Professional Accreditation, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) and the Key Information Set (KIS)
Version 1.0 Produced 2012-03-29
Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) are a very diverse group of professional and employer bodies, regulators and those with statutory authority over a profession or group of professionals. PSRBs engage with higher education as regulators. They provide membership services and promote the interests of people working in professions; accredit or endorse courses that meet professional standards, provide a route through to the professions or are recognised by employers.
Examples of PSRBs are the General Medical Council, the Architects Registration Board, the British Association of Art Therapists, and the Institute of Physics.
Work (Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies: an exploration of their engagement with higher education) to understand PSRBs' roles and relationships with the HE sector was conducted by the Higher Education Better Regulation Group (HEBRG).
An accredited course is defined as one which is recognised by an accrediting body and may confer membership, chartered status or partial exemption. Accreditation may be 'any process of approval leading to assurance that a programme meets the standards required by a particular profession'.
Users of the KIS are encouraged to explore the exact nature of accreditation, what the accreditation/endorsement confers on prospective students, or other benefits that would accrue from studying such courses.
In research (understanding the information needs of users public information about higher education) informing the development of the KIS, students requested more information about courses that are professionally accredited and accreditation is an item of information that students considered important.
As HEBRG's report makes clear the range and scope of professional bodies extends beyond those with regulatory powers that have been established by statute, such as architects and doctors.
A number of professions have multiple PSRBs with different roles and responsibilities that may accredit, endorse and recognise individual courses. As part of this process of accurately defining the role and remit of these bodies, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) asked universities and colleges to let them know if there were any omissions from the list of accrediting bodies that was derived from the HEBRG database.
The KIS states where courses enable students to progress to the next phase of their career or require further learning and study before the student can progress.
Employers are consulted via their involvement in professional development in the professions and bodies relevant to the professions. For example, Skillset, the industry body for the UK creative industries, accredits digital media and computer games courses to ensure that qualifications being developed for use in, or progression into, the creative industries will meet the needs of employers and individuals. The Society of Biology is also developing a framework to accredit programmes that are valued by major pharmaceutical companies.
Where professions are not regulated by statute, employers will have their own recruitment policies and practices.
Any PSRBs that have changed name or merged with another organisation and kept the same overall aims and objectives will be updated as and when this happens. Other PSRBs may only be added to the list by referral from a higher education provider. Further details on PSRBs including information about the process and procedure are available on the HESA website.