External examiners for taught provision - FAQs for University Staff

‌If you are a member of University Staff with a query about the external examiner system for taught provision, this page may assist. Sample questions are listed below with useful information in response.

If your query remains unresolved, please contact extexam@liv.ac.uk or telephone 50121 (internal) for further assistance.

General

HERMES

Induction arrangements

Fees and expenses


 

General

Q: What is the deadline for submitting/approving nominations?
A: Nominations for the re(appointment) of external examiners must be submitted to Faculty for approval no later than 1st October in the academic session to which they are to be appointed. Appointment details for existing external examiners will be rolled forward during the Summer. These details should be confirmed, amended or overwritten as appropriate.

Q: What is the maximum length of an appointment?
A: External examiners (taught provision) may be appointed up to a maximum of four years. All external examiners are (re)appointed on an annual basis.

If a case is to be presented for an exceptional extension into a fifth year of appointment, then a Request,for,the,appointment,of,an,external,examiner,NWS,COPA  must be submitted for the attention of the Director of Student Administration & Support Division via email to extexam

Q: Where can I find Appendix H of the Code of Practice on Assessment?
A: This is available from the https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/aqsd/academic-codes-of-practice/code-of-practice-on-assessment/. Appendix H defines the external examiner system for taught provision.

Q: We have a new programme - will we get another external examiner post automatically for this?
A: No. It would be expected that an existing external examiner would be identified to cover new provision and in the event that this is not possible then a Request,for,the,establishment,of,a,new,external,examiner,postwould need to be provided with a supporting statement, for the attention of the Director of Student Administration & Support Division submitted via email to extexam

HERMES

Q: What is HERMES?
A: HERMES (Handling External examiner Reports, Maintenance of appointments and Expense claim Submissions) is an application in TULIP which is used to manage all aspects of the external examiner system for taught provision. All appointments are held within this system, and external examiners upload and submit their annual reports via HERMES.

Q: How do I access HERMES?
A: HERMES is located in TULIP and can be accessed by members of University Staff via the 'Administration' -> 'General' links in the left hand navigation pane. HERMES has a description of 'External Examiner Workflow for Taught Provision'. You may wish to click on the yellow star to add HERMES to your TULIP favourites panel if you will be using it regularly.

If you do not have permission to access HERMES then you should contact your Faculty Student Experience Manager with a request to access the system.

Q: Is there a manual or user guide to HERMES?
A: Yes;HERMES User Guide for Staff  is available to download.

Q: Who has access to HERMES in my department/school?
A: Visit the staff directory pages for details on who has access to Hermes from your School or Deprtament..

Q: Why did I get a generic/automated email from you?
A: HERMES will send automated reminders when further action is required or alerts to highlight important information. Automated emails are sent to all users in a specific department or school or faculty, based on permissions. For example; if a nomination from a department is rejected by Faculty then all department users for that department will be sent a notification requesting that a new nomination be submitted.  Further details on the notifications which you may be sent are available in the user guide. The external examiner's details, and the post identifier (e.g. programme name or cognate area), are included in all automated emails to help you identify those which relate to your area of responsibility.

Q: Where do I find the appointment details for an external examiner?
A: Appointment details for each external examiner are available via the 'History' link in HERMES. Clicking on this will display the external examiner's personal details and the modules they have been assigned.

Q: How do I update external examiner contact/module details in HERMES?
A: If you have already submitted a nomination and wish to make amendments (e.g. to the module assignments) please contact SAS at extexam@liv.ac.uk and outline the changes required.

Q: Where do I find the annual report/checklist for an external examiner?
A: When an external examiner has submitted their annual report and when this has been approved by SAS for dissemination, the 'Report Status' column will show 'Report Submission Complete'. You can then access the report by clicking on the 'History' link next to the appointment, and scroll down the page to the 'View Written Report' link. Clicking on this will display the written report and checklist.

Q: Who submits the departmental response to the external examiner annual report?
A: Visit the staff directory page for details.

All department users for a listed department will be sent an automated reminder requesting a departmental response to the external examiner's written report. How the process for uploading responses, and which individual is responsible for doing so, is managed by the department in association with the relevant Faculty Academic Quality and Standards Committee. SAS have no involvement in the response submission process - a departmental response is subject to Faculty approval and sent directly to the external examiner when this is given.

Q: An external examiner informed me they could not access HERMES - what should I do?
A: All external examiners are provided with a link to HERMES and login credentials (username and password) in their appointment email once SAS have confirmed the appointment. If an external examiner contacts you requesting a reminder please ask them to email extexam@liv.ac.uk.

Induction arrangements

Q: Who is responsible for providing induction sessions to external examiners?
A: The host Department or School is responsible for organising the induction of external examiners.

Q: Are induction sessions mandatory for external examiners?
A: If an external examiner cannot attend an induction event there must be another type of briefing provided, such as a formal meeting during the first visit with a relevant member of academic staff.

Q: What is considered good practice in terms of induction arrangements?
A: The documentation listed in the Annex of Appendix H of the Code of Practice on Assessment should be made available to the external examiner. In line with HEA guidance, the expectation is that induction, or informal briefing, events also cover the following:

  • The validation history of the programme;
  • The design and delivery characteristics of the programme as set out in the programme specification;
  • Assessment regulations including detailed explanation of institutional policy in respect of condonation and/or compensation, resits, retakes and other mechanisms used to support student progression;
  • Arrangements and reasonable adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities;
  • Marking protocols (question and assignment setting; model answers; double marking; blind marking; moderation, etc.);
  • Discussion of sampling and selection of student work to provide the evidence base for the external examiner;
  • Procedures for oral examinations or formal review of student work or performance;
  • Opportunities for meeting students on a more informal basis;
  • Examination procedures and requirements for attending meetings of, and regulations pertaining to the conduct of, Boards of Examiners;
  • Rules and penalties for academic misconduct;
  • Procedures for student appeals and complaints;
  • Access to recent external examiner reports, minutes of Boards of Examiners and examination question papers;
  • The annual report of the external examiner and how it is used by the institution;
  • Contact protocols and details for key staff (especially important for external examiners of collaborative provision).

Fees and expenses

Q: How do external examiners submit expenses claims?
A: External examiners for undergraduate and postgraduate taught provision submit their expenses via COREHR, this is a new process introduced in 2020. There are no hard copies of expense claim forms in circulation.

External examiners for research and higher degrees are sent a hardcopy expense claim form to accompany the thesis which is posted to them for examination. If an external examiner appointed to research provision contacts you requesting an expense claim form please ask them to email vivafees@liverpool.ac.uk for another copy.

Q: Can I book accommodation on behalf of an external examiner?
A: Yes, you may arrange accommodation on behalf of the external examiner. Please consult the University's Procurement webpages to find preferred venues which have an agreed discounted rate with the University. If the external examiner pays for accommodation on arrival/departure then they must submit an expense claim for reimbursement. If the department or school pays for accommodation in advance then an Internal Supply Form (ISF) should be sent to SAS requesting reimbursement.

The central budget cannot be used to pay invoices sent by venues, or any costs incurred by members of staff internal to the University. If an internal examiner arranges and pays for accommodation on behalf of the external examiner then they must claim reimbursement from their own department and that department should then send an ISF to SAS (extexam).

Q: We wish to arrange a meal for the external examiner: who will pay for those attending?
A: The central budget will cover reasonable costs (including subsistence) for external examiners only. Any costs incurred by members of staff internal to the University must be met by the department/school.

Please note that alcoholic beverages and gratuities are not considered reasonable expenses and will not be reimbursed. Excessive claims will require a contribution from the department/school.

Q: What are the restrictions for expense claims?
A: Please refer to the External Examiner Expenses Claim Policy. Reasonable expenses which are incurred by an external examiner will be reimbursed by the central budget. The budget cannot accommodate the costs incurred by other individuals (e.g. family members accompanying the external examiner or members of University staff).