1. National tools that are used by all universities (the ‘Academic Infrastructure’) including Frameworks for higher education qualifications, Subject Benchmark Statements and a sector-wide Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education;
2. Universities’ own systems for ensuring their standards are right and quality is maintained, such as procedures for the design and review of courses and the use of external examiners;
3. Independent external review of each university by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), resulting in published reports;
4. Effective engagement with students and employers, including professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, which helps to shape what universities do;
5. Mechanisms to support improvements in quality, for example by learning from the experience of others, sharing good practice and ways of supporting professionalism in teaching;
6. Measures to address complaints.
These features provide the backbone of the quality standards assessment. This document helps clarify the way this system works. http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Documents/44806UniUK_guide_lores.pdf
or for the summary see: http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Documents/44835UniUK_Summary_lores.pdf
There is an increasing request for transparency of the HE system and provisions. This seems to be another way of demonstrating the value of UK universities.