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LEVEL 3: FAB MEMBERS HAVE THEIR SAY ON LATEST QUALIFICATIONS REFORM PROPOSALS

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The Federation has now submitted formal responses to Ofqual and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), following separate consultations on regulating Level 3 qualifications in future. (Closed 5th August 2022)

The consultations were issued by both statutory bodies, following the successful passage of the Skills and Post-16 Education Act (2022) earlier this year.

The response to Ofqual’s consultation is here and our response to IfATE’s consultation is here

Commenting on our member-led responses, FAB’s chief executive, Tom Bewick, said:

“The main verdict of the majority of FAB’s members are that these proposals are overly bureaucratic, burdensome and will be extremely costly to implement.

“As we warned during the passage of the Skills Bill, now is not the time to be introducing ‘dual regulation’ of qualifications in England. In our ‘Feel the Weight’ report (February 2022) we demonstrated how the number of quangos in this space (across the UK) since 2010, including regulatory compliance activity, has more than doubled.

“Ironically, just as Regulators have been increasing burden, the number of certificates regulated in England has fallen by 2 million in recent years; publicly funded adult participation in learning fell from 3.2 million in 2010/11 to 1.6 million in 2020/21, a decrease of 48%, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

“Meanwhile, our analysis of the headcounts of the Department for Education, Ofqual and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, reveals that they have skyrocketed since 2017; increasing by 76% (DfE); 16% (Ofqual); and 43% (IfATE) respectively.

“The Federation will be looking to the new Prime Minister from 6 September; and the Education Secretary, to call time on this costly and burdensome dual regulatory framework. It is still not too late for Ministers to suspend this aspect of the reforms. If there is concern about the ‘quality’ of existing qualifications, including the involvement of employers, then Ofqual should be tasked with integrating these changes within the existing general conditions of (AO) recognition.

“A new costly and bureaucratic superstructure, sitting over the top of Ofqual, as outlined by these proposals, is simply not required in the form being proposed. A more streamlined approach is possible.”

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