The ENQA agency review is initiated by a review request letter from an agency that wants to apply for or renew ENQA membership. The letter should specify:
- An approximate time when the self-assessment report will be ready
- The month when the agency wishes the site visit to take place;
- If the agency is applying for registration on EQAR.
ENQA may also accept requests for reviews against the ESG for purposes other than membership (including reviews of agencies outside the EHEA).
Please contact the ENQA Secretariat to initiate the review process about 14 months before the expected completion of the review process (and about 10 months before the expected date of the site visit).
ENQA and the agency agree on the contract and terms of reference of the review, including the activities to be subjected to the review as well as the overall timeline. For agencies using the same review report to apply for EQAR listing, a tripartite terms of reference between the three organisations will be used (see here for more information about applying for EQAR listing).
The first main stage of the review process is the production of an analytical self-assessment report (SAR) by the agency under review. A guide of content is provided in the Guidelines for ENQA Agency Reviews (see section 4.1). In the case of a second or subsequent review, the SAR should also refer to the recommendations from previous reviews, underlining the related developments and highlight other changes in the agency since the last review.
Once the SAR is submitted to ENQA, the review coordinator will screen the report to check that it covers all the necessary elements. If needed, the agency will be given two weeks to revise the report. The final SAR is sent to the review panel at least six weeks before the site visit and is published on the agency’s and ENQA’s website.
The external review is conducted by a panel consisting of a review chair, review secretary and two (exceptionally three) more panel members. The task of the review panel is to evaluate the agency’s activities and provide their view on whether it is acting in compliance with the ESG. This is done by thorough assessment of the SAR and additional material such as the website and requested documents, and a site visit to the agency. The visit is usually conducted in person and lasts 2.5 days (an online site visit is possible in cases of force majeure). The first draft of the site visit schedule is proposed by the review secretary and is then finalised in consultation with the agency one month before the visit.
The purpose of the site visit is to verify and expand on the information provided in the SAR It is also an opportunity for the agency to discuss its activities and development. The site visit will include interviews with the agency’s management, staff and key internal and external stakeholders.
The panel drafts an external review report, which includes evidence and analysis regarding the agency’s compliance with the ESG. For each standard, the report will provide a judgement of compliant, partially compliant or non-compliant. The report will also include recommendations, commendations and suggestions for further development.
The agency is given two weeks to review the draft report for factual corrections and then it is scrutinised by the ENQA Agency Review Committee for clarity and consistency. The review report is considered to be final once validated by the Committee. The report and statement from the Committee will be published on ENQA’s website. The agency can then use the external review report to apply for ENQA membership or EQAR listing.
Further information about applying for ENQA membership is available here.
The follow-up of the review supports the agency in a continuous reflection and development of its work. Agencies are required to submit a follow-up report within two years after the validation of the final external review report. The report should demonstrate how it has addressed the recommendations made in the review report and explain any further significant changes or developments in the agency.
ENQA also offers the option of a progress visit to the agency, usually conducted by two reviewers from the original review panel. This normally takes place two to three years after the verification of the final external review report (and after submission of the follow-up report) and aims to generate a stronger, enhancement-oriented dialogue, in order to go beyond the compliance-focused review site visit.