Reference Document for Quality Assurance
The Quality Assurance Commission offers audits of the QMS of higher education and professional education providers. QAC recognises that education providers apply a variety of quality managements systems in the provision of the programmes of study, and QAC takes a specific approach to the settings of each provision affirming the compliance of standards and quality with United Kingdom QMS standards applicable to the provision of open and distance and e-learning programmes:
(iv) Selling and Student Recruitment.
(vi) Collaborative Provision
PRINCIPLES: Principle of Preparation. Principle of Contact. Principle of Exchange. Principle of Confidentiality. Principle of Use. Principle of Legality. Principle of Completion.
Principle of Understanding and Agreement.
OPEN & DISTANCE LEARNING: Learning services. Determining learning needs. Design of the learning services. Provision of learning services. Monitoring the delivery of the learning services. Evaluation carried out by learning service providers.
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Management of the learning service provider. General management requirements. Strategy and business management. Management review. Preventive actions and corrective actions. Financial management and risk management. Human resources management. Communication management (internal/external). Allocation of resources. Internal audits. Feedback from interested parties. Business plan content. Information for management system reviews. Preventive actions and corrective actions.
QAC also encourages higher education providers to initiate an auto-evaluation of the QMS and apply to QAC for an audit and certification.
The standards applied include BS ISO 9001:2008, BS ISO 29990, EFQM Excellence Model, ENQA, EQUIS, EQUAL, ODLQC et.al. quality standards.
The QAC conducts an evaluation of the QMS Handbook and the Auto-Evaluation Report submitted by the applicant.
The Process of QMS Certification:
Application: Submit the Application for QMS Certification along with the Auto-Evaluation Report and the required documentation.
Eligibility: The QAC will conduct a review to verify that the application is complete and confirm the eligibility of the QMS for Certification.
Certification Fee: The institution pays the Certification Fee.
Certification Process: The QAC will distribute the application for QMS Certification and attached documents to the peer auditor members of the Commission for the evaluation of how each standard is addressed by the applicant QMS. The members of the Commission have to review the application and jointly issue the initial QMS certification report.
Notification: The QAC will communicate the results of the initial QMS certification report to the applicant institution.
Interview or site visit: If deemed necessary, the Peer-Auditors may require an on-site audit including an interview with the appointed representative of the applicant educational institution, faculty and staff, as well as students, and arrange an inspection visit by a peer auditor of the commission. This site inspection is usually scheduled if the material provided by the applicant is inappropriate for a clear judgment, or for on-site investigation about specific standards. The interview or inspection audit objectives, schedule and budget will be settled in advance by the QAC in consultation with the applicant. Usually a one to three day interview or inspection visit will be enough to resolve any concerns. The travel costs and expenses related to the audit and inspection visit will be paid by the applicant institution in advance.
QMS Certification: The Peer-Auditor will communicate the results of the audit and any recommendations with the other commissioners of QAC. The Commission will review the audit report to resolve any discrepancies that may have occurred during the standards benchmarking. The final outcome of the QMS audit is communicated with the applicant. QAC will inform the applicant of the conclusions of the QMS audit report and will provide suggestions, if applicable. In case that certification is awarded, QAC will issue and send the corresponding QMS certificate. Certification is usually valid four years, during which the accredited institution has to submit an annual Auto Evaluation Report.
Annual Fee: The accredited institution has to pay the annual fee to QAC.
Re-Accreditation: Re-Accreditation is due during the fourth year for another period of four years.
Application for Certification
The Quality Assurance Commission will not initiate any QMS certification process without the QAC application form properly returned. The Quality Assurance Commission has designed an application form for QMS certification that guides the applicant institution in the conduct of the Self Study Report as well as the required documentary evidence. The application is a legally binding agreement between QAC and the applicant institution stating the rights and obligations of both parties. The applicant may download and print this application for certification, then fill it out and return it out to QAC.