E3b3: Guidance Note on the External Examiner Role and Expectations

1.   Authority and Responsibilities of External Examiners

ORMS expects that as part of their role, External Examiners will;

  • ensure that students are assessed fairly and impartially, and that the standard of a particular ORMS award is comparable with those of other awarding bodies.
  • approve, as appropriate, the form and content of draft examination papers, coursework and/or other forms of assessment that contribute to the assessment in award-bearing stages.
  • approve proposed changes to assessment regulations where these affect students currently registered for the course.
  • attend meetings of the Assessment Board, as appropriate, and have right of access to the work of students where such work is subject to assessment for academic awards within the Board’s jurisdiction.
  • have access to the work of those students recommended for the highest category of the award(s) and of those deemed to have failed the assessment for the award. External Examiners shall also have authority to request representative samples of work for each category of the award to ensure that the relative placing of the students in order of merit is fair and impartial.
  • moderate the grades awarded by the internal examiners.
  • require a viva voce examination in the case of any student.
  • participate, as required, in the review of any decision relating to an individual student award.
  • act, if invited by a Course or Programme Management Team, and if willing, as an External Subject Expert and advise on the appropriateness of the subject content of a new or revised module(s).
  • comment upon, inter alia, assessment practice, standards, organisation and management and, as appropriate, collaborative arrangements.
  • consider modules of study to
    • ensure comparability of awards (national) and standards (ORMS).
    • ensure fair and equitable treatment of students who share modules across courses.
    • approve assessments, reading of scripts, as appropriate.
    • Receive Module Results Listing, immediately following assessment periods from Courses Coordinator.
    • analyse profile of grades (all students in host and guest provision).
    • report any immediate concerns to the Quality Manager.
  • undertake their responsibilities in accordance with the Academic Regulations and Organisational Regulations.

Every recommendation for the conferment of an ORMS award by an Assessment Board shall be subject to the written consent of at least one of the External Examiners for the award.

Where an External Examiner(s) declares the subject of any contention to be a matter of principle, the Assessment Board shall either accept the view of the External Examiner(s) or refer the matter to the Board of Directors for a decision. Similarly, any unresolved disagreement between the External Examiners shall be referred to the Board of Directors for resolution.

2.   Administrative Responsibilities

2.1 Each External Examiner shall complete a standard written External Examiner Annual Report to ORMS on the conduct of the assessments concluded during the year and on issues relating to those assessments.

2.2 The Course/Programme Management Team, under the direction of the Academic Director and Course/Programme Leader, is required to address each of the points raised in the External Examiner Annual Report; the Academic Director shall subsequently respond formally, in writing, to the External Examiner(s) to advise him/her of the course of action adopted in respect of each of the comments raised in the External Examiner Annual Report.

2.3 Where an External Examiner considers that any aspect of an assessment erodes or jeopardises the standard of ORMS’ awards he/she shall report such concern, at the earliest opportunity, in writing to the Board of Directors.

3. Remuneration

Under this contract External Examiners are classified as a worker and not an employee of ORMS. EEs are not entitled to the contractual terms and conditions applicable to employees. The provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (and subsequent amendments) do not apply to them.

The appointment terminates whenever the specific engagement ends and ORMS has no obligation to offer any other work in the future. Between engagements there is no continuing relationship between the EE and ORMS. Each worker contract will be considered as individual and separate.

Payment will be made to External Examiners as an independent contractor without deduction for tax or National Insurance contributions. The EE is expected to declare the untaxed earnings as part of their annual self-assessment return to HM Revenue and Customs. ORMS declares all untaxed payments in its annual returns to HMRC


  • Travel and subsistence will be refunded at the rates currently in force.
  • Individuals travelling by public transport should use the most economic means and class of travel. Usually this will be second class, economy / APEX class, or equivalent but, depending upon the journey, the best rate may be achieved through a combination of different ticket types.
  • Reasonable expenses will be paid for each official visit required by ORMS.
  • Where overnight accommodation is required rooms are to be reserved through ORMS.
  • No alcoholic drinks may be included.
  • All receipts must be included.

Lunch arrangements

  • ORMS facilities must be used (except by special arrangement and agreed in advance).
  • Any claims for meals taken outside ORMS must be accompanied by a receipt.


  • A fee of £150 per visit to ORMS is paid to External Examiners for taught courses (normally up to a maximum of two visits per year). Where the Examiner is visiting in conjunction with another External Examiner appointment (such as with RGU) this fee will be paid for an additional day only where the duties need to spread across two days.
  • A fee of £250 for receipt of External Examiner Annual Report.
  • A fee of £150 for acting as a ‘critical friend’ for validation or revalidation activities with a Professional or Regulatory Body.
  • A fee of £100 is paid when an External Examiner for a taught course is first appointed, for attendance at ORMS to undertake a briefing (as appropriate).
  • £100 for supplementary duties of host External Examiner assigned to a franchised course/programme, whether UK or overseas-based.

A fee of £100 for supplementary duties of a currently appointed External Examiner assigned to a credit-rated short course/additional course/programme.