"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 group of professionals. PSRBs engage with the higher education sector through the approval, recognition and accreditation of HE programmes. They provide membership services and promote the interests of people working in professions. They accredit or endorse programmes and courses that meet professional standards, provide a route through to the professions, or are recognised by employers. PSRBs set standards for, and regulate standards of, entry into their particular professions and often participate in quality assurance activities." (QAA, December 2018)
It is therefore important to take PSRB requirements into account when designing new, and amending existing, courses and modules, because they ensure that courses meet the professional standards and quality required for students to gain the knowledge and skills they need for their future careers.
PSRB accreditation, approval or recognition
Students may make decisions on whether to take a course on the basis of links with a PSRB, so it should be made clear in any published information to students what the status of accreditation is, what accreditation is possible, and what students need to achieve to gain accreditation (including whether this is automatic or whether students need to apply separately). Where an application has been made for accreditation, but this has not yet been confirmed, this should be clear in the information prospective and current students are provided with.
Methods and the frequency of accreditation (of any type) vary. Departments should ensure that clear information is provided on the PSRB requirements for accreditation when asking for approval of new and amended courses.
Information on accreditation is published in programme specifications, in Course Finder, and in the prospectus. It’s also collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) who share the information with public authorities who require it to carry out their statutory and/or public functions. The information is also published on Discover Uni, the official website that holds data on undergraduate courses at universities.
It’s therefore essential for information on links with PSRBs to be clear and accurate.
Responsibility for PSRB information and links
Responsibility for maintaining links with PSRBs rests with the departments.
Departments are responsible for the areas listed below to ensure the information we hold and publish is accurate. Heads of Department and Department Managers should allocate these tasks to a specific member or members of staff the department.
Maintain contact and links with the PSRBs that accredit, approve or recognise their courses.
- Submit applications for PSRB accreditation (of any type).
- Liaise with PSRBs over requirements, and provide information about these requirements when requesting approval of new or amended courses and modules.
- Maintain records of PSRB accreditation (of any type), including information about the dates and frequency of review or re-accreditation.
- Ensure that the University’s records and published information is accurate and up-to-date. Departments will be asked to actively review and confirm all course accreditations annually via Curriculum Update. Departments should also periodically review the information held in ESIS and the centralised accreditation Box folders (and any other published information) to ensure it is accurate. Please contact the Quality and Academic Development Team (QUAD) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for access to your Departmental accreditation Box folder.
- Check that PSRB webpages (or other forms of published information) are accurate. Departments should ensure information on ESIS and information that is published on both University and PSRB webpages is consistent and accurate. Please contact Course Records (email@example.com) for information and advice on accessing your Departmental accreditation records on ESIS.
- Notify QUAD in advance of when an accreditation visit or review is due. If you have any upcoming accreditation reviews or visits from PSRBs scheduled, please inform QUAD as soon as possible. A representative from QUAD and/or a Dean would be invited to observe PSRB visits and/or any meetings to confirm outcomes. This is particularly key when this coincides with a Periodic Review or course validation event, so the department and QUAD can arrange the event to meet the needs of the PSRB and the University as effectively as possible.
- Organise and manage the arrangements for visits by PSRBs.
- Send copies of schedules and key correspondence concerning accreditation visits and information about forthcoming accreditation to QUAD for reporting to the relevant Faculty Education Committee. Decisions and outcomes from accreditation reviews and reports should also be made available to QUAD as soon as they are available.
- Include the response to recommendations from PSRB accreditation processes in the Annual Review of Courses and Periodic Review processes.