Institution-led Review

Institution-led Review (ILR) is one of the five pillars of the university sector's Quality Enhancement Framework. The idea of ILR is that, besides external review, universities should be responsible for managing their own periodic internal reviews - such as for subject areas, support services or cross-institutional themes.  

This guidance, and the wider process of Institution-led Review, will of course be updated in line with the development of a tertiary approach to quality, as proposed in the 2021 SFC Review.   In the interim, ILRs should continune - the SFC guidance to colleges and universities on quality for AY 2022-23 and AY 2023-24 states that it is vital that ILRs continue to produce robust, comprehensive and credible evidence that the academic standards of awards are secure and that provision in Scottish institutions is of high quality and being enhanced. ILR should be designed to promote and support critical reflection on policy and practice. The method used should ensure that any shortcomings are addressed, and it should give a central role to quality enhancement by promoting dialogue on areas in which quality could be improved and identify good practice for dissemination within the institution and beyond.


sparqs has provided support and guidance for two aspects of student engagement in ILR.

Firstly, we published guidance in May 2016 on Engaging students in Institution-led Review, developed in conjunction with Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art and IT Services Department.  A two-page executive summary is also available.  It was designed to support staff and students to work together before, during and after reviews of academic departments, service areas and cross-institutional themes. This guidance informed, and was launched as part of, QAA Scotland's Focus On project on ILR.

Secondly, we have generic, adaptable training materials that universities and students’ associations can use for student members of ILR panels.

Generic workbook - Word | pdf
Generic presentation - PowerPoint | pdf
Generic tutor notes - Word | pdf
Guidance on roleplay characters - Word | pdf

Our work and resources in this area will also be informed by the move to a tertiary approach to quality, and sparqs continues to support students and staff in conversations about what partnership in internal review should look like.

For more information on this area of work, please contact Megan Brown.

Student Engagement Framework

That's Quality! Colleges

15 Jul 2024

This event is a three-part package, as detailed below. ~ Part 1:  half-day college online event - Monday…


That's Quality! Universities

15 Jul 2024

This event is a three-part package, as detailed below. ~ Part 1:  half-day university online event - Monday…