1. Review of the qualification

Approval for HTQs will be indefinite until approval is withdrawn. IfATE can review approved qualifications at any time after approval. We reserve the right to withdraw approval at any time because of a review, or concerns that a qualification no longer meets our approval criteria.

The first review for approved HTQs is anticipated to take place by the fifth anniversary of approval. IfATE reserves the right, at its discretion, to change the frequency of HTQ reviews.

We will set out a full process for formal reviews in due course, 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 of formal reviews, there will be additional opportunities for changes to approved qualifications either initiated by applicants or in response to revisions to occupational standards.

Formal reviews and changes to approved qualifications will be reviewed against the latest approvals criteria. This may differ from the criteria which the original application was submitted against.

2. Changing qualifications

During the lifecycle of a HTQ, changes may be required to ensure a qualification remains fit for purpose and continues to align to the most up to date employer requirements. IfATE 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 approved HTQ(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 may impact the qualification’s ongoing approval. There is a requirement for a proposal of any major change(s) to be submitted to IfATE 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 a regulator. 

Changes proposed by applicants

In instances where an applicant wishes to make a major change to their qualification, the applicant must ensure that IfATE has approved the proposed change(s). Applicants should submit proposed change(s) using the change application form. There is also an offline reference version of the change form.

Applicants must ensure they provide sufficient detail within their change proposal to allow IfATE to fully consider the change(s) being proposed. Upon receipt of a change proposal, IfATE will aim to provide a response within 8 weeks of the date of receipt. In response, IfATE will issue a change request which triggers the commencement of the applicant’s internal change process. Upon receipt of a change request from IfATE, it is the responsibility of the applicant to update and submit materials in a timely manner. 

Changes initiated by IfATE

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

Adjustments do not result in a material change to the occupational standard and are used to make minor amendments such as updating the type of coding language used in industry.

Revisions are used to make material changes to an occupational standard which result in a change to an occupational map or occupational competency of learners. A revision could result in the addition or removal of KSBs from an occupational standard.

Applicants are required to complete and submit changes initiated by IfATE, along with any accompanying employer evidence, within 6 months from the date of the change request being sent by IfATE. Failure to submit within 6 months (unless agreed directly with IfATE) puts at risk the ongoing approval status of the qualification, which could affect funding. 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 IfATE at the earliest opportunity, outlining the exceptional reasons as to why an extension to these timeframes should be considered. 

3. Additional Information

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 IfATE aware of this as part of their submission. 

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

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

Once internal review and approval actions are completed by IfATE, 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. 

Last updated 29 November 2023
(SW, NS)