First and foremost, we are a regulator, established through legislation. Our core purpose is ‘ensuring that qualifications, and the qualification system, are effective for meeting the reasonable needs of learners in Wales', alongside 'promoting public confidence in qualifications and the Welsh qualification system'.
We are the regulator of awarding bodies that we have recognised. We also regulate qualifications that are developed and delivered by the awarding bodies that we recognise and that are offered to learners in Wales. When recognised, an awarding body must comply with the rules that we set.
Our purpose is met when qualifications taken in Wales are trusted and valued by learners, employers and education providers and are recognised throughout the UK and internationally.
We will know when we have achieved our regulatory aims when:
- regulated qualifications and the qualification system are responsive to changing needs and circumstances, particularly in regard to the long-term benefit of Wales and its students
- regulated qualifications in Wales are inclusive and promote equality of opportunity for students
- regulated qualifications taken by students in Wales are valid, reliable and awarded to an appropriate standard
- appropriate governance is in place to ensure accountability and regulatory compliance
information reasonably required to deliver consistent and quality-assured regulated qualifications is available and accessible
- regulation is proportionate, transparent, consistent and targeted, to support a qualification system that is sustainable in the long term
We organise the qualifications that we regulate into three categories, which are approved, designated and other regulated qualifications.
Regulatory Framework and Approach
We are outward-looking, 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.
In carrying out our regulatory duties we aim to make sure that we:
- invite, listen and respond to the views of learners
- listen and respond to stakeholder feedback, views and concerns appropriately
- make sure that 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
- take a collaborative approach and draw on the knowledge and expertise of stakeholders as appropriate
- seek to establish and maintain effective relationships with key stakeholders
- produce clear, informative, targeted and timely communications
- review the impact of our communications and seek to find ways to improve our approach
- work with other regulators wherever possible, being mindful of the impact on awarding bodies that are regulated by more than one regulator
- carry out regulatory impact assessments as appropriate to assess the costs, benefits and risks associated with a policy or course of action
Our Regulatory Framework and Approach sets out in detail how we carry out our regulatory work. Our regulatory approach is guided by the five principles of good regulation:
- our regulation should be simple and user-friendly, and by being as open as possible about our processes and with our records, we should ensure that people understand the decisions we have made and why
- we should be able to justify all of our decisions and explain them under public scrutiny
- we operate at arm’s length from Welsh Government and our work is scrutinised by Senedd Cymru on behalf of the people of Wales
- we also produce an annual report, which details how we have fulfilled our functions, and how we plan to carry them out in the future
- we only intervene when necessary. Any remedies that we propose should be appropriate to the risk posed
- we should identify any costs resulting from our decisions and keep these to a minimum
- we make sure that our rules and conditions are joined up and implemented fairly, so that we give stability and certainty to the organisations that we regulate
- by making sure that our regulatory activities focus on addressing the problem, and by setting clear, unambiguous targets, we minimise any unintended consequences
- we have open communication channels with other qualifications regulators across the UK and work collaboratively where appropriate to do so
- good working relationships help us to manage potential regulatory burden and avoid unnecessary duplication
There are four main categories of regulatory documents that underpin our work recognising, regulating, monitoring and enforcing qualifications and awarding bodies. You can view a full list of them here.
Our Regulatory Glossary of Terms explains commonly used terms in our regulatory and supporting documents.