The QAA describe PSRBs as follows:
PSRBs are a diverse group of organisations that include professional bodies, regulators and those with statutory authority over a profession or a group of professionals. PSRBs engage with the higher education sector through the approval, recognition and accreditation of HE programmes. They provide membership services and promote the interests of people working in professions. They accredit or endorse programmes and courses that meet professional standards, provide a route through to the professions, or are recognised by employers.
Where courses will be or are approved or accredited by PSRBs, or where particular PSRBs are gatekeepers to entry for students' progression within relevant career routes, teams will need to ensure all appropriate consultation with such bodies is completed to safeguard the course design.
Each PSRB has its own way of operating with universities and so it is impractical to provide full guidance here. However, it is useful to draw out some key terminology and consider some general good practice and advice.
The term accreditation is used to refer to a process through which one or more courses are formally recognised as meeting with specific requirements or expectations of a particular PSRB. This might be a requirement to allow graduating students to enter into their specialist profession, allow students to become a member of the PSRB, or might exempt students from professional exams associated with admittance to membership of the PSRB.
Each PSRB will employ their own approach to granting courses accreditation, and some will require monitoring processes to be engaged with to maintain accreditation. Gaining accreditation may involve submission of validation documents for review, the attendance of the validation event by the PRSB's representatives, or a separate accreditation visit by one or more PSRB representatives. While for some PSRBs, accreditation can be gained before the commencement of the course's delivery, others require the course to be established with at least one cohort of graduates before accreditation may be granted. Course teams are advised to consult with the relevant PSRBs at the earliest stage to ensure that they understand any requirements of the PSRB when designing the course, and to clarify the accreditation process involved. Where accreditation visits, or attendance of PSRB representatives are required at approval events, the Quality and Validations team will be able to support the team in arranging this.