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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.

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 are due to be released on 1st August 2019 and NOCN are keen to share these changes and highlight what this means for your Centre.

Following an in-depth review, NOCN will be launching updated versions of the below documents on 1st August 2019:

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

As part of the roll out of these policies, we will be providing additional guidance, including webinars, between now and the 1st August launch date.

Key Revisions and Improvements

NOCN Centre Monitoring Policy
NOCN’s new Centre Monitoring Policy combines NOCN’s Risk-Based Approach to Centre Monitoring and NOCN’s Sanctions Policy. The combined policies provide 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.

NOCN External Quality Assurance Visit Report
To coincide with the launch of the updated Centre Monitoring Policy, 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.

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 and criteria will be re-grouped to allow for greater understanding and ease of application. The Approval Criteria remain central to the report and, although there are no major changes, our team of External Quality Assurers are able to support and advise centres with any transitional arrangements that may need to take place due to the changes.

NOCN Direct Claims Policy
The NOCN Direct Claims 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.

The removal of the ‘Lead Internal Verifier’ role will mean that from 1st August, all results submitted through DCS will be transmitted immediately for processing, negating the need for the ‘Lead Internal Verifier’ to input their pin. (Please note: This change does not affect Cskills Awards originator centres where DCS is currently administered in this way. It will also not affect centres’ current DCS approval status for its NOCN qualifications/endorsed programmes.)

NOCN understands the importance of DCS and we hope that you will experience a quicker service in relation to the awarding of DCS, and the claims process. NOCN will continue to ensure that its award of DCS is robust and that monitoring activities are sufficient to ensure that the validity of awards is not compromised.

Supporting Centres – Webinars and Guidance

NOCN Quality Assurance Manual
The updated NOCN Quality Assurance Manual will be re-launched on the 1st August. This will contain 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.

Centre Webinars
The NOCN Quality Assurance Team will be running a series of webinars throughout July to guide you through what the policy changes mean for centres. The webinars will provide opportunities for all centres to:

  • Fully familiarise themselves with the updated policies before the 1st August launch date.
  • Provide clarity on any updated requirements and what the changes mean for centres.
  • Ask any questions that centres may have relating to the changes.

Further Communication
NOCN will be sending out further communication to all centres on 28th June 2019.

If centres have any questions in the meantime, please direct these to our Quality Assurance Team via email at