1. Review of the qualification

Approval for Higher Technical Qualifications will be indefinite until there is a withdrawal. The Institute can review approved qualifications at any time after approval. We reserve the right to withdraw approval at any time as a result of a review or concerns that a qualification no longer meets our criteria or is to detriment of employers or learners. We will set out a full process for reviews in due course. We will also keep this process under review to reflect any broader changes in the programme.

However, reviews will follow the following principles:

  • straightforward, simple, and clear: an easy process for applicants to engage with
  • proportionate: avoiding the need for applicants to provide unnecessary information or documentation that may have already been provided during the original approvals process.
  • flexible: taking account of the schedule of changes that are being made to the qualification by the applicant or as a result of employer changes to the occupational standard.

Outside this formal review point, there will be additional opportunities for changes to approved qualifications  either initiated by applicants or in response to revisions to occupational standards. These are outlined below.

2. Changing qualifications

The three primary sources of changes:

  • changes that need to be made by the applicant.
  • changes required following revisions to an occupational standard.
  • changes as a result of concerns from third parties brought to the attention of the Institute.

Applicants make changes to qualifications as part of continuous improvement. There are two types of changes, major and minor modifications which will need to be submitted to the Institute for review.

Changes that need to be made by the awarding body

Major changes

Anything beyond minor changes that may impact on the statutory test in the approvals criteria. These may include:  

  • any changes that will impact on the qualification’s coverage of knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) in the occupational standard and will therefore impact on the ability to meet the Institute’s criteria.
  • any changes to the assessment methods of the Higher Technical Qualification
  • substantial changes to any additional occupationally relevant content in the qualification (i.e., content not aligned to the occupational standard)
  • any changes to regulatory status or registration with regulatory bodies

Minor changes 

Changes which do not impact on the content of the qualification including:  

  • correcting typos in the qualification
  • updating names of components of the qualification
  • updating definitions in the qualification
  • making clarifications in the qualification
  • making language changes in the qualification

Applicants should submit changes as required. The Institute will aim to respond in around 8 weeks or will make clear in advance if longer is required. Further detail will be provided in due course.

Changes following a revision to an occupational standard

Occupational standards are revised from time to time Some of these revisions will be led by employers (e.g., due to changes in technology or practice) and some will be initiated by the Institute as part of regular reviews of standards. The Institute will inform applicants of any proposed revisions. There will be two types of changes resulting from revisions:

  • changes to the content of an occupational standard
    • For example, the addition, removal or changes to knowledge, skills, and behaviour statements. These changes reflect developments in how employers define competence in this occupation.
  • occupation changes
    • These could occur if the occupation is no longer recognised by employers or has significantly changed and could result in a standard being withdrawn or amalgamated with another.

The Institute will expect content changes to be made and submitted for approval within a year of a revised standard being published and applicant informed. The newly approved qualification should then be taught as soon as possible, in line with the applicant’s usual best practice (e.g., allowing providers at least a year with the new materials).  

We will discuss more significant changes with applicants on a case-by-case basis. This will include the timetable for withdrawing approval from the qualification if an occupational standard is to be entirely withdrawn.

Examples

Scenario 1

A qualification and standard do not require any changes from the original approval to the point of review.
Approach
Light touch process to enable approval to continue.

Scenario 2

An applicant needs to make changes in the first year of approval, but there are no changes to the standard.
Approach
The applicant obtains Institute approval for the changes and implements them in line with their usual best practice. This can be taken into account at the review point.

Scenario 3

There are no changes to the qualification or standard prior to the review point, but the applicant needs to make changes in the final year of the original approval period. There are no changes to the standard.
Approach
The applicant obtains Institute approval for the changes. The new approval period starts, and the applicant implements the changes in line with their usual best practice.

Scenario 4

Employers revise a standard and republish in the second year of approval. The changes are internal content changes to the occupational standard.
Approach
The applicant has a year to update the qualification and submit to the Institute for approval. Once approved, the applicant implements the revised qualification in line with their usual best practice. If there is a review point in the meantime, the review is subject to the completion of the changes.

Scenario 5

Employers identify that a standard is based on an occupation that has changed and needs to be withdrawn.
Approach
Institute identify when the standard will be withdrawn and agree on a point for withdrawal of approval for the qualification. This will need to take into account any review point.