The external quality assurance system in Switzerland focuses on institutional assessments. Periodic assessments of the internal quality assurance systems of the Swiss universities are mandatory and linked to the financing of the institutions. The OAQ successfully carried out the first cycle of such audits in 2003 – 4 which it then repeated in 2007 – 8. These audits have been well accepted by the institutions and were perceived as being a contribution to institutional quality enhancement. Changes at universities following the first audit have been noticed and this clearly shows the success of an institutional approach to external QA. Bologna, and particularly the ESG, served to accelerate internal developments in Switzerland. Project- based international partnerships proved to be an essential ingredient to improve the agency’s daily work, while international memberships in relevant networks increased the agency’s level of accountability and credibility with positive national spill-over effects.