Partnership Approval

Partnership Approval

Partnership Approval Introduction and overview

The University is responsible for the standards of all provision offered in its name and also is ultimately responsible for the quality of the student learning experience provided under collaborative arrangements.  These arrangements closely follow the QAA Quality Code for Higher Education, Chapter B10.  The Partnership Approval Process therefore seeks to establish that the academic standards and quality of the student learning experience provided by the prospective partner are likely to meet the requirements of, and be comparable to, the standards and quality of programmes at UW.  The main purpose of the partner approval process is to ascertain the viability and suitability of the proposed institutional collaboration.  It is distinct from the approval of specific programme arrangements; the processes for which fall under the University's Course Planning and Approval process.

Partnership Approval Process

The process for the initiation, development and formal approval of a new collaborative partnership is typically managed in the first instance by the lead academic Institute at the University, in liaison with the Director of Regional Engagement and the Head of Collaborative Programmes as appropriate. The first stage is to complete a Preliminary Enquiries form which presents the outcomes from initial due diligence enquiries to the University Executive and seeks permission to proceed in principle with the partnership approval process.

Once permission to proceed in principle has been secured, the remaining stages of approval based on detailed due diligence are managed by the Academic Quality Unit and overseen by a Senior Quality Officer (Collaborative). At an early point in the development of any new academic partnership the prospective partner and the relevant UW Institute will each be expected to identify a key contact to lead on the initiative.         For further information please refer to the full Partnership Approval Process and the Partnership Approval Process Flow-chart. It will be expected that the partner organisation will complete a due diligence form in order to inform the process of partnership approval. For advice please contact the Academic Quality Officer (Collaborative).


In selecting and approving a new partner, the University will endeavour to ensure that procedures are followed with appropriate flexibility and rigour, commensurate with the level of risk involved, given the status of the partner and the nature of the partnership.  For instance, partnership arrangements comprising only articulation agreements are normally managed less intensively than those involving full delivery of a UW award. 


Changing site of delivery

In cases where a previously approved collaborative course or module is proposed to be taught at a new venue, a site/resources check should be carried out by the relevant Institute.

The site/resources report is considered for approval by IQC. IQC then notify AQU of all venue approvals in order to inform the updating of the course agreement. 


The process for approving a new partnership from initial discussions, through assessment of the suitability of the partner, the partner approval process and the course approval process, normally takes at least a full calendar year (although partnerships which do not involve course delivery by a partner organisation may be approved in a shorter time period).

The partnership approval process is normally completed before the approval of the programme collaboration.  However the later stages of the processes may run concurrently, and there may be occasions for particular types of collaboration, such as progression agreements, off-site delivery and the accreditation of a small volume of provision (generally up to and including 30 credits) where partnership and course approval processes may be combined.  In all cases, no collaborative arrangement can be put into operation until formal agreements relating to both the partnership and programme have been signed by all parties.

All partnerships are subject to UW’s Partnership Review Process on a quinquennial basis.

Supporting material

Partnership Approval Process - updated February 2013
Flow Chart for Partnership Approval Process
Preliminary Enquiries Form 
Due Diligence Form and Checklist (form for completion by Partner Organisation)
Information on resources (form for completion by ILS) 
Criteria for approval of partner organisations
Institutional report template (Partnership Approval)