Collaborative provision: Academic partnerships

De Montfort University’s (DMU) key values include a commitment to work in the wider community, to promote widening participation, and to be a truly international university. The university's collaborative activity is therefore an important strand of its operation. DMU has a strong network of partnerships both in the UK and overseas, most of which have developed over a long period of time.

The university’s definition of collaborative provision is based on that used by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), ie it leads to an award or to specific credit towards an award of DMU, delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through an arrangement with a partner organisation. More specific models of collaborative provision activity are available which seek to clarify the different types of arrangements managed by DMU. The collaborative register provides full details of the university's current collaborative partnerships.

Collaborative partnerships are managed by Educational Partnerships (UK) and the Global Partnerships Unit (International). The Partnerships (Quality) team within the Department of Academic Quality (DAQ) are responsible for quality assuring standards, ensuring that partnerships are well run and mutually beneficial, and that students have the best possible experience. Quality management of the university's collaborative provision is overseen by the Academic Quality Committee (AQC). 

Educational Partnerships also manage the Validation Service which is responsible for programmes that do not sit within faculties. This may be because the university does not have provision in the same cognate area, or because the faculty(ies) concerned have decided against entering a particular partnership.

For further information regarding collaborative provision, please contact Educational Partnerships (UK) or the Global Partnerships Unit.

  1. Approving new collaborative partnerships

    Before the university can approve a programme to run at a new collaborative partner, it must formally approve the partnership. This includes checks to ensure the good standing of the prospective partner and its capability to fulfil its proposed role, as well as ascertaining compatibility between the educational objectives of the two institutions.

    Please contact the Global Partnerships Unit for overseas partnerships or Educational Partnerships (UK) for UK partnerships, at the initial enquiry stage, to discuss developing a new collaborative partnership. The process includes an initial due diligence check alongside the faculty’s submission, which is then considered by the University Leadership Board. Subject to approval, a formal approval visit to the prospective partner takes place.

    Each stage of the process involves the scrutiny of a range of supporting materials. This includes documentation supplied by the prospective partner, alongside other evidence obtained from central DMU departments and the faculty. External agencies and organisations may also provide additional documentation, where appropriate.

    Full details on the process for approving a new collaborative partnership can be found in the guide to managing collaborative provision. The guide outlines the key stages for collaborative partnership approval, from the initial enquiry, gaining approval in principle, and the partnership approval event. Separate guidance on introducing new collaborative programmes at existing partners is also included.

  2. Monitoring collaborative provision

    A range of monitoring systems and approaches are in place across De Montfort University (DMU), to ensure standards are appropriate and comparable. To maintain parity, the same processes are used for monitoring both standard DMU and collaborative provision. However due to the higher risks presented, greater central oversight is maintained for collaborative provision.

    The day-to-day management of collaborative programmes and monitoring of standards is devolved to faculties, in line with standard in-house provision. Non-faculty based programmes are overseen by the Validation Service which sits under the Educational Partnerships, within the Registry Services directorate.

    Key dates and timescales for activities and processes for the management of collaborative provision are identified in the annual calendar of quality monitoring activities. Further detail about the processes is available in Section 2 in the guide to managing collaborative provision.

    All forms, templates and prompts relating to collaborative provision are listed in section 6 in the guide to managing collaborative provision, and they can be found in the guidance and forms section below.

  3. Collaborative review of partnerships and programmes

    All UK and overseas collaborative partnerships undergo regular reviews to ensure arrangements continue to operate satisfactorily. As well as identifying issues which may have arisen that need addressing, collaborative review also focuses on areas for enhancement and good practice.

    New collaborative partnerships will normally be reviewed after 3 years of operation. Following the first review, further reviews usually occur at 5-yearly intervals, reconfirming approval of the partnership and programmes.

    The nature of the collaborative arrangements will influence the extent and focus of the review process. It is intended to be a two-way process, offering both the university and the collaborative partner an opportunity to discuss the partnership and identify areas that may require further attention. The emphasis of the review is on self-critical evaluation leading to the overall enhancement of the quality of provision, and on dialogue between all those involved.

    The guide to managing collaborative provision provides further information to support collaborative review, including timing and organisation, documentation, the pre-meeting, the review visit, and the role of periodic review. Additional guidance and support to partner institutions undergoing the review process is provided.

    Please contact the Partnerships (Quality) team within the Department of Academic Quality with any queries relating to collaborative review.

  4. Validation Service

    Validation Service is a framework which governs collaborative partnerships that do not form part of faculty academic provision, but are delivered and assessed in UK collaborating institutions. This model may be adopted where the university does not have provision in the same cognate area, or where there is related provision but the faculty(ies) concerned do not wish to collaborate but the university is still willing to validate.

    The Educational Partnerships team has responsibility for overseeing effective operation of the validated provision. Validation and review, including quality assurance and enhancement, is overseen by the Department of Academic Quality in conjunction with Educational Partnerships.

    There are a range of guides available for those involved in the development or management of Validation Service provision.

    For further guidance on Validation Service, please contact Educational Partnerships at Please also refer to section 6 of the Guide to Managing Collaborative Provision.

  5. Roles and responsibilities

    DMU programme leaders and link tutors and partner institution co-ordinators have clearly defined responsibilities in managing collaborative provision, encompassing academic leadership, programme management, assessment, and liaison.

    The DMU programme leader retains oversight of quality and responsibility for the verification of standards. Other duties and responsibilities may be devolved to the partner institution programme co-ordinator. The Programme Management Board (PMB) or equivalent shall determine the extent to which responsibilities are devolved, depending upon the nature of the collaborative arrangement.

    Additional guidelines on cross-site moderation are also available for staff involved in the assessment of cross-institution modules, such as DMU module leaders and collaborative partner staff. These guidelines cover setting assignments, cross-site internal moderation, sampling, and external moderation.

    Guidance on how faculty and university-level committees are responsible for the planning and quality assurance of collaborative provision can be found within the guide to managing collaborative provision. These activities are represented in an annual quality monitoring calendar which provides an overview of the key tasks that must be undertaken each year in consultation with the partner, detailing who is responsible for each aspect.

  6. Guidance and forms

    The Guide to Managing Collaborative Provision is the primary tool for colleagues involved in the quality management of collaborative partnerships.

    All forms, templates and prompts relating to collaborative provision are listed in Section 7 of the guide. These documents are also provided below for easy reference.



    Link tutors










    Validation Service