Our regulatory role
Qualifications Wales regulates qualifications, other than degrees, in Wales. We are an independent statutory body, funded by Welsh Government, and we are accountable to the people of Wales through the National Assembly for Wales. We regulate qualifications that are developed and delivered by the awarding bodies that we recognise. When recognised, an awarding body must comply with the rules that we set.
First and foremost, we are a regulator, established through legislation. The Principal Aims, outlined within Part 2 of the Qualifications Wales Act (2015), are considered our Mission Statement, which defines our purpose and primary objectives:
- ensuring that qualifications, and the qualifications system, are effective for meeting the reasonable needs of learners in Wales; and
- promoting public confidence in qualifications and the Welsh qualifications system.
Our purpose is met when qualifications taken in Wales are trusted and valued by learners, employers and education providers and are recognised throughout the UK and internationally.
Our Regulatory Outcomes describe what we want to achieve through our regulatory activities and actions.
We will know when we have achieved our vision when:
- Regulated qualifications and the qualification system are responsive to changing needs and circumstances, particularly in regard to the long-term benefit of Wales and its students;
- Regulated qualifications in Wales are inclusive and promote equality of opportunity for students;
- Regulated qualifications taken by students in Wales are valid, reliable and awarded to an appropriate standard;
- Appropriate governance is in place to ensure accountability and regulatory compliance;
- Information reasonably required to deliver consistent and quality-assured regulated qualifications is available and accessible;
- Regulation is proportionate, transparent, consistent and targeted, to support a qualification system that is sustainable in the long term.
Our regulatory approach
We are outward-looking, so we engage, communicate and collaborate to strengthen our ability to promote public confidence in the Welsh qualifications system and to meet the needs of learners in Wales.
- We invite, listen and respond to the views of learners;
- We listen and respond to stakeholder feedback, views and concerns appropriately;
- The way in which we make regulatory decisions and engage with stakeholders is proportionate to the potential impact of the regulatory action;
- Consultations are transparent and meaningful;
- We take a collaborative approach and draw on the knowledge and expertise of stakeholders as appropriate;
- We seek to establish and maintain effective relationships with key stakeholders;
- We produce clear, informative, targeted and timely communications; we review the impact of our communications and seek to find ways to improve our approach;
- We work with other regulators wherever possible, being mindful of the impact on awarding bodies that are regulated by more than one regulator;
- We carry out regulatory impact assessments as appropriate to assess the costs, benefits and risks associated with a policy or course of action.
Our work is underpinned by our values:
- Collaborative in the way that we work
- Thoughtful in the approaches we take
- Positive in our outlook
- Learning from experience and others
How we regulate
Our Regulatory Framework and Approach sets out in detail how we carry out our regulatory work. Our regulatory approach is guided by the five principles of good regulation:
- Our regulation should be simple and user-friendly, and – by being as open as possible about our processes and with our records – we should ensure that people understand the decisions we have made and why.
- We should be able to justify all of our decisions, and explain them under public scrutiny. Through legislation, we are established as an independent regulator for Wales. We operate at arm’s length from Welsh Government, and each year we are scrutinised on behalf of the public by the National Assembly for Wales’ Committee for Children, Young People and Education.
- We also produce an annual report, which details how we have fulfilled our functions, and how we plan to carry them out in the future.
- We only intervene when necessary. Any remedies that we propose should be appropriate to the risk posed. We should identify any costs resulting from our decisions, and keep these to a minimum.
- We make sure that our rules and conditions are joined up and implemented fairly, so that we give stability and certainty to the organisations that we regulate.
- By making sure that our regulatory activities focus on addressing the problem, and by setting clear, unambiguous targets, we minimise any unintended consequences.
- We have open communication channels with other qualifications regulators across the UK and work collaboratively where appropriate to do so. Good working relationships help us to manage potential regulatory burden and avoid unnecessary duplication.