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Durham University

Welcome to Durham University's Common Awards website

Publicity & Published Information


1. The Quality Assurance Agency’s Quality Code (Section B10, Indicator 18) states that, although an awarding body may delegate responsibility for the production of publicity and published information, the awarding body is required to maintain effective oversight of the accuracy of all published information and publicity material relating to learning opportunities delivered with others which lead to their awards.

2. This includes establishing clear guidelines for the process of signing-off of publicity materials produced by delivery partners and monitoring regularly all sources of information produced by other organisations (including websites and prospectuses) for prospective students and/or for students and staff involved in the arrangements.

3. For the Common Awards, this protocol for the approval of publicity material and the use of the University’s name is incorporated within Appendix 5 of the Standard Validation Contract that each TEI will sign to formalise the partnership with Durham University.

4. In order to ensure our compliance with these protocols, we are asking all TEIs to submit any publicity material for the new Common Awards programmes to us for consideration and approval by the Chair of the Management Board.


5. In the context of this guidance, the term ‘publicity and published information’ is envisaged as including the following:

  • prospectuses,
  • brochures,
  • advertisements,
  • websites and videos

6. It may also include other types of publicity material, including any documentation bearing the name of the University of Durham (or referring to the University of Durham) in the context of validation.

Process for approving publicity and published information

7. TEIs should submit relevant publicity and published information materials for approval to the Common Awards Team by email.

8. If it is not possible to submit the materials electronically, they may be submitted by post to: Common Awards Team, University of Durham, Palatine Centre, Stockton Road, Durham DH1 3HP.

9. We aim to consider materials and respond to TEIs in as short a timeframe as possible. As a guideline, we aim to confirm receipt of any submissions within two working days, and to return feedback to TEIs within one week of receipt. However, we encourage TEIs to submit material for approval as early as possible, particularly during peak periods of activity or holiday periods.

10. In the future it is likely that this process will evolve, with more authority being delegated to TEIs; we will assure our compliance with the above protocols through periodic monitoring and review of publicity materials by the Management Board. Once we have finalised a process for the ongoing periodic checking of publicity material by the Management Board for subsequent academic years, we will provide TEIs with further guidance.

Additional checks

11. In addition to the approval process set out above, the University also conducts spot-checks of electronic information published by TEIs.

Publicity and published information prior to approval

12. All TEIs have received guidance on how they might refer to the Common Awards partnership and programmes during the approval process (i.e. prior to their partnership and programmes being approved, and prior to the signing of their contract with Durham University).

13. TEIs who are still undergoing the approval process are reminded that they may refer to the proposed new Common Awards partnership and programmes in their publicity and course material. In common with other higher education institutions, Durham University has a specific policy regarding what may be said about prospective programmes that are undergoing an approval process.

14. In addition, the Quality Assurance Agency’s Quality Code (Section B10, Indicator 18) requires awarding bodies to develop and implement strict protocols for the approval of publicity material and the use of the University’s name, logo, etc.

15. This means that all references to the proposed new programmes and partnership up until the point the contract has been signed will need to make explicit the current approval status of the proposals to avoid implying that the programmes have been approved and that a contractual agreement is in place.

16. This protocol is incorporated within the Standard Validation Contract (Appendix 5 ‘Protocol for the Use of the University’s Name’) that each TEI will sign with Durham University, and includes the following statement:

“Details of new or revised programmes should not be advertised to existing or prospective students until final approval has been received from the University, although students may be informed that a new or revised programme is under discussion.”

Guidance for TEIs undergoing approval

17. TEIs are able to refer to the proposed Common Awards programmes in their publicity and recruitment material, but they will need to make explicit the current approval status of the programmes. This is to avoid implying that the programmes have been approved and a contractual agreement is in place before this is the case.

18. While the precise wording will vary depending on context, you might find the following suggested phrases useful:

  • Subject to approval by, and entering into a validation agreement with, Durham University…
  • Subject to successful validation approval by Durham University, and entering a validation agreement with the University, the following programmes will be offered….
  • We are currently undergoing Durham University’s validation approval processes with a view to offering our new taught courses from September 2014.
  • Courses to be offered from September 2014, subject to validation approval and entering into an agreement with Durham University.

19. Similarly, details of the curriculum, programme content, programme length, assessment methods, entry criteria, etc., can be provided but they should also explicitly state that these details are subject to change as part of the approval process.

20. This guidance should not prevent TEIs from issuing offers to students. While places on the validated Durham University programmes cannot be guaranteed until after the partnership and programmes have been approved, you may wish to offer applicants a place at your institution and indicate that the offer of a place on the programme is subject to approval of the partnership and programmes.