Monitoring and Review of Collaborative Provision Partnerships

Annual monitoring in collaborative provision follows the basic principles adopted in the University's internal annual monitoring processes and utilises a number of mechanisms to ensure effective strategic and operational oversight, as defined below.

Annual Monitoring

The University adopts an annual approach to partnership monitoring and review. All collaborative provision partners are required to undertake an Annual Partnership Review during July - October, reflecting on the recently completed academic year. In their report, partners will be asked to comment on programme delivery, the student experience, operational issues affecting the partnership and areas of effective practice. The reporting template and relevant data will be sent to the partner in July each year by the Collaborative Provision Officer, with the expectation that the partner completes the report by October.  

The guiding principles for the Annual Partnership Review process are as follows:

  • to review the student learning experience in order to provide an assurance to the University that the programme delivered at/by the partner meets sector-recognised standards;
  • to identify and reflect on any concerns arising from external examiner reports, student, staff and stakeholder feedback, and quantitative data on areas such as entry criteria, academic attainment and student retention;
  • to assess the overall performance of the partnership with regards to recruitment, student achievement, staff resource and development, and that the partnership continues to meet its original aims, identifying any causes for concern and using the review to drive forward improvements where required.

The relevant Keele School will be asked to consider the Annual Partnership Review report and feed any actions arising for the School from the report into their School Action Plan, which should be updated following the Annual Programme Review meetings for all ‘home’ provision. The Head of School, with input from the link tutor, will also be asked to provide a coversheet to the partner’s report highlighting their own assessment of the state of the partnership and key points for a strategic and risk analysis of the partnership. This coversheet, alongside the Annual Partnership Review completed by the partner, will be submitted to CAP between October - December each year. The Collaborative Provision Officer will provide the Head of School with a coversheet submission template.

Annual Strategic Performance Review

Faculties are required to complete an annual Strategic Performance Review of all approved collaborative provision partnerships on an annual basis which focuses on key metrics and updated business case information. Between September and December, each Faculty with active collaborative provision partnerships will be required to undertake a Strategic Performance Review, providing an analysis of the continued strategic benefits and risks of the partnership. A summary of the Strategic Performance Reviews will be considered by UEC in February of each calendar year, with the full reviews submitted to CAP for consideration. 

External Examiners

External Examiners will also carry out a monitoring role, assuring academic quality and standards of Keele awards. External Examining procedures for programmes offered under collaborative provision should be equivalent to those used by the University for its internal programmes as set out in the Code of Practice on External Examining. Any specific procedures, powers and responsibilities of the external examiners should be specified in the Operational Handbook for each partnership.

Periodic Review

All collaborative partnerships are subject to a periodic review, which is normally aligned with the expiration of the legal agreement. At the start of each academic year, the Collaborative Provision Officer will establish whether an existing agreement is due to expire in the proceeding calendar year ahead. The Faculty and School will be asked at this point to establish whether a partnership should be renewed and on what terms the renewal should proceed.

An initial periodic review will normally take place after 5 years of the partnership starting, depending on the length of the legal agreement. The process is flexible and each review will be designed based on a risk-based approach. The process will be organised in an appropriate way which recognises the complexity of the partnership and the nature and scale of the provision.

As part of this event, Schools will be asked to complete the Periodic Partner and Partnership Review Form, which will provide the panel with the School’s analysis of the partnership being reviewed. The final decision on the format and scale of the review event will rest with the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct.

Regardless of how the review is conducted, in order for an existing collaborative partnership to be renewed, the University must be satisfied that:

  • the partnership remains aligned with the University's strategic aims, academic strategy and portfolio;
  • the partnership continues to command the support of senior managers in the University and from the partner organisation;
  • the academic, financial and legal status of the partner is still appropriate and sustainable;
  • the programme will continue to meet the appropriate academic standards and offer students the learning opportunities necessary to achieve them;
  • the arrangements for the partnership will continue to enable the University to discharge its responsibilities for the academic standards of awards and the quality of the student learning experience;
  • student attainment is broadly in line with expectations;
  • where there are requirements in relation to PSRB recognition or in-country approvals, these will continue to be met;
  • a new Business Case can demonstrate that the partnership is financially sustainable; 
  • the ongoing legal, financial and organisational stability of an existing partner and the regulatory environment in which it operates can be assured. 

Expanding Provision

In some cases a Faculty may wish to expand the portfolio of programmes covered under an existing collaborative provision partnership, with the aim of introducing new provision, either within the same subject area or within an entirely different one. As such, expansion of an existing partnership agreement may be led by the Faculty currently in partnership or by another Faculty.

A Partnership Expansion Proposal Form should be completed by the proposing Faculty and submitted to the Collaborative Provision Officer, alongside a renewed Business Case. Should it be deemed necessary to undertake additional due diligence work, this will be reviewed by the Collaborative Provision Officer and the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct and a decision communicated back to the Faculty as to what due diligence is required. The form, once complete, should be signed off by the proposing Faculty Executive Dean. The Collaborative Provision Officer will review the information with the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct and circulate the form to relevant Professional Services Departments where necessary prior to submitting the Partnership Expansion Proposal Form and Business Case first to CAP for consideration before submission to UEC for approval. 

Following approval, the Collaborative Provision Officer will work with the Project Assurance Team and/or the Head of Legal & Information Compliance/an external legal organisation to amend the existing contract.