What is Direct Claims Status and Centre Monitoring?

A centre offering regulated qualifications can have these awarded through a process of centre monitoring, rather than a formal moderation engagement carried out by an OCN London EQA.  Such centres are those who can demonstrate that they are able to make the right decisions about the awarding of regulated qualifications to learners. These are judged to have at least one appropriately skilled and knowledgeable Approved Internal Moderator (AIM) and robust internal quality assurance (IQA) systems. The status is therefore built on trust and confidence.  

A centre delivering bespoke accredited courses (unregulated qualifications) can apply for Direct Claims Status (DCS) and directly claim credit certificates for learners from OCN London on the signature of its Approved Internal Moderator (AIM) alone. The need for an EQA engagement to sample portfolios and confirm the ERACs during the year is not necessarily required. The EQA will arrange a monitoring and review engagement to consider the centre’s processes and to decide whether it is appropriate for it to continue to hold DCS status. DCS applies to OCN London bespoke accredited courses only and not its Ofqual regulated qualifications or Access to HE Diplomas.

What are the benefits of Centre Monitoring or Direct Claims Status?

For the centre:

·       Time and staff resources are saved. The process of getting certificates is faster and staff time organising and attending EQA moderation engagements is reduced.

·       A better service can be offered to learners. Faster certification turnaround supports learners in progressing their learning or career.

·       The standing of the centre is enhanced. The trust and confidence implicit in these approaches signals to others (including funders) that the centre is well-regarded and takes quality seriously.

For the Approved Internal Moderator (AIM):

·       More satisfaction from the role. The AIM has greater control over and responsibility for the process of checking and approval of awards.

·       Career prospects improved. AIM status is a mark of confidence by the awarding body in the individual, which is based on effective IQA performance.

What you need to do to enable Centre Monitoring or Direct Claims Status 

A centre which is considered suitable for a monitoring approach or DCS has provided sufficient evidence to OCN London that demonstrates:

·       It has in its employment an experienced internal quality assurer who has demonstrated consistently effective IQA/IM practice and may possesses an appropriate IQA qualification or accreditation. This person receives Approved Internal Moderator (AIM) status, subject to review of the evidence provided.

·       It has a robust IQA policy which is being effectively implemented and covers all aspects of internal moderation/IQA.

·       It has robust quality systems for areas directly affecting the achievement of learners, such as subject, teaching and assessment qualifications of tutors.

What is the process to be followed?

1.    The Quality Assurance Contact (QAC) at the centre discusses the matter of Centre Monitoring or DCS with the EQA, who will recommend whether the centre is ready for either approach (as applicable) and provide further information, as requested.

2.    The centre identifies one or more people to apply for Approved Internal Moderator (AIM) status. A centre with a more complex range of provision is likely to need more than one AIM in order to operate appropriate IQA systems across the whole centre.

3.    The applicant(s) complete(s) and return(s) an AIM status nomination form (provided by the OCN London Quality and Standards Coordinator upon EQA recommendation). 

4.    The EQA, after consultation, informs the Quality Assurance Contact and the nominated AIM of any actions the centre has to take to achieve Centre Monitoring or DCS recognition. This may involve training for the nominated AIM, and/or observation of IQA practice and/or improvements to the quality systems of the centre. The centre should acknowledge its acceptance of the conditions.

5.    Actions are undertaken, monitored by the Quality Assurance Contact and the EQA. When successfully completed the centre will receive an email from OCN London confirming the centre’s status, as applicable.

How long can a Centre Monitoring approach or Direct Claims Status be retained for?

Your EQA keeps such centre status under review and formally renews it each year during a Centre Monitoring and Review Engagement. The status is retained as long as the centre runs OCN London qualifications or bespoke accredited courses, unless:

·       The Approved Internal Moderator no longer performs the AIM role for OCN London programmes because s/he leaves the centre or moves to another job within the centre. AIM status is given to named individuals NOT to the centre itself.* In this situation, the centre can discuss with the EQA the nomination of another person to undertake the AIM role;

·       The EQA, on their visit to check performance, has serious doubts about the quality of work being done, especially in the IQA process and recommends withdrawal of the status;

·       The centre ceases the delivery of OCN London programmes for a considerable period of time.

* Centre Monitoring/DCS is not transferable, either between moderators or between centres.

Will our relationship with OCN London change?

Relationships with your Curriculum and Relationship Development Manager and Business Support contact at OCN London remain the same and all processes and rules relating to these two functions still apply.

The annual Centre Monitoring and Review engagement will be arranged by the EQA with the centre to take place at a mutually convenient time.  The specific requirements for this meeting will be prescribed by the EQA after the date of the meeting has been confirmed.  Depending on whether the centre has its qualification awarding monitored or holds DCS status for its accredited programmes, the requirements will differ.