External Examining for Taught Programmes

Lancaster University views the work of its External Examiners as central to its quality assurance and enhancement processes, both in the maintenance of the academic standards and quality of its programmes, and in the enhancement of its provision.

External Examiners are appointed to provide the University and its partner institutions with impartial and independent advice and comment on the institution's standards, and on students' achievement in relation to those standards.

These pages contain information and links to forms and guidance to help External Examiners in their role. Below are sections relating to the processes for appointment, employment and payment of External Examiners, along with other useful information. A key document which should be used as the main point of reference for the role is the External Examiner Procedures (Taught Programmes) section of the University's formal academic regulations and procedures.

Information on procedures and regulations relating to assessment are contained in the Manual of Academic Regulations and Procedures (MARP).

Information relating to external examining for research programmes is available on the Student Registry webpages.

Right to Work

In order to comply with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, the University is required to carry out right to work checks on all new External Examiner appointment. This occurs at two points; initial checks obtaining colour copies of right to work evidence submitted with the nomination stage, and verification checks on presentation of the original right to work documentation by the External Examiner on their first visit to campus. The points at which these checks are carried out, and the processes and roles involved, are detailed in the guidance document Process, Roles and Responsibilities for Checking Right to Work Eligibility. An overview of the appointment process is provided below.

Please note that if these checks are not completed, External Examiners may be prevented from carrying out any work, and fees or expenses incurred will be withheld by the University.

Appointment Process

The University operates a robust appointment process for its External Examiner roles, setting out criteria and restrictions on appointment in line with the QAA Quality Code and adopted sector norms. We have provided a brief overview of the process and key information here. More detailed guidance on the appointment criteria can be found in the External Examiner Procedures (Taught Programmes), along with further information on the selection process.

External Examiner Duties

The External Examiner role is a key function in the maintenance and safeguarding of standards, whilst acknowledging and recognising that those standards are set autonomously by each institution. The University will provide its External Examiners with all materials, guidance and information on its academic and quality procedures necessary to carry out the role. In return the University expects its External Examiners to engage fully with their duties, particularly with respect to Examination Boards and submission of Annual Reports. These duties and expectations are detailed in the External Examiner Procedures (Taught Programmes) and a brief overview is available here. An annual report pro forma is provided.

Fees and Expenses

Fees and expenses are paid through the ASQ unit on receipt of a completed External Examiners Fees and Expenses Claim Form. Please note that the fee cannot be paid until the report has been received or right to work checks completed.

External Examiners claiming expenses for fares, accommodation, subsistence and postage are asked to attach relevant receipts of documentation supporting the claim. Travel mileage will be reimbursed to a maximum amount equivalent to the cost of a second class open return train fare for the journey undertaken. Where costs in excess of this are unavoidably incurred, External Examiners should contact the Academic Department, from which further reimbursement may be available.

In order to process payments to overseas bank accounts we will require a bank statement, or a void paying-in skip, or a bank letter that confirms your bank account details. Please ensure that the documentation provided with your claim includes: name on account, name and address of bank or building society, account number, sort code, international bank account number (IBAN), bank identification code (BIC).

Things to Note:

Change of Personal Details

External Examiners must inform the University if their circumstances change (e.g. academic position or employer, contact details, visa status, etc.). This is particularly important where the change relates to restrictions on appointment of External Examiners. The Change of Details Form should be completed and returned to externalexaminers@lancaster.ac.uk as soon as possible.

Data Protection and Freedom of Information

While External Examiner Annual Reports are intended for consumption internally to Lancaster University staff, students and collaborative partners, External Examiners should note that the information contained within them may be disclosed in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and other legislation. External Examiners should therefore avoid making reference by name to individual members of staff or students when writing their annual report.

External Examiners should ensure that they store copies of students' work, marks and any other personal information securely and in line with the Policy on Categorising and Protecting University Information Assets.

Electronic information should be deleted promptly following use. Hard copies of materials should be returned to the Academic Department.

Further Resources

Nationally available publications which may be of interest to External Examiners, particularly those who are new to this area of work are listed below:

The QAA's UK Quality Code

A Handbook for External Examining, The Higher Education Academy (2012)

Fundamentals of External Examining, Advance HE (2019)

External Examiner forms

Nomination Form

New Starter Form

New External Examiner Verification Form

Change of Details Form

External Examiners Annual Report Form

Fees and Expenses Claim Form

Academic Contact (Department)

For Lancaster-based provision the primary academic contact is the Assessment Officer for the Academic Department. For International Teaching Partnerships (ITPs), the first point of contact should be the Faculty Director of ITPs. For Regional Teaching Partnerships (RTPs) the academic contact is normally the Programme Leader in the college.

Administrative Contact (Institution)

All queries relating to appointment, reports, and payment of fees and expenses should be sent to externalexaminers@lancaster.ac.uk

If an External Examiner wished to contact a member of the ASQ in person, they should contact:

Donna Fisher

44 (0) 1524 592587