In Scotland institutions carry out internal reviews themselves at subject or programme levels. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) provides guidance for institutions.

Each institution decides on the nature of these institution-led reviews but some of the features are the same across the sector. This includes the use of trained reviewers and the involvement of external review panel members.

QAA manage external reviews of institutions through the Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) process. Part of that process is to examine how comprehensive and robust an institution's subject review processes are.

The aim of this Focus On project was to support institutions in the following areas:

  • engaging students in ILR
  • optimising the links between annual monitoring and ILR
  • aligning Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) and ILR requirements
  • consideration of the unit of review
  • the use of data to support ILR
  • conducting thematic reviews
  • review of postgraduate provision.


We have also published an ELIR Thematic report on ILR and a summary of current practice in the Scottish sector.

Approaches to Institution-led Review: Thematic Report on ELIR Reports 2012-16

Publication Date: 04 Sep 2017

This report identifies material relating to approaches to institution-led review (ILR) contained within the ELIR reports for all 18 Scottish higher education institutions reviewed in the ELIR 3 cycle (2013-16). The institutions included in this report are: the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Conservatoire); Queen Margaret University (QMU); University of Aberdeen; University of Dundee; University of Strathclyde; University of Glasgow; Scotland's Rural College (SRUC); Glasgow School of Art (GSA); University of the West of Scotland (UWS); Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU); Heriot-Watt University; University of St Andrews; Edinburgh Napier University; University of Stirling; University of Edinburgh; University of Abertay, Dundee, The Robert Gordon University; and the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 481 KB

Approaches to Institution-Led Review (ILR): Current practice in the Scottish sector

Publication Date: 19 Apr 2018

A summary report on the findings and approaches of 18 higher education institutions in Scotland on their current policy and practice around ILR. This work was complete as part of the Focus On: Institution-led Review project.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 943 KB


We ran an event in January 2017 to enable institutions to share good practice on topics relating to ILR. Materials from this event can be found below.​​​

Further information

Focus On: Institution-led Review (ILR) Leaflet

Publication Date: 19 Apr 2018

This leaflet is a summary of the strands and work complete during the Focus On: Institution-led Review project. The strands selected for the Focus On projects arise from Enhancement-led Institutional Reviews (ELIR).

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 1570 KB

Want to know more?

If you would like further information or would like to join the Focus On mailing list, please email QAA Scotland.

Related Resources

Institution-led Review (ILR) dialogue sheet

Publication Date: 19 Apr 2018

This dialogue sheet was developed for the Focus On ILR event held on 19 January 2017. During this event Institutional teams used this document to undertake an exercise exploring how to enhance their ILR approaches.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 144 KB