Coronavirus update for customers

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Coronavirus update for customers

Operational Update on NOCN Group Qualifications and Services

NOCN Group offers a wide range of services including regulated qualifications, EPA for apprenticeships, Job Cards in construction, Access to HE Diplomas, bespoke accreditation and educational and skills support training.

You will find out more operational detail on the implications of COVID19 for each of these services, including advice for students and centres preparing for external assessments, through the following links:

Please note that NOCN will be following the guidance issued by the ESFA, IfATE, Ofqual, CCEA, QAA and Qualifications Wales, and will update our customers as things change.

If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the impact on your centre, apprentices or learners please contact us on nocn@nocn.org.uk or 0300 999 1177 (Option 5).

Working to support our valued customers

You will be aware of the various Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) announcements and official advice over COVID19.
The situation is unprecedented and has been continually changing. With colleges and schools now closed and the country in effect ‘locked down’, other than essential services, we will endeavour to continue to support you, your apprentices, learners and card applicants through this difficult period.

We support Ofqual’s statement that the most important principle is fairness to all learners and apprentices, not only for those being assessed now, but also for those assessed before COVID-19.

Centre Support

All our staff are working from home, so we are still offering front line support, through telephony, email and web chat as usual.
Certificates for regulated qualifications and cards are being issued to centres in the normal way.
We aim to provide as full a range of our services as possible, where these can be delivered remotely, and we can use remote or recorded assessment methods, whilst maintaining the integrity of the assessment.
All face-to-face appointments for approval visits, External Quality Assurers, and external assessments have been suspended until training centres reopen and normal business resumes.
We are providing digital on-line support, including offering WebEx interviews, developing online invigilated exams in place of physical papers, and digital content support.


Please contact us to discuss how best we can support you on nocn@nocn.org.uk or 0300 999 1177 (Option 5).

Best wishes from all at NOCN to you our valued customers. We hope you all remain safe and well.

Graham Hasting-Evans, Group Managing Director

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Policy Revisions and Improvements - August 2019

Revised versions of key policies will be launched on the 1st August 2019. Please see the below update for the details of policies impacted, changes planned and support available for centres.

Quality Assurance Policy Update
NOCN are pleased to announce that, as part of our ongoing commitment to quality, revisions and improvements have been made to a number of key Quality Assurance policies. The revised policies will be launched to centres on 1st August 2019 and NOCN are keen to share these changes and highlight what they mean for your Centre.

The documents revised as part of this update include: 

  • NOCN Centre Monitoring Policy
  • NOCN Direct Claims Status Policy
  • NOCN External Quality Assurance Visit Report
  • NOCN Quality Assurance Manual

Centre Monitoring Policy
NOCN’s updated Centre Monitoring Policy provides centres with clearer guidance and greater transparency on the application of risk, Sanctions, and the monitoring activities centres receive. The updated policy will detail how NOCN monitor centres to ensure that NOCN’s Centre Approval criteria are applied.

Key changes to the policy include:

  • Greater clarity on what the risk rating means for centres.
  • The application of risk solely informed by a centre’s quality performance (the rating is no longer linked to financial performance or affected by high activity).
  • The removal of the ‘Marginal’ risk rating to allow for clearer RAG rating system.
  • Greater transparency on the indicative Sanction Level per risk rating applied.
  • Guidance on when additional monitoring may be undertaken by NOCN.
  • Clarification on additional monitoring that can be requested by centres.
 

Direct Claims Status Policy
NOCN's updated Direct Claims Status Policy has been updated to provide greater clarity on NOCN’s requirements for centres to obtain Direct Claims Status (DCS), as well as to provide further information on how this is awarded, monitored and, where necessary, removed by NOCN.

Key changes to the policy include:

  • Removal of the ‘Lead Internal Verifier’ role for the verification of results.
  • The requirement for the observation of Centre assessment, testing and IQA practice (for vocational qualifications) for future DCS awarding.
  • The facility for centres to request Direct Claims Status visits where their suitability for DCS will be reviewed (charges will apply for this visit).

The decision to remove the ‘Lead Internal Verifier’ role from NOCN’s DCS procedure is to ensure alignment across all centres and to simplify how DCS is administered. 

External Quality Assurance Visit Report
To coincide with the launch of the updated policies, NOCN will also be launching a revised version of NOCN’s EQA report. From 1st August, the improved report will be issued and available for download via the Horizon platform. Centres should ensure that they have the appropriate users on Horizon to ensure that the appropriate individuals are informed when a report becomes available. 

To ensure that the process of EQA reporting is aligned, the current EQA report for Cskills Awards originator centres will be retired, and all centres will receive the updated NOCN EQA report.

NOCN’s Approval Criteria, documented in the Quality Assurance Manual, Appendix 1, has been updated as part of the review.

Quality Assurance Manual
NOCN's Quality Assurance Manual will also be re-launched on the 1st August. The Manual contains updated guidance for centres on the requirements of NOCN’s updated policies. It has been enhanced with further guidance to support centres in following all NOCN’s Quality Assurance policies and procedures.

Further Guidance
Please see below for PDF copies of the updated policies and associated documentation. There are also support documents, including a frequently asked questions document and slides from the support webinars that were ran by the Quality Assurance team throughout July.

If centres have any questions regarding the changes, they can also contact our Quality Assurance Team via email at assurance@nocn.org.uk.