Awarding organisations: understanding our regulatory requirements

Find out what regulatory requirements apply to your awarding organisation and your qualifications.

All awarding organisations must continually meet Ofqual’s regulatory requirements - the rules we set to make sure qualifications are valid and fit for purpose.

There are 2 main types of requirements. Those that apply to:

  • all awarding organisations and all regulated qualifications
  • specific types of regulated qualification

We also sometimes place additional requirements on individual awarding organisations; we call these special conditions. For example we might choose to apply a special condition to make sure an awarding organisation follows through on commitments they made when applying to be recognised by us.

Requirements for all awarding organisations and all regulated qualifications

All awarding organisations must meet certain rules, regardless of what qualifications they offer. Most of these are set out in our General Conditions of Recognition, but some more detailed requirements are in supporting documents:

Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)

In September 2015, we introduced our new Regulated Qualifications Framework. We did this by publishing new General Conditions of Recognition which require all awarding organisations to take a consistent approach to determining the level, and describing the size, of all regulated qualifications.

These new General Conditions are supported by:

Supporting guidance

We have also published guidance to the General Conditions of Recognition. This is designed to help awarding organisations understand how to comply with our requirements.

Qualification-specific requirements

There are also additional rules that apply to:

  • all qualifications of a particular type (for example, all GCSEs graded 9 to 1)
  • individual qualifications (for example, functional skills English)

These qualifications have qualification-specific requirements:

Many of these rules are set out in formal documents we call ‘Regulatory Documents’. All current Regulatory Documents are set out in our Regulatory Documents List.

Other requirements

The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 requires us to set and publish criteria which awarding organisations must use when deciding whether a qualification is ‘relevant’ for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008 (that is, whether young people might take that qualification to discharge their duty to participate in education or training).

We have published our criteria in Criteria for determining whether a qualification is relevant for the purposes of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

Regulating national assessments

Our role is to make sure that the:

  • assessments are valid and fit for purpose
  • assessments are fair and manageable
  • standards are properly set and maintained
  • results are used appropriately

We have 2 legal objectives relating to national assessments:

  • promote assessment arrangements which are valid, reliable and comparable
  • promote public confidence in the arrangements

Regulatory Framework for National Assessments