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

During the lifecycle of a Higher Technical Qualification, changes may be required to ensure a qualification remains fit for purpose and continues to align to the most up to date employer requirements. The Institute will expect applicants to make these changes in line with their own internal change processes, working in alignment with the timescales set out within this guidance. 

There are two types of changes that an applicant may choose to make to their Institute approved technical qualification(s): 

Minor changes

Minor changes do not impact on the qualification’s ongoing approval. There is no requirement for applicants to complete a change proposal for these changes. Examples of minor changes include: 

  • any change(s) to correct typos in the qualification materials
  • any change(s) to update definitions in the qualification materials
  • any change(s) to provide clarifications in the qualification materials
  • any change(s) to language in the qualification materials. Providing this does not substantially change the meaning/interpretation of the changed item 

Major changes

Major changes which may impact the qualification’s ongoing approval. There is a requirement for a proposal of such change(s) to be submitted to the institute for approval prior to the change(s) being carried out. Examples of major changes include: 

  • any change(s) to content that will impact adversely on the qualification’s coverage of knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) in the relevant occupational standard
  • any change(s) to any additional occupationally relevant content in the qualification
  • any change(s) to the qualification’s assessment method(s) 
  • any change(s) that may impact on regulatory status of the qualification, including where changes made will lead to the need for a new Qualification Number from Ofqual. 

Applicant change proposals

In instances where an applicant wishes to make a major change(s) to their qualification materials, the applicant must ensure that the Institute has first approved the proposed change(s). Applicants should submit proposed change(s) using the application form. 

Applicants must ensure they provide sufficient detail within their submission to allow the Institute to fully consider the change(s) being proposed to the qualification materials. 

Upon receipt of a change proposal, the Institute will aim to provide a response within 8 weeks of the date of receipt. In response, the Institute will issue a change request which triggers the commencement of the applicant’s internal change process. Upon receipt of a change request from the Institute, it is the responsibility of the applicant to update and submit materials in a timely manner. 

Institute change requests

Change requests may also originate from the Institute (i.e., not in response to an applicant’s change proposal). These will primarily be the result of adjustments or revisions to the associated standard or standard(s) to which the qualification aligns. 

Adjustments to standard(s), for example, to incorporate new technology or practice. Adjustments will not lead to the addition or removal of KSBs, but may lead to an amendment in focus, for example, updating the type of coding language used in industry. 

Revisions to standard(s), for example, wider scale revisions to occupation(s). These could occur if the occupation has significantly changed and could result in a standard being updated or amalgamated with another. This includes the addition or removal of KSBs. 

Applicants are required to complete and submit their changes, along with any accompanying employer evidence, within a period of no longer than 6 months from the date of the change request being received. Failure to submit within 6 months of the date of request (unless agreed directly with the Institute) puts at risk the ongoing approval status of the qualification (approval may be withdrawn), in turn threatening the qualification’s continued funding in the next academic year. 

Applicants can submit their amended materials at any point during this 6-month period, and we encourage applicants to complete and submit their changes as soon as is practical. 

If an applicant is concerned that they will not be able to amend and submit the required materials in the timescales provided, then applicants are encouraged to raise this with the Institute at the earliest opportunity, outlining the exceptional reasons as to why an extension to these timeframes should be considered.   

We will discuss any changes not described within the above process 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. 

If the changes requested are so substantial that the applicant deems it necessary to seek additional regulatory recognition (for example, if regulated by Ofqual changes to their scope of recognition or the acquisition a new qualification regulation number), the applicant should make the institute aware of this as part of their submission. 

Upon receipt of the changed materials, the Institute will confirm the timescale for the competition of our internal review activities. 

During our consideration of the qualification changes, the Institute may communicate with awarding bodies to request additional evidence, clarifications and/or amendments. Depending on the nature of these requests, the Institute reserves the right to lengthen the agreed timescales to facilitate any additional review and approval work. 

Once internal review and approval actions are completed by the Institute, we will inform the applicant of our decision. At this point we encourage applicants to promptly share the revised materials with their providers, allowing sufficient time for planning prior to first teach of the materials.