This guidance applies to all final decisions taken by the Institute after 4 April 2022. Please contact us if you require a copy of the guidance which applies to final decisions taken before this date. We will continue to review this guidance regularly.

This guidance sets out how Procedural Review operates. We recommend you read this guidance in full before submitting any Procedural Review request.

1. What is Procedural Review?

  1. We aim to get our decisions right first time, every time. However, we know that sometimes people may disagree with how we reached that decision. Therefore, in certain circumstances we will review our decision-making processes. This is known as Procedural Review and is separate from our complaints procedure.
  2. Procedural Review is managed by our legal team, who are supported by relevant Institute colleagues. Where a Procedural Review request is eligible, it will be considered in detail by a member of staff not involved in the original decision. A panel made up the Institute’s Chief Executive Officer and one or more of the Institute’s Deputy Directors will then decide whether your request should be granted and the decision should be made afresh.
  3. Procedural Review can be requested in respect of final Institute decisions.
  4. Requests for Procedural Review should be based on one or more of the following reasons:
    • we failed to follow our published processes and such failure could have led to a different decision; and/or
    • we overlooked or misunderstood relevant information and if we hadn’t, this could have led to a different decision; and/or
    • we considered irrelevant information and if we hadn’t, this could have led to a different decision; and/or
    • we made a decision when we did not have the power to do so.
  5. You should not submit a request for Procedural Review if you simply do not agree with our decision or want to ask for a new decision based on new evidence.

2. Who can request Procedural Review?

  1. Trailblazer groups and those organisations who have submitted applications for Institute approval of a technical qualification can request Procedural Review. The Institute will not accept requests brought by anyone else.
  2. Trailblazers can request a review of any final decision of the Institute.
  3. Organisations who have submitted applications for Institute approval of a qualification can only request a review of final decisions related to the approval of technical qualification(s).

3. How do I request Procedural Review?

  1. To request Procedural Review, you must send us a completed Procedural Review request form (found below). We ordinarily do not accept requests initiated in other ways, such as from other members of Institute staff. However, please let us know if you cannot provide your request via the form as we may be able to offer you assistance.
  2. You should explain clearly in the Procedural Review request form:
    • why you think that something in the decision-making process went wrong, referring to one or more of the reasons set out in paragraph 4; and
    • why you think that this could have had an impact on our decision.
  3. You should submit evidence supporting your request wherever possible.
  4. When explaining why the decision was wrong, you may find it helpful to review our published processes for our most frequent decisions:
  5. You must send us your Procedural Review request form (and any supporting evidence) within the timeframes set out in paragraph 15.

4. What are the timeframes for requesting Procedural Review?

  1. You must email us (PROCEDURALREVIEW@education.gov.uk) within 10 working days of the final decision to let us know that you intend to seek a review.
  2. You must email your completed request form and all relevant supporting evidence to PROCEDURALREVIEW@education.gov.uk within 25 working days of the final decision.
  3. If you think you will be unable to meet these timeframes, please let us know as soon as possible and explain why an extension is needed. We will consider extension requests on a case-by-case basis.
  4. We will write to you acknowledging receipt. We aim to do this within 2 working days of receiving your request form.
  5. We aim to complete all reviews within eight weeks of receiving your request form and all relevant supporting evidence. We will let you know if this is not going to be possible.

5. When will a Procedural Review request be eligible?

    1. The first stage in dealing with a Procedural Review request is to decide if it is eligible for review. Your request will be eligible if:

a) it is submitted within the timeframes set out in paragraphs 14 and 15; and

b) we are satisfied that it is based on one or more of the reasons set out in paragraph 4.

  1. We will carry out an initial assessment to determine whether your request is based on one or more of the reasons set out in this guidance (at paragraph 4). This assessment is made by the Institute’s legal team. We will not conduct a review if, after our initial assessment, we are satisfied that your request is clearly not capable of establishing that something went wrong in the decision-making process and/or that it could have impacted the outcome.
  2. If your request is not eligible, we will decline it and we will write to you explaining the next steps.
  3. To assist, fictional examples of eligible/ineligible requests are set out at the end of this document.

6. Conducting the Procedural Review

  1. If we agree to conduct a review, we will write to you to let you know that your request has been allocated to an Independent Reviewer.
  2. An Independent Reviewer is a member of staff at the Institute who was not involved in the original decision. Their job is to investigate the specific issues raised in your Procedural Review request. If they identify any other important issues as part of their investigation, they will also explore these. They will then prepare a report which contains a recommendation on whether the Procedural Review request should be granted.
  3. Once the report is complete, there will be a meeting of the Procedural Review Panel (‘the Panel’). The Panel is comprised of the Institute’s Chief Executive Officer and one or more of the Institute’s Deputy Directors who were not involved in the original decision.
  4. The Panel will review your Procedural Review request, the Independent Reviewer’s report and recommendation, as well as any other relevant documents. They will then make a decision on whether your request (or parts of it) should be granted.
  5. The Panel will grant your Procedural Review request if they decide that it is more likely than not that something went wrong in the decision-making process and that this could have impacted the outcome.
  6. If the Panel decide that your Procedural Review request should be granted, you will be offered the opportunity to have the decision made afresh by someone not involved in the original decision. If the Panel decides not to grant your Procedural Review request we will write to you explaining why they reached that decision.
  7. We aim to write to you within 7 working days of the Panel meeting to let you know the outcome of your request. This represents the end of the review process.

7. Procedural Review request form

Download the form

8. Examples of eligible Procedural Review requests

Example 1

Reason for Procedural Review request being eligible: evidence indicating a possibility that the Institute failed to follow its published processes and such failure could have led to a different decision

You are an awarding organisation and seek a review of the Institute’s decision to decline to approve your qualification as a Higher Technical Qualification (HTQ). Your request is made on the basis that the decision was made without scrutiny by the relevant Route Panel of employers as stated in the Institute’s published process.

The legal team conduct an initial assessment which suggests that it is unclear whether the Route Panel played any part in the approvals process. It is possible that had the correct process been followed that the decision may have been different. Your request is deemed eligible and proceeds to the review stage.

Example 2

Reason for Procedural Review request being eligible: the Institute considered irrelevant information and if it hadn’t, this could have led to a different decision

You are a trailblazer group and the Institute rejects your occupation proposal. You are concerned that the Institute’s decision was based on an incomplete version of the proposal, which contained inaccurate information, and submit a Procedural Review request on this basis.

The legal team conduct an initial assessment which suggests it is unclear whether the final version of your occupation proposal was considered and that out-of-date information may have been relied on when reaching a decision. It is possible that if the correct version of the occupation proposal had been considered, it would have been approved. Your request is deemed eligible and proceeds to the review stage.

Example 3

Reason for Procedural Review request being eligible: The Institute overlooked or misunderstood relevant information and if it hadn’t, this could have led to a different decision.

You are a trailblazer group and request a review of a final funding band recommendation. Your request is submitted on the basis that the Institute did not use all the information you submitted during the process.

The legal team conduct an initial assessment and find some evidence that you submitted during the funding band process may have been overlooked. Your request is deemed eligible and proceeds to the review stage.

9. Examples of ineligible Procedural Review requests

Example 4

Reason for Procedural Review request being ineligible: no evidence of something going wrong in the decision-making process

You are a trailblazer group and seek a review of the Institute’s decision to decline to approve your occupational standard. You think that this is because the Approvals and Funding Committee which made the decision were biased but do not provide any explanation or supporting evidence with your request.

The legal team conduct an initial assessment which concludes that there is no indication or evidence of bias. Your request is deemed ineligible because it is not capable of establishing that something went wrong in the decision-making process

Example 5

Reason for Procedural Review request being ineligible: failure to follow process was immaterial

You are an awarding organisation and the Institute has recently declined to approve your HTQ. The Institute had committed to letting you know an outcome by a specific date but missed this deadline by one day. You submit a Procedural Review request on the basis of a failure to follow a published process.

Whilst the initial assessment establishes that this error did occur, there is no evidence that this minor delay affected the Institute’s approval decision or caused any issues for the awarding organisation. The legal team are satisfied that your request is not capable of establishing that the error could have impacted the outcome and your request is deemed ineligible.

Example 6

Reason for Procedural Review request being ineligible: no evidence of the Institute failing to follow its process/failing to take relevant information into account

You are a trailblazer group and the Institute has recently made a decision to recommend a funding band for the apprenticeship which you have been involved in developing. You think that there must have been a miscalculation which has led to a low funding band and submit a request on the basis that the Institute has not followed its process and/or failed to take relevant information into account.

The initial assessment reveals that the recommendation was based on the value of the lowest moderated quote, as per the Institute’s published process and there is no indication of any error. The legal team are satisfied that your Procedural Review request is not capable of establishing that something went wrong and your request is deemed ineligible.

Example 7

Reason for Procedural Review request being ineligible: no evidence of something going wrong in the decision-making process

You are a trailblazer group and the Institute has recently made a decision to recommend a funding band for the apprenticeship which you have been involved in developing. You think that the funding band is too low and will result in training providers and employers being unwilling to engage with this apprenticeship. You submit a request on this basis.

The legal team conduct an initial assessment and conclude that this is new information that should have been made available previously and that your request is not based on one of the reasons set out in the guidance. Therefore, your request is deemed ineligible.