional organisations and with the higher education sector.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Accredited Programmes of Higher Education: An Analysis of Surveys of Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies is available on our website.

You can also read a blog post about this report, and the work that QAA does to facilitate discussions between higher education providers and PSRBs about quality and standards in UK higher education.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Accredited Programmes of Higher Education: An Analysis of Surveys of Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies

Publication Date: 23 Jul 2020