Detailed guide: Apply to have your qualifications regulated


October 28
09:47 2019

The role of awarding organisations

Awarding organisations can choose to be regulated by Ofqual. If you want us to regulate some or all of your qualifications, you can apply to become a recognised awarding organisation of those qualifications. Youll need to ensure you have a full understanding of what being Ofqual-recognised means: its a major undertaking that confers significant benefits but also imposes requirements that will have an impact on your business, because regulated organisations must comply with our regulations.

Being an Ofqual-regulated awarding organisation

Becoming recognised

An awarding organisation designs, develops, delivers and awards qualifications, including in some cases apprenticeship end-point assessments (EPAs). Qualifications test knowledge, skills and understanding of a subject and are awarded to learners who demonstrate the required level of attainment.

Awarding organisations offer qualifications to meet the need of their customers: schools, colleges and training providers that teach the courses that lead to their qualifications. Awarding organisations put in place the exams, tests and other assessments that students take to achieve their qualifications. A good awarding organisation will combine expertise in assessment with effective operational delivery.

Main benefits

The benefits of being a recognised awarding organisation are:

  • your qualifications can be considered for public funding for teaching in state and publicly funded schools and colleges
  • recognition provides confidence to qualification users that your organisation has the capacity and competence to develop and offer high-quality qualifications
  • certificates for regulated qualifications can carry the Ofqual logo a recognised quality mark
  • your qualifications will be regulated internationally, as well as in England, provided that they continue to be offered and taken in England - the Ofqual quality mark is valued internationally
  • your qualifications will be listed on the Register of Regulated Qualifications - an important resource for those wanting to find a suitable qualification
  • if youre an apprenticeship end-point assessment organisation (EPAO), you can offer EPAs where Ofqual has been selected by the trailblazer to provide external quality assessment

Apprenticeship end-point assessments

Ofqual is one of the 4 options for external quality assurance available to apprenticeship trailblazers. Where we are chosen to provide external quality assurance, we regulate EPAs as a qualification. So if you want to offer EPAs where we provide external quality assurance, you will need to be recognised by us. For more information on EPAs, read Regulation of new apprenticeship end point assessments.

How to apply for recognition

We have a process to decide whether you can become a recognised awarding organisation. Further details are in the supporting information document.

The Recognition Process (PDF, 161KB, 1 page)

Before starting an application, be aware that there are very clear limits to what we regulate. For example we do not regulate training courses that only certify that someone attended a course but do not make judgements about an attendees level of attainment.

Starting the process

7 Top Tips for Recognition

First, read our supporting information, review our regulations and our Criteria for Recognition and our guidance for the Criteria.

If you think being a regulated awarding organisation is the right choice for you, apply through our Recognition Gateway. You will need to set up an account to use this. Before doing this please read our Privacy Statement (PDF, 134KB, 4 pages).

Please refer to this guidance document (PDF, 2.16MB, 24 pages) for support to set up a gateway account and Multi-factor authentication.

Once you have set up an account, you will then be offered a meeting with Ofqual staff. This meeting should take place before starting your application. The meeting will help you understand our requirements and the application process. We will talk about:

  • what it means to be an Ofqual-regulated awarding organisation so you are fully aware of our expectations
  • the types of qualifications you intend to offer
  • how you will ensure quality
  • how you intend to operate as an awarding organisation once recognise

Following the meeting, if you want to proceed with an application, we will provide you with access to the application form. We can continue to advise you to ensure you are providing sufficient supporting evidence.

When you are ready, you should use the gateway to submit your application and evidence. We will then review your application against our Criteria for Recognition. If your application and supporting information indicates that you are capable of meeting our criteria, we would normally invite you to discuss your application with a recognition panel who decide whether to recognise you as an awarding organisation.

If you are an existing awarding organisation

If you want to make a change to your current scope of recognition or withdraw qualifications, we have added materials on the Portal explaining the information and evidence we will need to see. Please submit a Contact the Regulator request on the Portal if you wish to:

  • expand your scope of recognition to offer regulated qualifications in a wider range of sector subject areas, at different levels than you are currently regulated for, or to offer qualifications that have specific conditions or criteria
  • withdraw regulated qualifications from the market
  • surrender your regulated status in part or entirely

We will then contact you to explain any further information or evidence you will need to provide with your request.

Published 21 September 2012
Last updated 28 October 2019 +show all updates
  1. Updated the supporting videos.

Related Articles


  1. We don't have any comments for this article yet. Why not join in and start a discussion.

Write a Comment

Your name:
Your email:

Post my comment

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Share This

Enjoyed this? Why not share it with others if you've found it useful by using one of the tools below: