Launch Date: 16th June 2021
As an Awarding Organisation (AO), Safety Training Awards (STA) is required to inform all Approved Training Centres (ATCs) of the new regulations that the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and Qualifications Wales (QW) have introduced. These new enforceable regulations must be adhered to by all Awarding Organisations (AOs) and Approved Training Centres (ATCs) delivering, assessing and quality assuring regulated qualifications.
With Ofqual and QW enforcing these new regulations, Safety Training Awards (STA) has had to develop and maintain a Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS) Strategy for all regulated qualifications in order to mitigate compliance risks and be fully compliant by 1st September 2021.
What Does This Mean for ATCs?
The purpose of this strategy is to support ATCs with their responsibilities and set the requirements needed for ATCs making assessment judgements on behalf of STA. The strategy will ensure that all ATC assessments are subject to a form of ‘Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny’ prior to issuing results.
Definition of the term Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS):
- The process through which an awarding organisation –
- (a) periodically scrutinises the marking of assessment by a centre to ensure it has not deviated from the required standards
- (b) considers whether it is appropriate to correct any mark and, if appropriate, corrects that mark (including where changes are required under condition H2.5(b))
- (c) in line with condition H6.3(b), considers whether it is appropriate to correct any incorrect result and, if appropriate, corrects that result, and
- (d) takes action to prevent such deviation from recurring.
Ofqual definition of Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS), December 2020
The suite of regulated qualifications that may be marked by an ATC are tutor assessed or externally assessed and verified by a second marker or Internal Quality Assurer (IQA). This provides an additional quality assurance inspection of the assessment process, verifying the assessment decisions made by the tutor and / or external assessor prior to the ATC Co-ordinator submitting the course results to STA Online, which issues the results and releases the certificates to the learners who achieved competence.
The regulated qualifications that cannot be verified by an ATC as above, will be moderated by STA to ensure the standards and validity are maintained prior to issuing results and certificating the learners.
Once the assessment decisions made by the tutor and / or external assessor have been verified and quality assurance activities are complete the ATC Co-ordinator is required to submit the course results to STA Online. At this point the ATC Co-ordinator will receive a notification that the course is due for moderation and instructions will be given on how to provide the course paperwork to Safety Training Awards for verification purposes.
More information regarding moderations can be found in the ATC Manual – pg.28-30 ‘The Structure of External Quality Assurance- Safety Training Awards Moderation Procedures’.
Please note: ATC’s are required to consistently meet the ATC approval requirements and qualification standards prior to being given the ability to mark assessments, issue results and certificate learners.
Further information regarding the processes above may be found in the Approved Training Centre (ATC) manual – ‘Centre Quality Assurance’ pages 24-26, 28-30, 40-41. The manual is available on our website or you can request a copy by contacting us.
The table below shows the suite of regulated qualifications that may be marked by an ATC and the regulated qualifications that cannot be verified by an ATC and will be moderated by Safety Training Awards prior to certification.
Assessments marked by an ATC
Assessments Moderated by Safety Training Awards
When an ATC has been approved to mark assessments, STA will continue to monitor their performance by carrying out annual monitoring activities. This will be done using a risk-based approach and randomly sampling the ATC’s evidence.
All ATC’s will be subject to enhanced verification over a period of time; however, the frequency and methods used will differ depending on the suite of qualifications they are approved to deliver.
Further information can be found in the Approved Training Centre (ATC) manual or in the Safety Training Awards Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS) Strategy. Both documents are available on our website, or you can request a copy by contacting us.
Safety Training Awards Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS) Implementation and ATC Support
To support all ATCs with the mandatory changes, Safety Training Awards Qualification Development Team have developed a series of bite size training videos to explain in detail how assessments must be marked and verified prior to the ATC Co-ordinator submitting the results via STA Online. The training videos are a useful support tool and will be available on the Safety Training Awards website and YouTube channel for ease of access. The videos will continually be updated to reflect the qualifications current assessment methods.
We would highly recommend that all ATC staff watch the recordings for the approved qualifications they deliver, assess, and quality assure. It would also be best practice for ATCs to arrange regular standardisation sessions with all ATC staff to ensure the requirements are fully understood and the required standards are consistently achieved.
What are the Next Steps?
Due to the regulatory changes Safety Training Awards require all existing ATCs to read, agree and sign a revised Approved Training Centre Agreement, which confirms the ATC agrees to adhere to all mandatory requirements.
Once this agreement has been signed, we will grant the ATC centre approval for a three-year period. At the end of the three-year period a centre approval review will be carried out, this is called ‘Time Limited Approval’. At this stage we will review the ATCs performance and compliance history since approval and decide if centre approval may be granted for an additional three-year period – this will be communicated with the ATC Co-ordinator, please refer to the Approved Training Centre Manual, pg.8 Centre Approval for more information.
To further support ATCs in maintaining compliance with the regulations, we have also developed revised Tutor, Assessor and IQA Agreements. We would highly recommend that the ATC Co-ordinator advises all ATC staff to read, agree, and sign the revised agreement and upload it to the ATCs staff record within Synergy.
It is a mandatory requirement for all existing ATCs to accept the revised ATC Agreement. Approval may be withdrawn from an ATC if the revised agreement is not accepted.
Compliance with Safety Training Awards Centre Assessment Standards Scrutiny (CASS) Requirements
For STA to maintain compliance with the new enforceable regulatory requirements, it is essential that we monitor all ATCs and gather evidence to showcase they have effective procedures in place. The evidence STA collates must show that all ATCs are consistently achieving the required standards to maintain their compliance with STA’s approval criteria and the qualification standards.
To uphold our compliance responsibilities as an AO, STA will be required to apply sanctions if ATCs fail to comply. Where an ATC continues to be non-compliant with STA’s requirements, this may result in their centre approval status being withdrawn, preventing the ATC from delivering and assessing STA regulated qualifications.