What is an Approved Centre?

An Approved Centre is an organisation, which having met the regulatory authority’s criteria is approved by Awarding Organisations to offer assessment and verification of VQs.

The role of an Approved Centre includes:

  • Managing assessment and verification on a day-to-day basis.
  • Registration and certification of candidates.
  • Having effective assessment practices and internal quality assurance procedures.
  • Meeting Awarding Organisation requirements for qualification delivery.
  • Having sufficient competent Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers with enough time and authority to carry out their roles effectively.

Extensions to existing approval

Any approved centre wishing to extend its existing approval for a full VQ or any individual units must complete the ‘Application for Additional ECITB Scheme Approval ‘ (VQ001c form) and VQ002 forms for the proposed assessment team. The focus of the awarding organisation/body in considering the application must be on whether the centre can comply with the qualification specific requirements and, in particular, the competence and occupational experience of assessors and internal quality assurers, together with the centre’s ability to provide access to the required assessment opportunities for the candidates.

A visit to the centre will normally be required to confirm a new approval; however where no visit is considered necessary the centre will be required to provide sufficient evidence to support its application. The records will be retained for audit purposes.

Quality Control

An ECITB external quality assurer will visit the approved centre to ensure that the assessment team and the approved centre systems and procedures are operating in accordance with the approval criteria.

Only when the approved centre can demonstrate that the accreditation criteria have been fully satisfied will they be permitted to submit claims for candidate certificates.

Where the Awarding Organisation quality assurance activities provide evidence that a centre is failing to meet the full requirements of the approved centre criteria the Awarding Organisation will institute procedures to maintain the integrity of the award. These procedures will be commensurate with the problem and will require set dates when corrective actions must be completed. A tariff of sanctions that will be applied by the Awarding Organisation can be found within Section 11 of the QCF Quality Assurance Procedures Manual.

Where any approved centre has its approval formally withdrawn the Awarding Organisation will inform the relevant regulator. Information that will be provided to the regulator will include the:

  • centre’s registration number
  • name and address of centre
  • title, level, identifier number and name of the qualification/s being withdrawn

Where due cause is confirmed the ECITB Awarding Organisation reserves the right to refuse or rescind any approved centre status. The approved centre will have the right thereafter to invoke the appeals procedures where they disagree with the decision of the Awarding Organisation.