Review of Standard Conditions of Recognition

The Standard Conditions of Recognition (“Conditions”) were originally introduced in Wales in 2011, and were transitioned over from Welsh Government’s General Conditions of Recognition when we took up our functions in autumn 2015.

The current Conditions are very closely aligned to the General Conditions of Recognition used by Ofqual in England and CCEA in Northern Ireland, and have not been reviewed since our inception. We are therefore launching a review of the Conditions.

Why carry out a review of the Conditions?

The review aims to make the Conditions as accessible as possible to awarding bodies while ensuring they enable us as the regulator to execute our regulatory functions in Wales. The review also aims to ensure that the Standard Conditions of Recognition are appropriate and relevant for learners in Wales, and the Welsh qualification system. 

We will:

  • explore opportunities for simplifying the Conditions, focusing on areas such as clarity, levels of prescriptiveness, duplication, structure and value;
  • review the Conditions for their appropriateness and relevance to learners in Wales, and the Welsh qualification system;
  • consider current, emerging and future policy developments and identifying changes that may be implemented as part of this review, and changes that may need a longer-term approach;
  • identify and address where appropriate the challenges awarding bodies face in demonstrating compliance with Conditions;
  • identify any examples of good practice.

What are the timescales for the review?

The review will be conducted from autumn 2017 to autumn 2018. Depending on the outcomes of the review, we will hold a 12-week public consultation on any possible changes to the Conditions with a view to publishing a revised version of the Conditions in Spring 2019, to be effective from September 2019.

An infographic of the timeline for the Review can be found here.

What will be our approach to the review?

The Conditions will be reviewed in three tranches, namely: ABC, DEG, FHI.

It is planned that each tranche will be reviewed within a timeframe of three to four months, allowing us to carry out the review in 12 months. We will ensure that any links between the tranches are addressed throughout the review and Section J, which includes the definitions of temrs, will be cosnidered throughout each stage.

Will all recognised awarding bodies have an opportunity to take part in the Review?

As part of the review, we are seeking views from all recognised awarding bodies’ on what Conditions or groups of Conditions are of interest and/or should be prioritised, and their reasons for this.

To facilitate this, there will be an online questionnaire available for all recognised awarding bodies to provide feedback on each tranche.

We have also established a Stakeholder Panel, made up of a wide range of partners and awarding bodies. The Panels will meet during each tranche.

Why have we established a Stakeholder Panel?

To ensure that we can take into account the perspective of awarding bodies throughout the review, we have formed a Stakeholder Panel of 10 to 12 representatives from awarding bodies as well as one representative each from FAB and JCQ.

Will the Review of Conditions lead to a divergence in regulatory requirements?

Both Ofqual and CCEA (the regulators of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England, and CCEA in Northern Ireland, respectively) will be represented at the Stakeholder Panels. We will engage with these qualifications’ regulators to agree a common approach, where appropriate. However, we recognise that alignment will not be possible in all circumstances.