ENQA Agency Reviews
ENQA Agency Reviews are designed to meet the expectations of both the ENQA Board, for membership applications, and of EQAR, for the purpose of registration. In addition, ENQA Agency Reviews may be used for other purposes where an agency needs to formally demonstrate its compliance with the ESG, such as in different national contexts. The ENQA Agency Reviews is thus a process to stimulate trust in quality assurance and quality of higher education internationally and to support and add to the legitimacy of the agency at the national level (where relevant).
The ESG form the basic framework for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and serve as the reference tool for the ENQA Agency Reviews. The model and performance of the ENQA Agency Reviews are, as far as possible, prescribed by the standards in Part 2 of the ESG, i.e. the standards describing how an agency should organise its external quality assurance activities. External reviews may have serious consequences for agencies, not only in terms of granting access to membership of ENQA and inclusion in EQAR, but also in terms of indirect judgments on credibility, quality, and other predications of entire external review systems, or even the higher education system of a country or region. Thus, the ENQA Agency Review process aims at being consistent and trusted, with a constant attention to the quality assurance and improvement of the method itself.
The Guidelines for ENQA Agency Reviews are intended to support all individuals and entities involved in the review process and, most importantly, the agencies under review and the external reviewers. The old version of the Guidelines for external reviews of quality assurance agencies in the EHEA is still available here.
The protocol for online site visits of ENQA Agency Reviews provides guidance to introducing the online site visits due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the protocol is used for any other situation of force majeure that make a physical site visit impossible at a short notice.
Decision making process
The Board of ENQA takes the decision on membership based on the evaluation and recommendations given in the final external review report. The Board plays a double role when discussing an ENQA Agency Review Report. As the supervisory body of the ENQA Agency Reviews coordinator (i.e. of the ENQA Secretariat), it approves of the reports. This is part of the review process and its internal quality assurance. Secondly, as the decision-making body for ENQA membership, the Board assesses the ESG compliance of the applicant agencies and takes membership decisions based on a review report. The two steps are in most cases combined, but can exist also separately (in cases when an agency review for ENQA membership is coordinated by another organisation, or when an agency under review does not request for membership decision).
Changes in the Guidelines for ENQA Agency Reviews as of 6 December 2017
On 6 December 2017, the ENQA Board took a decision to amend one aspect of the Guidelines for ENQA Agency Reviews: once the review panels have finalised the external review report, the review secretary will send it to the agency under review for comments relating to factual errors and grave misunderstandings with the judgments on compliance in place for each standard of the ESG Parts 2 and 3 (they were previously omitted).
The following supplementary materials are available:
- Code of Conduct
- Protocol for external observers
- Use and Interpretation of the ESG for the European Register of Quality Assurance Agencies
- External Review Report template (word file)
- CV template for reviewers (word file)
For review committees
The cost of an ENQA-coordinated review, including the fees and expenses of a four-member review team, is approximately 30,000 EUR (36,300 EUR including VAT).