The Institute reviews apprenticeship standards at regular intervals to determine if they should be revised or withdrawn. Our current method of reviews looks at apprenticeship standards (both individually and in relation to other apprenticeship standards in the same route) as part of a route review.

In certain circumstances, there is no need for trailblazer groups (or others) to postpone proposing necessary changes to an approved apprenticeship standard until the next route review.

To make sure we are taking a proportionate approach to making changes to apprenticeship standards, we have developed a revisions and adjustments process. This is for use when trailblazer groups, and sometimes others (with the support of trailblazer groups), alert us that a standard ought to be considered for change.

The revisions and adjustments process looks at the complete apprenticeship standard, identifying whether any changes to any or all the following components may be necessary or appropriate:

  • the Occupational Standard;
  • the End-Point Assessment Plan; and
  • the Funding Band.

The Revisions and Adjustments Process sets out the way in which the Institute considers whether to support the work required to make a revision or adjustment to an approved apprenticeship standard.

Of course, a revision and/or adjustment may arise outside of the Revisions and Adjustments Process by way of:

  1. A route review: a formal, scheduled review of multiple apprenticeship standards within a route;
  2. Changes or clarifications to the delivery of an apprenticeship standard (i.e. in respect of end point assessments, in one of the ways set out in the External Quality Assurance (‘EQA’) Framework); or
  3. An End Point Assessment (‘EPA’) ‘dispensation’ (exemption from a rule or usual requirement): a change or clarification to the content or delivery of an EPA which has been allowed by the Institute to protect the interests of apprentices on-programme.

1. Step 1 – The hard threshold

We have to balance the need to keep apprenticeship standards as up to date as possible against the need to ensure stability for employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations, and apprentices themselves. Too many changes coming hot on each other’s heels can cause confusion and frustration.

When someone tells either the trailblazer group or the Institute that  a revision or adjustment may be needed to the way an apprenticeship is working, and that the issue might be resolved by revising an aspect of the apprenticeship standard, the first step is for an Institute official to apply the following thresholds in deciding whether or not the Institute should consider taking further steps under the Revisions and Adjustments process. The Institute will not normally consider supporting the work to make a proposed revision or adjustment unless:

  • a route review has not yet been announced or initiated in respect of the relevant apprenticeship standard; and
  • learners are likely to be detrimentally affected (e.g. they couldn’t complete an EPA or wouldn’t be fully competent or able to practise in the occupation having completed the apprenticeship) before any revisions arising from the next route review could be implemented.

We are also unlikely to consider supporting the work to make a proposed revision or adjustment unless:

  • the apprenticeship standard has been ‘live’ (with or without starts) for at least 12 months (essential for a funding-only revision request).

In the cases of any revisions or adjustments being made to any apprenticeship standards where it is not judged that at least one of these thresholds has been met, the individual who initiated the request will be informed by an Institute official that no further action will be taken.

If you are a provider, an employer or someone else involved with the apprenticeship, and you think a revision or adjustment should be considered, then in the first instance you should approach either the trailblazer contact or the relevant EQA Provider (whose details are published on the Institute’s website). If the trailblazer group has dissolved or cannot be contacted, please approach the Institute’s Standards Development Team, who will direct you to the right relationship manager to help you. In line with our principle of apprenticeship design being employer-led, we expect trailblazers to be the key driver for most changes. Any change to an apprenticeship standard which amounts to a revision should have been developed by a trailblazer group.

Please note that final decisions about whether or not to revise an apprenticeship standards will be taken by the Institute’s Approvals & Funding Committee at the conclusion of the Institute’s approvals process The Institute’s route panels will feed their advice into that process.

2. Step 2 – Refining the request

The next step in the revisions and adjustments process is that the trailblazer group or an Institute official (depending on the origin of the request) will be asked to complete a revision request form. This should be sent to the dedicated Institute revisions mailbox.

3. Step 3 – Decision

We will consider every revision and adjustment request raised with us. We will bring together the evidence contained in the revision request form, the data we hold about the apprenticeship and, where appropriate, other similar apprenticeships. If the issue is raised by someone who isn’t the trailblazer chair, we will also seek employer insights via the trailblazer group. We will scrutinise all of this evidence to decide whether the Institute should consider supporting any revisions and/or adjustments to the apprenticeship standard, and if so, whether changes to  any or all of the Occupational Standard, End-Point Assessment and/or Funding Band is required. A decision framework will be used to record what was decided, the broad reasons why, and whether or not the proposed revisions and/or adjustments will proceed through our approvals process.

The Institute is likely to support the initiation of work to carry out a proposed revision or adjustment that, in the opinion of the Institute, meets at least one of these criteria:

  • The occupational standard has diverged from the reality of the occupation
  • New, hard restrictions have been placed on who can enter or practise in the occupation and the apprenticeship standard needs to change to accommodate these
  • Specified changes have been proposed to enable or improve the delivery of the apprenticeship standard
  • Providers are unable to deliver the off the job training and/or end-point assessment for the apprenticeship standard or within the current funding band
  • Training is only being delivered by a few providers on a large scale or in a specific region because of the content of the apprenticeship standard or the current funding band
  • Training providers are reducing the quality of the training they were planning to offer to meet funding constraints, or asking for employer top-ups to avoid doing this
  • The number of starts is significantly different to expectations

We will also assess whether or not the proposed changes amount to a ‘revision’ or an ‘adjustment’ against the following definitions:

Revision

Changes to a published apprenticeship standard and/or assessment plan which:

  1. alter the description of the occupation to which the standard relates and/or;
  2. alter the outcomes that those undertaking the apprenticeship will be seeking to attain and/or;
  3. alter any of the key matters which the Institute took into account when it first approved the apprenticeship standard or assessment plan; and/or
  4. may result in the alteration of the funding band.

A non-exhaustive list of examples of changes which might constitute revisions is as follows:

Potential revisions usually requiring a new version

  • Amending the occupational profile
  • Significantly revising duties/KSBs/options/qualifications (NB significant revision is considered to be anything that has the potential to add to or alter the scope or demand of the occupational standard)
  • Adding or removing duties/KSBs/mandatory qualifications
  • Changes to the purpose or content of the qualification which affect the criteria against which it was originally approved
  • Changing the level of the apprenticeship standard
  • Changing the criteria for end-point assessment (e.g. changing the duration of an assessment method, the grading criteria, gateway or assessor requirements)

Potential revisions not usually requiring a new version

  • Adding additional options to a core and options standard
  • Changing the duration of the apprenticeship standard
  • Changing entry requirements that fall outside the criteria for an adjustment
  • Changing the occupational title

Revisions should have been developed by a trailblazer group and be approved by the Institute’s  approvals process.

Adjustment  

Minor amendments (e.g clarification or minor correction, such as typographical errors) to any component part of a published apprenticeship standard, which do not meet the definition for a Revision set out above. Some examples of changes which might constitute adjustments are as follows:

  • Typo corrections
  • Adding points of clarification (e.g. this may include adding an example; it does not include redrafting of a duty or KSB, as this may have a wider occupational impact)
  • Updating the name of a mandated qualification, but not its content (NB this must be a straight switch of title, with the content and structure of the qualification unchanged)
  • Changes in relationship to professional recognition where there is no impact on the duties, KSBs or the substance of the end-point assessment
  • Revisions to mandated qualification ‘meta-data’ that does not change the purpose or content of the qualification (e.g. GLH/TQT, Level, SSA code, awarding organisations)
  • Changes to English and maths entry requirements, specifically in cases where the published requirements exceed the minimum required by apprenticeships policy

Adjustments do not need to be approved in line with the Institute’s  approvals process.

Once we have decided that the Institute should support work being undertaken to make revisions and/or adjustments, we will inform the individual who initiated the request, and then seek confirmation from the trailblazer group that they are happy to carry out the work required. Assuming the trailblazer group is willing, we will proceed to work with them and others to draft the revisions and/or adjustments which are proposed to the apprenticeship standard. If the trailblazer group does not feel able to support this work, we will either review the decision to support the work entailed in making the proposed changes, or perhaps work to commission a new trailblazer group to take the work forward.

We will also inform the relevant route panel about what is happening, and they will be invited to provide advice, if relevant, to the trailblazer group to inform the development process. If the RP raises significant objections, we will discuss these with the trailblazer group who will consider whether they still want to proceed.

4. Step 4 – Development and Approval

If a Revision is proposed for the apprenticeship standard, it will go through our normal employer led apprenticeship standards development and approvals processes – just like it would if it were a new apprenticeship standard. Any change to Funding Bands (once approved by the Approval and Funding Committee) will go as a recommendation to the Secretary of State in the ordinary way.  

If approved, changes will be introduced following a transition plan that has been agreed with the trailblazer group.

5. Next Steps

If you are a trailblazer group and want to propose an apprenticeship standard to be considered for revision or adjustment, first contact the Institute so that we can check that at least one of the ‘hard threshold’ criteria is met. If we are able to proceed, you will need to submit a “revision request” form, found here. We will usually direct other individuals proposing a revision or adjustment to contact the trailblazer group in the first instance.

Whilst completing the form you will need to indicate which part(s) of the apprenticeship standard (occupational profile/end-point assessment/funding band) you believe might need to be revised or adjusted.  You are required to briefly explain the issue you are experiencing, including any evidence or information you feel supports your position. You should bear in mind, of course, that while you may only wish one part to be revised or adjusted, it may be necessary for us to consider one or more parts.

The evidence and information provided alongside the “revision request” form will help us decide what the best option is for your standard. All information put forward will be considered when we make our decision.

6. Procedural Reviews

You may seek a Procedural Review in connection with any final decision taken by the Institute. Final decisions in relation to the Revisions and Adjustments process may include:

  1. a decision not to progress with the revisions and adjustments process, and
  2. decisions made as part of the approvals process prior to any Secretary of State decision about funding.

Where a final decision has been made in connection with a revision or adjustment those who made the request will be notified so that they can consider whether to seek a Procedural Review of the decision.

Time frames for submitting a Procedural Review and details of the ground which must be met for a Procedural Review to be granted  can be found in our Procedural Review guidance.