Are you reducing technical qualification support for customers?
Definitely not. Our top priority is making sure that our customers deliver the best quality service for learners. So this is not about lowering technical qualification knowledge or reducing quality assurance. It's about a system that does two things - responds to the changes being driven by the regulators, and at the same time helps us provide a level of service that exceeds our customers' expectations.
Is this an exercise to cut costs because of poor financial performance?
No, although every educational organisation obviously has to look closely at costs in the current climate. Just like our customers and our competitors, we need to be careful about how we spend money. And as a charity we need to be even more certain that what we spend is to the ultimate benefit of our customers.
So this risk-based model is about supporting our customers more efficiently and effectively - allocating resources where they are most needed. It offers each of our centres a more consistent, wider range of activities for development and support.
In a move to be more commercial, will this impact on Consultants (External Verifiers)?
We are still finalising the new External Verifier structure, but one thing is for certain that we will still need System, Technical and Monitoring & Standardisation Consultants in the new model.
What is the centre monitoring rating based on?
Each centre's rating is based on three things - the qualification risk ratings, local knowledge of the centre and track record (past QMS reports), and the risk identified in the CQR.
What are the possible qualification ratings?
There are three qualification risk ratings - low, medium and high. They closely map to the NVQ Code of Practice tariff of sanctions where 0-1 is low, 2 is medium and 3a / 3b are high risk.
What does it mean if we get a high centre monitoring rating?
The rating determines the number and type of activities the centre receives. So a high-risk centre's activities will be more rigorous and supportive. A charge may be incurred for quality assurance activities, but this will be discussed with the local office and the centre prior to any activity being carried out.
Who knows a centre's monitoring rating?
Only the individual centre and ourselves. It is for City & Guilds Group internal use only.
How are you implementing the new model and proposition?
We are developing a new IT system, and training all relevant City & Guilds internal staff and Consultants in the system and its processes. Then we are rolling it out to centres over the next two years. Your centre's representatives will be offered training during the roll-out period, and your local office will give you continuous support.
When is it happening?
For consultants, the new ‘Quality’ section in the Walled Garden will be available late 2012.
Centres will be given access to the new screens on the Walled Garden in a phased roll out over the course of three months Exact dates to be confirmed.
How long do we have to hold onto the candidates' portfolios, if for that particular qualification no Quality Assurance Sampling activities are scheduled?
There's no change to this requirement. Remember that the portfolio of evidence is the candidate's property and remains theirs when they leave the centre. You should ideally retain the portfolios until the next sampling activity, but where this isn't possible you must make candidates aware that the Consultant may need to scrutinise their portfolio at a later date.
If the candidate does not return the portfolio to the centre, you need to have all the relevant centre assessment records in place, to show the candidate's progress throughout their qualification.
If portfolios are returned to candidates, what records should we keep for three years?
There are four key elements, which are:
- assessment plans, action plans and feedback reports
- candidate interview records
- IV sampling plans, records and feedback reports
- record of achievement/tracking documents.
As a very small centre and City & Guilds customer, will I have to pay for activities?
We are allocating quality assurance support in line with the level of business you have with us. So as a very small centre you may well have to pay for some activities.
With a low-risk centre and low-risk qualifications, where the centre has direct claims status, potentially how long could a centre go for without a sampling activity?
Following the risk-based approach, it is unlikely that there would be no qualification activity; however where this is the case we would recommend sampling is carried out within a two-year period to ensure quality is maintained.