Coronavirus Update - 06 March 2020
Following the recent Government announcement regarding Covid-19, we’d like to update you on the steps that SQA Accreditation has been taking as the regulator and what this means for our approved awarding bodies, other stakeholders and qualifications being brought forward for accreditation.
Our priority will always be the health and safety of our employees and stakeholders and this includes candidates and learners. We advise everyone where possible to follow up to date Government advice on the ever evolving situation and take actions that keep everyone safe.
Right now the current advice is to stay at home.
What is SQA Accreditation doing?
Under the current circumstances SQA Accreditation has mobilised its workforce to enable all staff to work from home and we have the systems and technologies in place to continue to engage and communicate both internally as a team and with external stakeholders.
So what does this mean?
We are aware that previous key activities which may have been conducted face to face such as audits and centre visits will now not be able to go ahead until the foreseeable future, however, we are exploring different ways of working and keeping in touch. Where you were expecting a face to face audit with a member of staff in the near future a relevant team member should be in touch to discuss the viability of options and/or alternative arrangements.
We have varied our Accreditation Licence with each of the awarding bodies that we regulate to better facilitate the exchange of key Licence documentation to maintain business as usual as best we can. We hope you will see this as a sensible approach given the current situation.
We are also still open for the submission of qualification products and qualification accreditation submissions. These should be made via the usual routes and will be escalated to our weekly Accreditation Coordination Group which is still convening weekly on a virtual and remote basis.
New awarding body
Where an applicant organisation has requested to become an awarding body we are still reviewing these requests and processing checks, however, we may need to prioritise these in alignment with our risk strategy.
We are also taking this time to reflect upon processes and working practices in collaboration with other regulators across the UK, who are also facing similar obstacles in relation to overcoming the months that lie ahead that lie ahead.
Of course it is a difficult time that we all face but please be aware that we continue to be available via email, phone and also alternative methods such as Skype and My Teams, so if you need to get in contact with us then please do.
We are currently considering the implications that the current situation will have on accredited qualifications. We recognise that for some qualifications eg First Aid at Work, that it may no longer be possible to deliver these given the reliance on face to face teaching. Of course where it is permissible to deliver and assess a qualification online then this could be considered.
We are also aware that for some qualifications, eg SVQs, that assessment, in most cases, will have come to a halt given the instruction to remain at home. We will update you in due course once we have come to a conclusion on our thinking. In the meantime, however, we would encourage you to share any concerns or problems which you may have with regards to the delivery of your accredited qualifications.
If providers are operating then they should also consider how they might adapt their delivery and assessment practice wherever circumstances will allow and in accordance with Awarding Body/assessment strategy guidance. Remote external verification should be considered in such circumstances.
We are also carrying out an exercise to identify those qualifications which are due to lapse within the next 6 months. Our intention would be to extend these qualifications, on your behalf, to minimise your workload at this difficult time. We will shortly be in touch with those awarding bodies which have qualifications due to lapse in the next 6 months and to agree with you the extensions. If there is a replacement qualification available then we would still require a reaccreditation submission.
As we approach the end of the final quarter, we will be approaching you for your data returns. If this is going to prove problematic then it would be appreciated if you can advise us as soon as possible
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