Scope and nature of regulation
All qualifications offered by a recognised awarding body are regulated – unless they have been exempted from regulation, or because recognition for a qualification or qualification type has subsequently been surrendered by an awarding body. We categorise regulated qualifications as ‘approved’, ‘designated’ or ‘other regulated’.
Model for regulation
- Awarding bodies seek recognition by meeting certain criteria set by us.
- An awarding body’s recognition is subject to compliance with the Conditions of
Recognition. This is our principal regulatory document and is supported by additional regulatory documents
- We monitor for compliance against the Conditions of Recognition.
- We use our enforcement and sanctions powers when awarding bodies fail to
comply with the Conditions of Recognition.
- Where appropriate, we intervene to ensure that the system meets the needs of learners.
As part of our work, we:
- Set regulatory requirements through our regulatory documents;
- Exercise controls over entry to the regulated market to ensure that organisations have the expertise, governance, controls and financial capacity in place to deliver valid qualifications;
- Take a risk-based approach to prioritise our work using data, intelligence and expertise;
- Monitor regulated qualifications and the compliance of recognised awarding bodies, and undertake targeted audits;
- Monitor the effectiveness of the qualifications system in Wales;
- Set and maintain appropriate standards for qualifications, working with other qualifications regulators to ensure consistency across the UK;
- Investigate potential breaches of our rules and, when necessary, take appropriate enforcement action;
- Use research evidence to guide our decisions, actions and advice;
- Undertake sector and thematic reviews;
- Undertake consultations on potential changes to the qualifications system;
- Commission qualifications through an open competitive process where there is a market need;
- Run the QiW database: a comprehensive source of information on approved and designated qualifications awarded in Wales;
- Provide grants to support the qualifications system, including support for Welsh-medium assessments.
Our approach is explained more fully in our Regulatory Framework and Approach, a document that summarises the current framework and approach to the regulation of qualifications in Wales. (This document includes links to other more detailed regulatory documents.)
We are an outward-looking organisation, so we engage, communicate and collaborate to strengthen our ability to promote public confidence in the Welsh qualifications system, and to meet the needs of learners in Wales.
- We invite, listen and respond to the views of learners;
- We listen and respond to stakeholder feedback, views and concerns appropriately;
- The way in which we make regulatory decisions and engage with stakeholders is proportionate to the potential impact of the regulatory action;
- Our consultations are transparent and meaningful;
- We take a collaborative approach and draw on the knowledge and expertise of stakeholders as appropriate;
- We seek to establish and maintain effective relationships with key stakeholders;
- We produce clear, informative, targeted and timely communications; we review the impact of our communications and seek to find ways to improve our approach;
- We work with other regulators wherever possible, bearing in mind the potential impact on awarding bodies that are regulated by more than one regulator;
- We carry out regulatory impact assessments as appropriate to assess the costs, benefits and risks associated with a policy or course of action.
Our work is underpinned by our values:
- Collaborative in the way that we work
- Thoughtful in the approaches we take
- Positive in our outlook
- Learning from experience and others