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Audit Diagram

 

 

Planning

Planning is the initial stage of the audit procedure in which ASHE and HEI that is included in the annual Audit Plan agree on the conditions and procedure under which the audit will be carried out, in line with the Audit Ordinance and the legal framework.
At this stage, all the activities and deadlines of the audit procedure are defined, members of the expert panel are selected and appointed, and the audit timeline and programme (protocol) of the site visit are drafted and submitted to the HEI.
At this stage, HEI may request that an additional audit target be included in the procedure.
In the planning phase, the Agency’s coordinator is appointed. ASHE coordinator is an employee of the Agency who provides organizational, administrative and professional support to the panel, and communicates with the panel chair and members, as well as with HEI, i.e. with HEI’s appointed coordinator in the procedure.
In the planning stage, HEI appoints its coordinator in the procedure, and submits the decision on appointment to the Agency for Science and Higher Education.
In this stage, a list of mandatory documents for audit is agreed on with HEI; the institution shall submit the requested documents to the Agency, in digital form, no later than 6 weeks before the site visit. HEI's documentation for audit should provide sufficient information and evidence for a successful evaluation of the IQAS.
HEI's documentation for audit is submitted in Croatian, and - if needed - also in English.
HEI does not need to submit documents that are already published on its website or intranet; it shall be sufficient to provide functional links and access permissions during audit procedure.
This stage of the procedure also includes the panel’s evaluation of documents submitted by HEI.

 

 

Phase II: site visit

This phase of the audit procedure involves the evaluation of the documentation submitted by the higher education institution, a site visit to the higher education institution (including interviews with representatives of all stakeholders and the realization of all activities planned in the site visit protocol), collection of additional evidence, analysis of collected data and drafting of the report.
In addition to panel members, the Agency’s coordinator and, if necessary, an interpreter also participate in the visit to the higher education institution.
The site visit may take 2 to 3 days, and exceptionally even longer, as determined by the Agency in agreement with the audited higher education institution. The visit is carried out according the agreed site visit protocol, which is delivered to the higher education institution and panel members at least 2 weeks prior to the visit.
Panel members submit their comments on the documentation and a list of questions for the site visit to ASHE coordinator 1 week before the visit.
The day before the site visit, the first panel meeting is held at the location specified by the Agency. ASHE coordinator shall inform the members of the panel about their duties and responsibilities. The panel shall agree on the main issues to be considered during the site visit, as well as on the additional supporting evidence to be requested from HEI during the visit.
A compulsory part of the site visit are meetings with the management and HEI's internal and external stakeholders, tour of the premises, and examination of additional evidence.
The higher education institution shall ensure that all scheduled meetings with stakeholders and all internal meetings of the panel are held in appropriate premises.
At internal meetings, the panel also works on the first draft of the audit report, with the professional assistance of ASHE coordinator, using the report template that is an integral part of this Manual.
A site visit to HEI ends with a meeting with HEI's management, at which the chair or an elected member of the expert panel briefly inform the participants of the panel’s findings during the site visit.

 

 

Phase III: Report

Within 4 weeks after the site visit, the panel draws up the audit report based on the analysis of the submitted and available documentation of the higher education institution, information collected during the site visit, and the first draft of the audit report.
In addition to the assessment of the development stage and effectiveness (coherence and fitness-for-purpose) of individual evaluation elements and the entire IQAS, the audit report also contains recommendations for improvement for each individual ESG standard.
The work of the panel is coordinated by the panel chair, and the final version of the report is agreed upon by the entire panel via e-mail.
Not later than 4 weeks after the visit, the panel chair shall submit the audit report to ASHE coordinator. The report is then sent for editing and proofreading and, if necessary, translation.
Within 6 weeks after the site visit, ASHE coordinator shall send the report in electronic format to the higher education institution, for consideration and comments. The higher education institution shall submit its official statement on the report to ASHE coordinator within 2 weeks of the receipt of the report. In its statement, HEI may point out factual inaccuracies or omissions, but may not present new facts or evidence that have not been presented by the last day of the site visit. ASHE coordinator shall send HEI's statement to the members of the panel for consideration; the panel may - if necessary - include additional amendments to the report and send the amended, final version to ASHE coordinator. The final report and HEI's official statement are submitted to the Accreditation Council for adoption. The adopted final report is submitted to HEI and published on the Agency's website in Croatian language. Depending on the type of audit and/or profile of the audited higher education institution, a summary of the final report or the complete final report is also published in English language. HEI's official statement on the audit report is also published on ASHE website.


Certificate

If, during the audit procedure, the panel determines that the evaluated IQAS is in the developed stage or higher by all evaluation elements, the Agency shall, upon the adoption of the final report, issue a 5-year certificate to the evaluated HEI on the development of IQAS.


 

 

Complaints procedure
If the higher education institution finds that the expert panel did not conduct the audit procedure in the manner described in the Audit Manual and the Audit Ordinance, or is not satisfied with the audit outcome, it may lodge a complaint within 15 days of the receipt of the adopted audit report. New facts and new evidence that were not presented during the site visit cannot be presented in the complaint.
The complaint and the complete documentation of the audit procedure shall be considered by ASHE’s Complaints Committee.

The Complaints Committee shall deliver to the Accreditation Council a written opinion on the issue within 30 days from the date of the receipt of HEI’s complaint. The Accreditation Council shall consider the opinion of the Complaints Committee and make a final decision on the adoption of the final report. If the Accreditation Council decides that the final audit report will not be adopted, the evaluated HEI may propose that a new audit procedure is conducted.

 

 

Phase IV:Follow-up

Within 30 days after the adoption of the final audit report, HEI shall, in accordance with the recommendations contained in the final report, draw up an action plan of improvements for the period of 2 years. HEI's action plan shall be submitted to the Agency’s coordinator, who shall forward it to the panel.
The follow-up phase lasts 6 months from the date the final audit report is adopted. Upon the completion of the 6-month follow-up period, HEI shall submit a follow-up report to ASHE coordinator, containing a description and evidence of the activities that have been carried out, as well as an analysis of the effectiveness of implemented improvements. ASHE coordinator submits the follow-up report to the panel; within 3 weeks of its receipt, the panel agrees on and finalizes the conclusion on the effectiveness of activities carried out during the follow-up phase.
At this stage, a final meeting is organised with the representatives of the audited HEI, attended by one member of the expert panel and ASHE coordinator; at the meeting, the implementation of HEI’s action plan and the conclusions of the panel are presented, with the possibility of an open discussion.

 

 

CroQAnet

Two years after the adoption of the final report, the evaluated higher education institution submits to the Agency’s coordinator a report on the implementation of its action plan, i.e. final results of 2-year plan of improvements.
The Agency organizes joint workshops within the Network of Quality Assurance Units at Croatian Higher Education Institutions (CroQAnet), at which the audited higher education institutions present the results of activities undertaken following the panel recommendations.

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