Criteria and Official Documents¶
This section provides an overview of the official documents that govern the management of the Register and the Register Committee's work.
The EQAR Statutes stipulate that substantial compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) is the criterion for inclusion on the Register (see Article 20). The Statutes further provide that the Register Committee decides on inclusion on the Register, and entrust the Committee with elaborating Procedures for Applications to regulate all further details.
Based on the Statutes, the Procedures for Applications reaffirm that substantial compliance with the ESG serves as criterion for inlcusion on the Register:
2. Criteria for inclusion
2.1 To be included in the Register, applicants need to substantially comply with the ESG in all eligible activities (see §1.3). Compliance shall be demonstrated through an external review of the applicant (in accordance with §1.6 – 1.18).
2.2 Parts 2 (2.1 – 2.7) and 3 (3.1 – 3.7) of the ESG shall be directly relevant for inclusion on the Register, whereas ESG 2.1 includes consideration of how Part 1 of the ESG is addressed.
The ESG are structured in three parts, covering (1) internal (institutional) quality assurance, (2) external quality assurance of higher education and (3) external quality assurance agencies. Parts 2 and 3 are directly relevant for inclusion on EQAR, whereas part 1 is relevant indirectly through reference to it in standard 2.1.
Procedures for Applications¶
The Procedures for Applications outline the application process in detail and stipulate requirements for external reviews.
The first version of the Procedures were adopted by the Register Committee in consultation with the General Assembly in 2008. The Procedures for Applications were revised in 2012 (following four years of practice and the external evaluation of EQAR) and in 2015 (in connection with the transition to the ESG 2015).
Relevant parts of the Procedures are quoted in the following sections.
Applicants can file an appeal against decisions of the Register Committee on procedural grounds or in the case of perversity of judgement. The official rules are specified in the Appeals Procedure.
Policy on the Use and Interpretation of the ESG¶
2.4 The Register Committee shall adopt a policy on the Use and Interpretation of the ESG for the European Register of quality assurance agencies.
In relation to the transition to the ESG 2015, the Register Committee adopted a new document providing an ex-ante transparency of the official EQAR interpretation of the ESG. The Policy on the Use and Interpretations of the ESG replaced the “Practices and Interpretations” and aims to increase transparency, understanding and consistency within the decision-making process of the Register Committee. The main target groups of the policy are the quality assurance agencies, the external review coordinators and the external review panels.
2.5 The Register Committee may adopt further policies to specify its understanding and application of the ESG and these Procedures in specific cases or circumstances.
2.6 All policies shall be published. The General Assembly shall be notified of any policies adopted.
To date, the following policies exist:
The Merger Policy addresses situations in which registered agencies are merged with other agencies or organisations.
The Complaints Policy sets out how third-party concerns about registered agencies are handled.
Guide for Applicants¶
The EQAR Guide for Applicants is produced by the Secretariat as an additional resource for applicant QA agencies. The Guide summarises all provisions of the Procedures for Applications in plain, non-legal language. The Guide is an explanatory document. Only the Procedures for Applications are binding in the Register Committee’s decision making.
Applicants are invited to complete a feedback questionnaire on the Guide after their application, and the Guide is revised as necessary based on the feedback received.