Review of partnerships outside Australia instruction

Instruction statement

This Instruction applies to RMIT reviews of partnerships outside Australia conducted in accordance with the Quality policy and Conduct of reviews procedure.



Instruction steps and actions

1. Review establishment

Reviews will be established by the Vice-Chancellor in accordance with the Conduct of Reviews Procedure. Quality and Reviews will initiate the review process and conduct preliminary briefings about the process for the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and College Pro Vice-Chancellors and Heads of School involved in the partnership activity. Other portfolios will be included where relevant to their activities.

1.1. Review Panel Composition

Reviews will be conducted by a Panel, normally of four members, comprising:

  • one or more senior staff members from the Colleges or Portfolios, including at least one senior academic staff member, with experience or expertise appropriate to the focus of the Review
  • a senior staff member nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice-President, and/or in the case of reviews of research activities, a senior staff member nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and Vice-President.

Panel members should not be directly involved with the operation of the partnership being reviewed.

1.2. Terms of reference

Reviews will review activity and make recommendations to address the following terms of reference:

1. The contribution of the partnership to RMIT’s strategic directions.

2. The performance of the partnership and related activities against RMIT plans, including competitive positioning, efficiency and effectiveness, and sustainability.

3. Academic quality and standards of partnership activities and outcomes, and the effectiveness of quality assurance and continuous improvement processes.

4. The effectiveness of governance and management arrangements, and the partnership contract.

5. The adequacy of facilities and resources, having regard to planned growth

6. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and RMIT policies and procedures, and potential areas for policy review.

Additional or refined terms of reference may be determined by the Vice-Chancellor.

1.3. Partnership Profile

In consultation with the relevant VCE members, Quality and Reviews, Global Quality, Regulation and Compliance Group (GQRCG) in consultation with the International Portfolio will coordinate the development of a partnership profile to inform VCE and the Review Panel of the scope and history of the partnership.

1.4. Communication with Partners

A commitment by RMIT and partner institutions to engage in audit and review processes is addressed in contracts with partners outside Australia. Once the Partnership Review schedule has been established, partner institutions will be informed by letter by the DVC (International) portfolio or in the case of research partnerships, by the DVC (Research and Innovation) that a review is planned, and of the proposed timing of the review. Correspondence will be prepared by Quality and Reviews. The relevant DVC portfolio will liaise with the relevant senior contact person from the partner institution to identify any issues of concern to the partner that may inform the areas of focus of the Review. Partners will be invited to comment on the proposed timing of the review, and will be given at least three months’ notice of RMIT’s intention to conduct a review.

Initial contact with partners to inform them of review requirements will be made by the contract manager from the International Partnerships and Development Group, International Portfolio or for research partnerships, from the Research Office, Research and Innovation Portfolio. The contract manager will normally assist Quality and Reviews to identify key contacts and provide introductions in any communications with the partner institution during the Review. If required, the contract manager may accompany the Panel and introduce Panel members to partner staff during a site visit at the partner location. The contract manager will not participate in Panel interviews or meetings at the site visit.

2. Review documentation

In consultation with areas involved in the partnership and other relevant support areas, Quality and Reviews will prepare a document request identifying data to be provided for the Review.

Review panels will be provided with documentation to assist them to respond to the terms of reference and the strategic overview. Review documentation will normally comprise:

  • the Conduct of Reviews Procedure and Review Instructions
  • the VCE member/s strategic overview
  • the partnership profile
  • a suite of performance data (advice on data will be provided by Quality and Reviews)
  • the desk audit findings and supporting information.

Quality and Reviews will collate the review documentation and distribute it to the review panel, the Head of the area being reviewed and the VCE member responsible for the area being reviewed, normally two weeks before the Panel meeting.

3. Review process

As approved by VCE, a desktop review of key documentation will be conducted by Quality and Reviews to support the Panel in evaluating performance against key data, compliance with relevant legislation, regulatory and policy requirements and any potential risks.

Review Panel meetings will be held as follows:

  • a preliminary meeting to enable the Panel to consider the approach to be taken in the Review
  • a Panel Review meeting in Melbourne (typically of 1day) to interview key stakeholders, consider issues and determine preliminary findings
  • where required, a site visit at the partner location or interviews with partner staff and stakeholders at the partner location by videoconference or teleconference.
  • where a partner site visit occurs, a final Panel meeting to enable the Panel to identify its findings and recommendations.

For each meeting Quality and Reviews will provide documentation including a program of stakeholder interviews. Stakeholder interviews will include, where relevant:

  • VCE members, senior managers from Colleges and Schools and academic staff
  • senior staff responsible for service areas
  • partner staff
  • students, alumni and external industry or community stakeholders.

Once interviews have been completed, the review panel should summarise its findings and recommendations addressing the terms of reference and issues raised in the VCE member's overview, identifying any recommendations requiring immediate action.

Where the Panel identifies matters which extend beyond the direct responsibility of the area under review these should be identified in the Report.

At the end of the Review visit the Panel Chair should provide an oral briefing of key findings and recommendations to the relevant VCE member and head of the area that was reviewed.

Where a potential legislative or regulatory compliance issue is identified during the proceedings of a review, the secretary of the Review Panel may seek further information and advice to clarify the matter and will refer the matter to the Director, GQRCG for further consideration and action, in accordance with the Conduct of Reviews procedure, irrespective of whether the Review Panel investigates or makes a recommendation on the matter.

4. Review panel report and action plan

In consultation with the Panel Chair, Quality and Reviews will prepare a draft report (around 10 pages). Where the Panel identifies matters that are broader than the review scope or are highly confidential these should be detailed in an Appendix. The Vice-President, Strategy and Governance will refer these matters to the relevant VCE member(s) for consideration and action as appropriate. The draft report will be:

  • provided to the Chair and amended as required in response to the Chair’s feedback
  • sent to panel members for feedback, with amendments to be confirmed by the Chair
  • referred as a final draft to the VCE members including relevant College PVCs and where relevant the head/s of the relevant Schools or other areas directly involved in the partnership to identify any errors of fact or interpretation, with amendments to be confirmed by the Chair.

The final report will be provided to the relevant VCE members, including relevant College PVC/s, and the University Secretary and Vice-President. An action plan will be coordinated by Quality and Reviews in consultation with relevant VCE members.

Where a regulatory or compliance issue has been identified as part of a review, the Assistant Director, Quality and Regulation or the Assistant Director, Compliance, GQRCG will liaise with the relevant area/s to identify actions to address the matter, and will monitor the implementation of rectification actions.

A summary report of matters arising from the Review that are relevant to the partner will be provided by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) to the Head of the partnership organisation.

The Review Report and Action Plan will be submitted to VCE in accordance with the Conduct of Reviews procedure.

Where a recommendation arising from a Review relates to the responsibilities of the Academic Board, the matter will be referred to the Academic Board for consideration after the Review Report has been received by VCE.

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