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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Institutional Audit (England and Northern Ireland) 

Institutional Audit was the review process for higher education institutions in England and Northern Ireland until September 2011 when it was replaced by the Institutional Review method. 

Institutional Audits are carried out by a team of academics who review the institution's quality and standards, using their knowledge of higher education and reference points in the Academic Infrastructure. After each audit, QAA publishes a report on the audit team's findings.

Institutional Audit forms part of the Quality Assurance Framework established in 2002 following revisions to the UK's approach to external quality assurance. At the centre of the process is an emphasis on students and their learning. QAA has developed a handbook for institutions to set out the audit process:

Handbook for Institutional Audit: England and Northern Ireland 2009 (PDF)

The handbook was first published in 2006 and was revised in September 2009 after consultation with the higher education sector regarding:

  • the introduction of an approach to the audit of collaborative provision (which may be undertaken, as appropriate: within a normal Institutional Audit; by means of a 'hybrid' Institutional Audit; or as a separate Collaborative Provision Audit)
  • the inclusion of student members on audit teams.

Full details of this consultation, which closed on 1 March 2009, can be found in the archive section below.

Other relevant documents

The following publications are available for reference.  Please note that they no longer relate to a current review method.

Mid-cycle follow-up guidance notes
Frequently asked questions about mid-cycle follow-up
Procedures on representations for institutions receiving a no confidence' judgement
Our service standards for Institutional Audit
Audit briefing event presentation
Mini guide: A brief student guide to Institutional Audit (PDF)
Institutional Audit:  guide for student representatives (PDF)
Institutional Audit training for student representatives 2010-11

Short films

Introduction to audit by Alison Blackburn

Top tips for students; What to do afterwardsThe importance of the student written submission.

To find out more about our approach to student engagement, please see the students section.

Outcomes from Institutional Audit

As part of our enhancement work, we publish Outcomes from Institutional Audit papers based on particular themes which draw on findings in Institutional Audit reports. Two series have so far been published: the first covering 70 audits undertaken in England and Northern Ireland between 2002 and 2004 and the second covering 59 audits undertaken between December 2004 and August 2006.

Archive documents

All documentation relating to the development of Institutional Audit.

Institutional audit: a guide for student representatives (2004)

This website is archived by the British Library's UK Web Archive: preserving UK websites