Analytic Quality Glossary


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home


Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-22, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 20 January, 2022 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2022.


Novel Recipes



Internal sub-institutional audit

core definition

Internal sub-institutional audit is a process that an institution has for checking that procedures are in place to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes within a department, faculty or other operational unit or that specific issues are being complied with across the institution.

explanatory context

An internal sub-institutional audit is something operated and undertaken by the institution without any external agency involvement. However, if the institution sees fit it may involve external experts or consultants to help with the process. Internal audits of this kind are usually to ensure compliance, share good practice or prepare for later external evaluations of programmes, subject areas or research outputs. The focus of such an audit might be subject area, a resource area such as the library or a specific issue, such as compliance with external examiner codes of practice or monitoring research output, or identifying good practice in assessing student teamworking.

Note, the term ‘sub-institutional audit’ does not occur very often, instead the sub-unit is named, for example, ‘faculty audit’, ‘department audit’, ‘health and safety audit’.

Most commentaries on internal audit do not differentiate between internal audit of the whole university and audit of part of the university as in a sub-institutional audit. Such comemntators would, therefore, view the concept of internal sub-institutional audit as redundant.


An example of a sub-institutional audit is the University of Central England in Birmingham (now Birmingham City University) which undertook faculty audits, commended by HEFCE (1997) ‘The sound operation of the University’s internal faculty audit procedures, which aid the dissemination of good practice (paragraph 46)’.

analytical review

The City University of Hong Kong, for example, sees internal audit as an audit of a sub-unit and describes Internal Quality Audit as follows:

The University has in place an Internal Quality Audit scheme 1995. On behalf of the University Senate, the Quality Assurance Committee is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the scheme… The Audit scheme is a peer review exercise and is designed to underpin the maximum devolution of quality management responsibility to academic units, taking cognizance of the needed flexibility and diversity in quality assurance processes, as well as the University’s responsibility to account to its stakeholders for the provision of quality education. The audit is a systems check, not an assessment of the quality of teaching and learning. Its purpose is to confirm, where possible, that the audited unit is discharging its responsibility for quality and academic standards consciously and conscientiously’


Canterbury Christ Church University College (2004) undertakes ‘internal Institutional Audit’, which it also refers to as internal reviews and by which it means reviews of various operational or subject groups. The terms of reference for these reviews are:

  • Through a peer review process, to enable the [Department] to demonstrate how it meets its own objectives.
  • To provide an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the [Department] to its stakeholders.
  • To enable the University College to assure itself that its systems are being effectively implemented and that the [Department] s is appropriately resourced to meet future challenges.
  • Resulting from reflection within the [Department], to provide a means of enhancing quality within the [Department] in a developmental manner by recognising strength and innovation, as well as providing guidance and support in  areas which might require improvement or experience change.

associated issues


related areas

See also


external institutional audit

internal institutional audit

external sub-institutional audit

management audit


Canterbury Christ Church University College (2004) Quality Reviews,, last updated 27/10/04, no longer available 18 January 2012.

City University of Hong Kong, 2004, Continuous Improvement on Quality Education work: Internal Quality Audit,, undated, accessed, November, 2004, no longer available 18 January 2012.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) 1997, Report Q132/97 Quality Assessment Report by the HEFCE for University of Central England in Birmingham Electrical and Electronic Engineering, General Engineering, Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering (Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering) February 1997, available at,, no longer available 18 January 2012.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2022

A NOVEL Who bombed a Birmingham mosque?


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home