Becoming a recognised awarding organisation
Organisations wishing to offer qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have to meet recognition criteria. Each recognised awarding organisation will then be able to place their qualifications on The Register – a ‘list’ of qualifications which are defined as ‘regulated’ qualifications. CCEA Accreditation will ensure all qualifications that it regulates will be subject to an accreditation requirement.
CCEA Accreditation is committed to ensuring a consistent and coherent approach to regulation across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Arrangements will be put in place to enable evidence used by one of the qualifications regulators (Ofqual, Welsh Government or CCEA) to be available to the other regulators so that applicants need not submit duplicate applications.
The following information sets out how an applicant can be recognised as an awarding organisation by CCEA Accreditation. Arrangements have been put in place to enable evidence used by one of the qualifications regulators (CCEA, Ofqual or DfES) to be available to the other regulators so that applicants need not submit duplicate applications. Please note there is no cost for this service.
What is the process?
Application Form for RecognitionPDF, 97K
It is important that an applicant and, in particular, its governing body fully consider the criteria for recognition and the general conditions of recognition and how they will apply in the context of the descriptions of qualifications that it is seeking to award. Undertaking a robust evaluation ahead of applying for recognition must be part of this consideration.
The first check will be for completeness of the application. Once the application has passed this first check CCEA Accreditation will evaluate it in line with the process set out below.
It will take a minimum of 45 working days to reach and share our decision.
The process and key steps for recognition are outlined below:
- Governing Body of the applicant assures itself it can meet the criteria and conditions of recognition before completing the application form.
- Completed application form, endorsed by the Governing Body, submitted supported by an evaluation against the conditions of recognition.
- Application is reviewed for completeness and will be rejected if incomplete. CCEA Accreditation will inform the applicant of the reasons for rejection.
- CCEA Accreditation will consider the application against the recognition criteria and will meet with representatives of the prospective awarding organisation (including its governing body) to test and validate the evidence provided and to seek clarification if required.
- Decision is communicated to applicant with an explanation if unsuccessful.
A number of decisions in relation to the application will be made. These are:
- Whether or not to recognise the applicant as an awarding organisation
If we do recognise, CCEA Accreditation will then determine:
- Which qualification descriptions the awarding organisation is recognised to award
- Whether or not the awarding organisation is subject to any specific conditions of recognition
- Whether or not the qualifications will be subject to a specific accreditation requirement
Role of the recognition criteria
The recognition criteria provide the basis upon which CCEA Accreditation determines whether or not an applicant can become recognised to award non-vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. The recognition criteria set out the broad tests to be applied in order to identify when an applicant is, and is not, suitable for recognition. Each application submitted by an applicant will be considered on its own merits and the decision will be reached based on the descriptions of qualifications for which it is seeking recognition.
The criteria are structured as follows:
- Identity, Constitution and Governance
- Resources and Finance
CCEA Accreditation will assess whether or not the application meets each of the recognition criteria by:
- evaluating whether the applicant has demonstrated that it meets each of the criteria and
- evaluating whether the applicant has demonstrated that it is capable of complying with the conditions of recognition.
As part of the application process the applicant is expected to undertake and share an evaluation of the extent to which its governing body considers it is already compliant with the conditions of recognition or how it plans to be compliant including over what time period.
Each recognised awarding organisation is subject to the general conditions of recognition and may also be subject to any specific conditions of recognition. In order to stay recognised awarding organisation will need to declare their compliance with the CCEA Accreditation conditions on an annual basis, by completing the Statement of CCEA Compliance and forwarding to firstname.lastname@example.org
Application Form for RecognitionPDF, 97K