External involvement in Validation and Review activity


UPR AS17 requires external involvement in the development and validation or review of programmes. External involvement is both at the programme development or review stage (often known as an interim consultant) and at the validation or review event (External Panel Member)

Principles and scope of involvement

The University's principles for external involvement in validation or review may be summarised as follows:-

A validation or review event requires a group of responsible and experienced people from inside and outside the University who collectively:

  • are able to make impartial judgments on the comparability of the programme(s), in terms of standard and content, with similar programme(s) elsewhere in higher education in the UK, and are able to consider the programme(s) in a national perspective
  • are familiar with current developments in the field of study
  • appreciate the needs of industry, commerce, public service and the professions (as appropriate)
  • have an understanding of current practice and developments in teaching, learning and assessment in higher education
  • are aware of the University’s requirements for the award.

It is expected that external involvement will normally be sought from both inside and outside the higher education sector, and may be from industry experts, employers, and PSRB representatives, for example.

External involvement will be sought at an early stage in the programme development according to the areas of identified need. For example, external advice may be sought:-

  • on the outline structure and content of a new programme of study; or
  • on a particular subject area within the new programme;
  • on issues of teaching and learning strategy;
  • on the way in which QAA benchmark statements have been taken into account;
  • on the development of programme specification(s).

External involvement including the views of employers and the professions occurs in two distinct stages:

Before the (re)validation/ periodic review event

External consultation by the programme development team before the validation/ review is the responsibility of the Chair of the programme development committee, acting with the Associate Dean of School (Academic Quality Assurance). This helps to ensure consultation with appropriate independent experts at relevant times during the development (as agreed at the planning meeting).

The comments and recommendations should be included clearly as part of the submission document.

Where it is decided to appoint an interim consultant, payment  is made by the School and the one-off taxable pay claim form is available on the HR website HR Payment Forms - Interim consultants will need to undergo right to work (RTW) checks.

At the (re)validation/ periodic review event

At the event, there will be at least one external member on the panel.  It may also be helpful to have a representative from industry or business to ensure that the curriculum has a sufficient industry or business focus. The External Panel Member is nominated by the programme team and may be advised by a member of the CAQA team if needed. All panel members are expected to submit a brief summary of key comments to the event clerk before the meeting.  These comments are circulated to the panel and the School.

Externals involved in validation activity will be offered fees and expenses. A schedule of fees is available from Academic Services.

The nature and timing of external involvement in validation or review will be agreed as part of the formal planning meeting, although further needs may become apparent during the development process.

Interim consultants as external panel members

External advisors who have been consulted during the programme development process are not precluded from acting as external panel members at the final validation event. Indeed, such externals may be particularly valuable if they have a knowledge and understanding of the issues and discussions raised in the programme development/review committee.

However, the validation event must include at least one new external panel member who has not been involved with the programme development process.

External panel members

External panel members for (re)validation/periodic review events will be found by the Development Lead and nominated by the relevant School. The potential external panel member (EPM) must be considered by the CAQA team (Deputy Director or Associate Director) and their appointment and participation will be co-ordinated by the relevant Academic Services Officer (Academic Quality).

Information regarding the requirements for external panel members and fees payable can be found on HertsHub.  Please note that fees are taxable.

All external panel members go through a two-stage approval process:

Stage 1 = academic approval (which requires a completed declaration form and CV) ,

Stage 2 = Right to Work approval (requires a copy of their passport photo page).

In both instances, it is recommended that documents are password protected before they are sent to Academic Services to comply with GDPR.

The Lead should obtain a CV from a potential external panel member which should then be sent to the relevant Academic Services Officer (AQA), who is usually the clerk to the event.  Academic Services will process the declaration form for consideration by CAQA and contact the external panel member with the outcome.  If academically approved, Academic Services will contact the external panel member for a copy of their passport photo page which will be sent to HR for a Right to Work (RTW) check. All external panel members MUST have been approved both academically and by HR, before they can work for the University.

These requirements ensure the independence of the external panel member and that we are compliant with Right to Work and GDPR.

Briefing paper

A briefing paper for external panel members of validation events is available from Academic Services. A copy of this paper will be included in the validation document given to all panel members prior to the event.