Making sense of qualification regulation can be a bit of a headache. That’s why – as part of a number of forthcoming articles on regulations and compliance – HABC Strategic Development Director Chris Daniel takes you through the who, what, why and how.
There are four main regulatory bodies in the UK who recognise awarding organisations and their qualifications:
- Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland;
- Welsh Government is Wales’ qualifications regulator;
- Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) regulates qualifications (with the exception of vocational) in Northern Ireland; and
- Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) regulates and awards qualifications in Scotland.
There are many qualifications offered across the UK which are regulated. These are also known as ‘regulated qualifications′. All awarding bodies that offer regulated qualifications must be ‘recognised’ by the qualifications regulator for each country in the UK. HABC has been recognised by the regulators since 2008. Regulated qualifications are those that are reviewed, recognised and monitored by the regulatory bodies in order to make sure that they meet specific criteria and quality standards. The requirements for the qualifications to be regulated are set out in the regulatory arrangements for the respective countries.
The most obvious advantage of regulated over non-regulated qualifications is that the regulated ones provide the learners and stakeholders with a guarantee of quality, of both the qualification programme and the awarding body that offers regulated qualifications. Non-regulated qualifications, on the other hand, are not regulated and there is no guarantee that they meet appropriate standards. There is no way to tell whether they are fit for their purpose, if they include relevant content or if appropriate methodology for assessment is used.
The regulators use several methods to ensure a high quality of regulated qualifications. In order to be recognised and have our qualifications regulated by the regulators, we have to submit our proposition to the regulator which then carefully reviews the proposed qualification. If the qualification programme meets the regulator’s criteria it is recognised. If it does not meet the set criteria, it is rejected. In order to make sure that the regulated qualifications maintain appropriate standards and quality, they are kept under review by the regulators, who also have the power to withdraw accreditation’.
Over the next 12 months it is our intention to provide more detail about the way qualifications are regulated throughout the UK. We also hope to introduce a regulatory type surgery where you can ask questions relating to qualification regulation, and we’ll publish the answers in the newsletter. If you have any questions, please contact Mark Phillips, Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org