What do we look for in a Partner?

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The University uses the following criteria to determine the synergies and fit of a new partner application:

A. Strategic Alignment

• The potential partner must be able to demonstrate their strategic alignment with the mission of the University and its over-arching values that puts students at the heart of everything it does. Potential partners should evidence how they would support the strategic aims of the University.


• The University will require the potential partner to provide evidence in the form of market intelligence to support any proposed developments.


• The Level of risk associated with the future collaboration will be measured and only if our assessment concludes that the risk is manageable will the proposed development be progressed.


B. Quality Indicators


• The potential partner should be able to evidence that it has appropriate quality assurance mechanisms in place (as tested by Ofsted, QAA or other such equivalent inspection reports,) and/or a willingness to adopt our processes.


• It is expected that the potential partner will possess significant demonstrable experience of working with a Higher Education Institution (preferably UK based). The potential partner should ideally also maintain accreditation from an external body such as Pearson/Edexcel, Ofsted, QAA or other such international equivalents.


C. Financial Performance


• The Financial health of the potential partner will be assessed, to include a review of the potential partner’s audited accounts for the most recent three years and/or independent credit checks.


• A costing plan will be produced to assess the commercial viability of the proposed collaboration, this will include analysis of the initial setup fees, programme fees, minimum student numbers, minimum fee income and periodic partnership review fees.


• The University will seek from the potential partner a proposal regarding the expansion and growth of its provision within the partnership. The potential partner will therefore be asked to evidence how it would meet these growth expectations and that such growth is both realistic and sustainable.


• Evidence of progression route opportunities to our higher level provision would be an advantage. (e.g. from the potential partner’s qualification(s) to the University’s top-up degrees)


D. Legal Standing


• The University’s due diligence process will also check the legal standing of the potential partner and its ability to enter into partnership arrangements.


E. Ethical Considerations


• The University supports an ethical approach to its partnership developments and for potential international partners reference will be made to the ‘Transparency International Corruptions Perceptions Index’ and ‘Freedom in the World’ Political Rights and Civil Liberties Index as part of the due diligence process.


• The University has a duty of care to ensure that any proposed collaboration would not place an unnecessary financial burden on the potential partner. As such the potential partner will be asked to evidence its ability to meet any proposed financial obligations associated to the proposed collaboration.


F. Geography


• The potential partner’s location should align with the University's strategic priorities.


G. Reputation and Standing


• The University recognises the value and importance placed on leagues tables as an indication of the current standing of the potential partner. A review of such league tables will be undertaken to ascertain if the potential partner and/or its subject areas feature in local, national and international league tables.

• The University may consider potential partnerships for niche subject areas as part of its strategic vision, subject to the support of the respective PVC Dean(s) of the University College(s).


H. Resources


• Site visits of the potential partner’s facilities will be undertaken as part of the University’s due diligence process to ensure that sufficient and suitable resources (both physical and human) are available to support the proposed provision. Where additional resources might be required to support the collaborations current and future needs, the University will make it a condition of any resultant agreement that such resources must be in place by a date agreeable to both parties.


I. Type and Scale of Partnership


• In the case of a collaborative partnership (franchise, off-campus, validation and accreditation), there is an expectation that the proposed collaboration would stand at not less than 200 students studying under the agreement after the first three years with not less than 50 students per programme and with strong evidence to suggest student numbers will continue to rise.


• For Progression and Articulation arrangements, the University will support such applications where there is evidence to suggest that the students of the potential partner would apply to and welcome the opportunity to complete their studies at the University of Derby. The University’s College(s) and its International Recruitment Team will support such arrangements.


J. Cross-College Applications


• Partnership proposals that span subject areas across multiple University Colleges will be considered favourably.