From a legal point of view, the purposes of due-diligence are two-fold;
- Getting to know your partner; and
- providing contractual remedies if the partnership is unsuccessful.
In addition, Swansea University is subject to the quality controls and evaluations of the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) whose job it is to uphold quality and standards in UK universities and colleges. The QAA guides and checks the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in UK higher education, and protects the public interest by conducting reviews of how institutions maintain their academic standards and quality and publishes reports detailing their findings.
Due diligence is a requirement of the QAA and enables partners to fully understand one another, avoid misunderstanding and manage their collaboration in the best possible way.
The Quality Code goes on to explain that the due diligence enquiries that are carried out will vary depending on the type of collaboration envisaged but that they need to be proportionate to the complexity and volume of the provision involved and the risks which it might present. An assessment needs to be made of the conditions which are necessary to enable the proposed arrangement to succeed, and the extent of the due diligence enquiries need to be tailored to and proportionate to these. In particular, Swansea University needs to satisfy itself that ‘they have adequately assessed the financial, legal, academic and reputational risks and demonstrate that they have determined the appropriate due diligence procedures to provide the necessary information.’
Colleges are responsible for carrying out academic due diligence, but the legal and financial due diligence will be carried out centrally.
When carrying out due diligence look at Chapter B10 of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education and check to see that you address all issues highlighted in the indicators provided.