This protocol has been produced by the Quality in Higher Education Group, which is jointly secretaried by GuildHE, HEFCE, DELNI and UUK. It explains how future flexibility in the quality assurance system  for higher education in England and Northern Ireland (NI) will be managed, with particular reference to institutional review. It is designed to be read alongside the QAA’s operational description and handbook for institutional review in England and NI, published on 31 March 2011.