The External Quality Assurer – EQA (formally Centre Moderator)
An EQA is appointed to each centre following centre approval and has ongoing responsibility for monitoring your centre’s compliance with the requirements of Approved Centre status. Your appointed EQA will contact you to arrange the initial visit once notification of the first course to be offered has been received.
The EQA will organise Quality Engagements (QE) with the centre and these may be remote engagements or centre visits. The number of quality engagements required is related to the number of learners and the range of courses the centre runs. The EQA’s remit includes monitoring of Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) and External Moderation (EM) of learner achievement. Additional activities such as training and development may be recommended where appropriate.
EQAs plan their annual programme of quality engagements (QEs) well in advance and are therefore unlikely to be available at short notice. However, if you have any queries about the external quality assurance process please contact your EQA or the Quality and Standards team at OCN London. Please make sure that your EQA knows in good time when your courses are likely to finish so that a QE can be scheduled at an appropriate time. The EQA will offer support to the centre and will monitor and report on the progress of the agreed quality improvement actions.
Centre Visits and Remote Quality Engagements
A centre visit or remote quality engagement by the OCN London Quality and Standards Manager or an EQA will occur for advisory purposes after centre approval. After this time agreed quality engagements will be arranged as necessary.
Quality Engagements for External Moderation
These will be undertaken by the EQA and may be coordinated by the OCN London Quality and Standards Coordinator. The centre will be required to provide a specified sample of portfolios as evidence. After the external moderation a report will be sent to the named Quality Assurance Contact (QAC) at the centre which will include a summary of the EQA’s findings and may include quality improvement actions and recommendations.
Before Quality Engagements:
The purpose, timing and format of each Quality Engagement (QE) will be agreed between the EQA and the centre. The EQA will send confirmation of the activities they propose to undertake before each QE. In some cases, the EQA may request supporting documentation, such as centre policies and standardisation records.
During Quality Engagements:
The EQA may want to meet the centre's Quality Assurance Contact (QAC) and will also request time with other staff involved in the accreditation process, depending on the focus of the quality engagement. This could include tutors/assessors, internal moderators/IQAs, administrative staff or learners. One quality engagement per year will involve an audit of quality systems and is called Centre Monitoring and Review. Other quality engagements may be principally for external moderation of learner achievement, but wherever possible this will be carried out at the same time as the annual centre monitoring and review. Where a centre has Direct Claims Status (DCS), the EQA will scrutinise the work of the Approved Internal Moderator (AIM).
After Quality Engagements:
The EQA will produce a summary report after each engagement and a quality improvement action plan will be updated. Any factors which may present a risk to the security of the award of credit will be identified with actions for the centre and/or OCN London to be undertaken within specified timescales. All reports will be sent to the centre’s Quality Assurance Contact by email.
The Quality Assurance Contact
Each centre is asked to appoint someone to be the Quality Assurance Contact (QAC) in the centre with whom the EQA will work. This is an important role as s/he takes the lead in ensuring actions to improve internal quality assurance are agreed with the EQA and, in particular, that those actions are implemented. The scope of the role is centre-wide and not confined to one department or section. The QAC needs to have sufficient organisational authority to perform the role and can also be the Internal Quality Assurer (IQA)/Internal Moderator (IM) . A detailed description can be seen in the Role of the Quality Assurance Contact.