Applying for the Mark
The application process for the Mark of Excellence is a straightforward one, and you can find out more information and guidance regarding this by downloading the AUA Mark of Excellence Guidance for Organisations [Word Doc]
Step one – Registering for the Mark of Excellence
By registering you are confirming that your organisation wishes to enter into an agreement with the AUA to:-
- engage in a process of Working Towards the AUA Mark of Excellence Award
- recognise and support the AUA statement of values
- commit to submitting an application within two years of the AUA’s acceptance of your registration
- join the community of practice
- accept the conditions of the licensing agreement
- agree to pay the registration fee of £2,300 + VAT
Our Mark of Excellence team is on hand to talk you through the registration, self assessment, application and assessment processes, and to answer any questions you might have. Please contact Amanda Shilton Godwin, AUA Head of Professional Development – 0161 275 2063 – firstname.lastname@example.org
If your organisation is ready to proceed you can register here.
Step two – Working Towards the Mark of Excellence
Once registered, your organisation will be ‘Working Towards’ the Mark of Excellence and you can begin working towards the Mark. How you decide to tackle this project is entirely up to you and will depend on many factors. A good place to start is with your own initial self–assessment, measuring where you are now against the application criteria and from there, developing your own action plan and timelines.
Download the AUA Mark of Excellence self-assessment form [MS Word document]
As part of your initial registration payment an AUA adviser will be allocated to support you. They are independent of the AUA assessor who will establish if your organisation meets the standards for the Mark of Excellence.
The role of the AUA advisor is not to assess your application but to work with you as a critical friend and consultant over two days. Their time is included in the basic cost of the Award and is broken down as: one half day before a site visit, a day developmental visit and one half day for follow up and for post-visit to work collaboratively on the action plan with your organisation. You are welcome to purchase additional adviser time, through the AUA, if required. We shall discuss this during your early exploratory conversations and you can revisit your decision at any time.
Step three – Applying for the Mark of Excellence
Your organisation will submit a written application to the AUA office outlining how they meet the required criteria. This application will take the form of a self-assessment form which will be used by an AUA assessor to identify the focus for their on-site assessment visit. A clear and concise account of how the organisation is able to evidence each criterion, supplemented by key pieces of evidence, is therefore required rather than folders of primary documentary evidence. The detailed evidence of how your organisation is embedding the framework will be discussed in conversations with staff selected by the assessor during the visit.
On occasions, on initial review of the self-assessment, the assessor may have doubts as to an organisation’s readiness for assessment, and may suggest that the organisation undertakes further work before a visit is planned. On these occasions the AUA reserves the right to charge an additional half day at the conclusion of the process, to cover the cost of the additional half day assessor time during the whole process.
The purpose and process of the assessment visit is for the assessor to satisfy themselves that your organisation meets the standards for the Mark of Excellence and also for your organisation to explore strengths and points for further clarification or development with regard to how you are meeting the criteria. This may involve the assessor meeting a range of staff and reviewing additional documentation. This will be arranged through discussion with the assessor prior to their visit.
The assessor has two days to work with your organisation. This is broken down into half a day for reading and planning the visit, a day’s assessment visit and a half day for report writing. The visit will be arranged at the mutually convenient time but must be held within three months of your submission date.
The role of the assessor is to satisfy themselves that your organisation meets the standards for the Mark of Excellence, and to signpost areas for future development in the use of the framework. Following the formal assessment visit they will write a full report for an Assessment Panel, with one of three recommendations. These may be:
- To award the Mark of Excellence
- To award the Mark of Excellence subject to further development within a specified timescale, or
- To refer the application for further development
Reports will normally be submitted to the AUA within one week of the visit, and will include suggestions for further development. The assessor can be called upon, by the Assessment Panel, to discuss and amplify any points made.
The Panel will consider the recommendation, make a final decision, and arrange for your organisation to be informed of the outcome.
Organisations that are referred for further work to their application will retain ‘Working Towards’ status and, if they chose to, can purchase additional support from their adviser through the AUA.
Full feedback, including the assessor’s report, will be provided to all applicants.
The Award lasts for a period of three years from the date of the Panel decision.
The role of the Panel is to make the final decision on the conferment of the Award, and strategically, to uphold the standard and reputation of the Award. The Panel comprises three people, including an AUA Board member, each with sufficient knowledge and experience to form judgements on the basis of the assessors’ reports. The Panel is expected to meet virtually 4 times a year and face-to-face once a year.
To apply your organisation must be an HE institution or a substantial part of a HE institution. Email us to find out if your organisation qualifies. Once accepted, your organisation must provide a written application outlining how they meet the following criteria and sub-criteria.
The high level criteria for the Mark of Excellence are:
- The organisation is committed to the AUA Statement of Values and to embedding those values within their professional services staff development provision
- The organisation provides CPD provision for all professional services staff aligned with the AUA Framework of Behaviours
- The organisation enables all staff to engage with the provision
- The organisation has in place structures and processes to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the CPD provision for professional services staff
Download the full AUA Mark of Excellence application criteria [PDF]
Responsibilities following conferment
Your responsibilities following conferment of the Mark of Excellence
- Your organisation must advise the AUA if there are any material changes to your staff development provision while you hold an Award
- Your organisation must ensure continuity, if key personnel leave your service, and ensure that The AUA continues to have a current key point of contact
Responsibilities of the AUA following conferment of the Mark of Excellence
- The AUA undertakes to maintain a relationship with your organisation by inviting you, via your key contact, to all events for the community of professionals
- The AUA will communicate at least annually with your organisation and ensure that your organisation is advised of any developments or updates to the Award criterion of process which the AUA Board may make from time to time
Use the form below to register your organisation to start Working Towards the AUA Mark of Excellence.
Use the form below to apply for your organisation to be assessed for the AUA Mark of Excellence.