Plans to move forward with the proposed simplified external quality assurance (EQA) system have been announcedThe consultation response has been published alongside the announcement

The Institute has today announced that it will move to a new simplified EQA system following a public consultation earlier this year. The changes will see EQA delivered by Ofqual or, for integrated degree apprenticeships, the Office for Students (OfS), with the first step to the new system to be in October.

A consultation on the proposals was launched in February 2020, receiving a wide range of responses from stakeholders and the Institute has taken time to listen and take all views into account.

The Institute will retain oversight of the system, and EQA will still be delivered within the Institute’s framework. The Institute will continue to have a statutory responsibility to evaluate the quality of end-point assessments.

Contributions from the consultation have helped to strengthen the initial proposal. For instance, responses were very clear about the importance of retaining and indeed strengthening the employer voice in ensuring the quality of apprenticeship assessment. 

The Institute will also set up a new directory of professional and employer-led organisations for Ofqual and OfS to draw on industry expertise. This keeps employers at the heart of protecting quality in apprenticeships.

Employers with a deep knowledge of their occupation will work together with Ofqual and OfS to share intelligence and quality assure apprenticeships. This will give every employer confidence that their apprentice finishes with the right skills for that occupation.

The consultation highlighted a need for flexibility in the transition timetable, particularly while organisations are responding to the effects of COVID-19.

Ofqual and OfS will transition apprenticeships across to them over a two-year period. They will communicate closely with end-point assessment organisations to ensure that apprenticeship delivery is uninterrupted. The current EQA providers will also work alongside Ofqual to ensure a well-managed transition.

The full response document published can be read on the Institute’s website.

Chief executive at the Institute, Jennifer Coupland, said:

“We believe that the new system will be stronger and much simpler for end-point assessment organisations. Most importantly it will ensure quality for apprentices.

“I’d like to thank all those who took the time to respond to our consultation and we now look forward to taking the next steps.”

Sally Collier, chief regulator of Ofqual, said:

“We welcome this decision, which we hope will increase confidence in the apprenticeship system and provide clarity and consistency for employers and end point assessment organisations (EPAOs). Taking on board the insights from respondents, we will proactively engage with EPAOs making clear our requirements and how we will work with them. The opportunities these simplified arrangements bring to work with professional bodies and employers, drawing on their perspective and occupational expertise as we do in our regulation of many other qualifications, is something we particularly welcome”