Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR)

 The Quality Enhancement Framework (QEF) is the enhancement-led approach to quality in Scotland. Collaboration and partnership are at the heart of this innovative method. The QEF supports higher education institutions, in managing the quality of the student learning experience. It also provides public confidence in academic standards and the quality of the student experience.

ELIR is one of five key elements of the QEF and is an evidence-based method of peer review

The Institution carries out a holistic evaluation of its strategy, policy and practice in relation to quality assurance and enhancement. The review will focus on those areas where there is likely to be greatest benefit to the institution.  The outcomes of the evaluation are evidenced in a Reflective Analysis (RA), through which GCU will be able to showcase its extensive achievements in areas such as widening access, etc.  We will also identify areas prioritised for development and/or enhancement, and areas that continue to present a challenge.

ELIR results in a judgement and a set of commendations and recommendations relating to the way the institution is securing academic standards and improving the student experience.  More information on ELIR by the QAA Scotland can be found here

Who carries out the Review?

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Scotland carries out Enhancement-Led Institutional Reviews (ELIR) at Scottish higher education institutions.  The review is undertaken by a team of reviewers comprising staff and students from other institutions who assess what each higher education institution does. 

How often does ELIR take place?

The reviews take place in five year cycles and ELIR is now in its fourth cycle (ELIR4).   At the last ELIR, which took place in March 2015, GCU achieved an ‘effective’ threshold outcome which is the highest level of ELIR threshold outcome available.  This confirmed that that there is evidence that overall:

  • the institution has rigorous arrangements, in line with sector expectations, for assuring and enhancing the quality of the student learning experience and for securing the academic standards of its awards, and is using these arrangements systematically


  • the institution has the capacity and commitment to identify and address situations that have the potential to threaten the academic standards of its awards or the quality of the student learning experience


  • the institution is meeting sector expectations in having a clearly identified, strategic approach to enhancing the student learning experience, which it is implementing systematically, drawing on student views and external reference points to inform strategy formulation, implementation and evaluation.
When will ELIR4 take place in GCU

Work has already commenced on preparing for ELIR4.  This will continue over the remainder of session 2018-19 and into trimester A of 2019-20 culminating in the formal submission of the RA and supporting documentation in late November 2019.  This will be followed by a one-day planning visit and a five-day review visit from the ELIR Panel. The key dates for ELIR4 have been included below for your information.


Key Review Dates

28th November 2019

Submission of Reflective Analysis (RA) and Advance Information Set (AIS) to QAA

6th February 2020

Planning Visit by ELIR Panel

WB 23rd March 2020 (5 days)

Review Visit by ELIR Panel


How can I contribute to ELIR4

GCU is continuing to look to staff and students to support and contribute to the development of the RA and Panel Visits as part of the ELIR 4 cycle. To find out more information on ELIR at GCU for staff members please select here to the staff intranet pages or for student information please select here to the Students Association Website. In the meantime, if you wish to discuss any of this further please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Dunlop, ELIR Project Manager at Jennifer.Dunlop@gcu.ac.uk or by phone 0141 273 1355.