Engineering Council

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

COVID-19 and PRIs:

Guidance on interruption to programme delivery:

Coronavirus and accreditation

We’re aware that many of you will be considering the impact of coronavirus on your accreditation visit schedules both within and outside the UK.

RCoP allows for a one-year extension of accreditation in exceptional circumstances.

RCoP Regulation 29: Programmes shall be accredited for a fixed period of not more than five years. Exceptionally an extension may be permitted of up to one academic year and accreditation may be back dated to allow cohorts whose work has been reviewed as part of the programme accreditation exercise to benefit from the decision. Such decisions must be fully documented, transparent and auditable. Licensed Members must place a requirement on the awarding institution to inform the accrediting institution of any major changes during the period of accreditation that affect the delivery of the specified programme outcomes. Programmes which at the time of application do not have an output cohort may be accredited, but Licensed Members shall monitor the output of such programmes and review their accreditation accordingly.

Regulation 27 also allows for waivers of visits to partner campuses for multi-site delivery, or accreditation of a new programme with significant commonality with existing accredited programmes in some circumstances.

To comply with RCoP it will be important to ensure that any decisions are carefully thought through and documented. To help with this we suggest the following:

  1. The first consideration should be postponing the visit; if postponement is not a realistic option the reasons should be recorded, then;
  2. Consider conducting a ‘remote’ assessment using video conferencing, videos and correspondence, taking account of the institution’s previous accreditation history:
    a.  If sufficient evidence is gathered award accreditation for a limited period then undertake a small-scale follow-up visit when possible.
    b.  If sufficient evidence is gathered and the locations unable to be visited are part of a partnership arrangement where the main campus is accredited,
         seek a visit exemption from the Engineering Council.
  3. If ‘remote’ assessment is not possible, relevant, appropriate or does not provide sufficient evidence as above, consider awarding a one-year extension to accreditation.

In respect of other meetings or registration-related processes that may be affected, we would also recommend maintaining a full audit trail of any variances from your normal procedures.

We would ask that you notify Engineering Council of any actions taken in respect of registration or accreditation, and we will provide a summary of these for RSC and QAC with a view to handling the current situation proportionately and sympathetically.

A University Impact Report template has been created to assist providers in submitting relevant information about adjustments, including those arising from factors other than COVID-19, that have had an impact on programmes that needs to be notified to the accrediting PEI(s).

 

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) guidance

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has published guidance related to Covid-19. This includes examples of HEI and PSRB approaches, with topics including academic standards, lab based assessment, and work based learning including apprenticeships and study abroad.

CPD Sampling Guidance

The Engineering Council has received queries and comments from the PEIs on the maintenance of competence by registrants during the closure of most workplaces, and self-quarantining, due to the recent outbreak.  During this time it is anticipated that the nature of CPD undertaken by all professionals will change.

 

  • Many forms of learning, like lectures, on-the-job workplace learning, mentoring etc will likely be interrupted during the outbreak, and in some cases not take place at all.  PEIs are encouraged to be flexible both in how they support, and monitor the CPD of their registrants.
  • PEIs have, in recent years, greatly increased their degree of digital provision and support of learning, including CPD.  Registrants should be encouraged to make the most of such resources during the outbreak.
  • It is anticipated that CPD sampling will continue during the outbreak.  Samples generally cover the past 12 months, and sampling systems are conducted online.  However, PEIs are invited to notify the Engineering Council about any extenuating circumstances that might interrupt CPD sampling.
  • There may also be instances of registrants selected as part of a sample and CPD assessors whose time may be limited due being involved in essential work e.g. NHS staff. In terms of the former, please consider exempting such individuals from the sample and, for the latter, please contact the Licensing department, licensing@engc.org.uk, in order for us to liaise with other institutions regarding the possible use of their assessors.

 

Any comments or queries not covered by this CPD guidance can be sent to bjones@engc.org.uk