Who we are
Qualifications Wales regulates qualifications, other than degrees, in Wales. We were established in August 2015 through the Qualifications Wales Act, and assumed our duties and powers in September of that year.
We regulate qualifications that are developed and delivered by the awarding bodies that we recognise. When an awarding body is recognised, it must comply with the rules that we set.
We are an independent statutory body, funded by the Welsh Government. This means that we make our own decisions about qualifications and provide independent expert advice to others. It also means that we oversee the standards to which qualifications are awarded, independent of influence from others.
We are accountable to the people of Wales through the National Assembly for Wales. We report to the Assembly every year on how we have fulfilled our functions, and how we plan to carry them out in the future.
Working with a wide range of organisations, we monitor the compliance of awarding bodies, review existing qualifications, oversee the design of new requirements and support the qualifications system. Through this work, we ensure that learners, practitioners and the public in Wales can be confident that qualifications, and the qualifications system, meet their needs.
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