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Client Centre Assessment Accreditation Criteria

Schedule 1


1.1 Centre Approval Standards

Section 1: Governance

Approval Standard 1



The centre, in line with AO standards.


has, in relation to its interactions with the AO and in relation to any potential centre devised assessments, a robust and clearly defined management structure.


has robust governance arrangements.


is securely funded.


keeps appropriate staff records.


has appropriate arrangements in place with third party providers.


has a conflict of interest policy and contract clauses.


has a procedure and policy for maladministration and malpractice.


has a risk assessment process and related contingency planning.


has Reasonable Adjustments policy and procedures.


has Special Consideration policy and procedures.


has appropriate assessment administration and invigilation procedures.


has a policy and procedures for complaints and post-results services, including appeals.


has a health and safety policy in place.


has an equal opportunities policy in place.

Section 2: Assessment & Internal Quality Assurance

Approval Standard 2

Assessment & Internal Quality Assurance


The centre, in line with AO standards


has appointed suitable assessment team members.


has in place internal quality assurance processes and an internal quality assurance plan.


has suitable venues for assessment.


has procedures in place to maintain confidentiality of its assessments.


has a conflict of interest policy covering the internal quality assurance process.


has appropriate consent for sharing data.

Section 3: Delivery of Assessments

Approval Standard 3

Delivery of Assessments


The centre, in line with AO standards


has appointed suitably trained assessment staff members.


has appropriate pre-assessment & post assessment delivery arrangements.


has a conflict of interest policy stating those who are involved in the creation of confidential assessment content cannot be involved in the delivery of the assessments (e.g. invigilation) nor the teaching of related learning.


has made candidates aware of the process to apply for Special Considerations.

1.2 CDA Approval Standards

Writing, delivering & resulting CDA tasks

Section 1: Coverage of the AO Learning Outcomes (LOs) & Assessment Criteria (AC)

Approval Standard 1

AO Learning Outcomes Coverage


The centre, in line with AO standards


has, for new CDAs, a basic outline of the proposal to replace the AO assessment with its own CDA.


has a CDA which covers the relevant CII LOs/Assessment Criteria/Key Indicative Content.


has proposed assessment methods for its CDA which are appropriate –these are defined in the relevant qualification specification.


ensure recommended study hours for the equivalent AO apply to the CDA.


must secure AO sign-off of the proposed CDA before allowing learners to study for or take an instance of the CDA.

Section 2: Assessment Production

Approval Standard 2

Assessment Production


The centre, in line with AO standards


has processes and procedures in place for the creation of assessments to ensure each assessment version/sitting is reliable and valid.


ensures the individuals who have created the assessments have had no involvement in the creation of training materials nor the delivery of learner training, lectures or tutorial work


ensures the individuals involved in the creation of assessments have been deemed competent by the Head of Centre and that their performance is monitored.


where using an item bank, ensures the bank contains sufficient questions to ensure continued, complete, reliable and valid assessments are administered.


ensures assessment content is kept up-to-date.


ensures assessment content is of the appropriate standard.


ensures each assessment is constructed to the required standard.


uses appropriate assessment language.


attempts to ensure assessments are non-biased.


has implemented effective internal communication systems for those involved in the relevant stages of the assessment (internally).


has an assessment sign off process in place (internally).

Section 3: Assessment Delivery

Approval Standard 3

Assessment Delivery


The centre, in line with AO standards


has assessment delivery & invigilation procedures.


follows the assessment delivery & invigilation procedures.


offers and where applicable makes Reasonable Adjustment decisions in line with the AO provided process.


has procedures to monitor all its sites.


monitors all its sites in line with its procedures.


Has procedures for monitoring & managing incidents

Section 4 – Marking

Approval Standard 4



The centre, in line with AO standards


has got procedures in place to support accuracy and consistency of marking and related decisions.


uses suitable personnel for human marking.


uses quality assurance processes to ensure accurate and consistent marking.

Section 5: External Moderation & Results

Approval Standard 5

External Moderation & Results


The centre, in line with AO standards


has procedures to ensure consistency in the level of demand with the unit of the AO.


has procedures to ensure consistency in the level of demand from one administration to the next.


agrees to the AO undertaking external moderation.


agrees to the AO checking all assessment results before release and gains the AO permission for all results on every occasion.


provides constructive feedback to learners about their assessment results.


has a process in place for the accurate communication of passing candidates to the AO.

Section 6: Security of Assessments

Approval Standard 6

Security of Assessments


The centre, in line with AO standards


has procedures for the secure storage of all its confidential assessment materials.


maintains the confidentiality of assessment materials.

Section 7: Review of performance

Approval Standard 7

Review of Performance


The centre, in line with AO standards


has procedures to review its performance and achievement in relation to CDAs.


undertakes periodic reviews and identifies improvements where appropriate.

 1.3 Learning Approval Standards

Approval Standard 1



The centre, in line with AO standards


has a process in place to facilitate the learning for the units/learning outcomes.


has created all the teaching and/or learning materials which cover the units/learning outcomes.


has appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that trainers/appropriate centre staff can access the learning resources for each cohort.


has course materials which are appropriately presented and sufficiently comprehensive to enable participants to achieve the course objectives.


has appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that learners can access learning resources.


delivers units in line with Study Hours and Recommended Study Time as stated in the qualification specification and the syllabus


offers appropriate learning support for the level of complexity and to cover all the learning outcomes.  This may include directing participants to sources of relevant information.


has policies and procedures to ensure the learning material is up-to-date for each cohort in respect of for example legal, regulatory and market practice and the sign off is completed by competent individuals.


must ensure the responsibility for the design and development of the learning should be assigned to competent, qualified individuals.  There should be no link between the training delivery and the assessment process (e.g. question writing, marking, moderation). 



EQA reviews

The CII will carry out the initial centre approval and all subsequent quality assurance monitoring of the centres, CDAs and learning.  Monitoring will involve engaging and liaising with individuals responsible for governance, centre & assessment quality assurance, assessment production, delivery and awarding of CDAs.

Every centre and every CDA has a full annual review, starting at outset of CCAA scheme, where we check all approval standards based on evidence and observation.  This feeds into the risk profiles for centre and CDA.

An action plan will be determined based on the Risk Profile and focusing on areas flagged in the Risk Profile.  The risk profile is generated from the annual review and previous concerns or issues.

Some aspects of External Quality assurance will be done routinely i.e. for all administrations. At launch these aspects are, as a minimum, standard setting/maintenance and approval for results to be released to learners. Depending on the risk profile, other areas may be subject to external quality assurance each administration.

Additional External Quality Assurance of CDAs will be conducted on a sampling basis.


The CII will get in touch with the centre’s Assessment Officer and Internal Quality Assurer to inform them about the following:

  • Details about the date and time of any visit or meeting planned;
  • Details about any special arrangements that should be made by the centre for such a visit or meeting;
  • Identify particular aspects of the governance, quality assurance and assessment process the CCAA team would like to discuss in detail;
  • Request access to learners’ assessment records (the CCAA team will state in advance the sample that they will request – i.e. which cohort and which learners);
  • Request to review assessment materials and learner responses to assessments.

The CCAA team may need to:

  • Meet with the Assessment Officer, Internal Quality Assurer and any other centre individuals responsible for the delivery and quality assurance of the assessments.
  • Discuss and review the current internal quality assurance systems that are in place (both for the centre and the unit(s) assessed).
  • Access evidence in relation to any, or all parts, of the centre and Centre Devised Assessment
  • Sample check, for example,
  • physical resources used for the delivery of the programme.
  • learner’ records
  • Reasonable Adjustment arrangements.
  • Discuss the current assessment strategies that are in place.
  • Request information about all the centre’s exams’ venues.
  • Discuss with the centre its risk assessment for centre staff and assessment units.
  • Discuss any conflict-of-interest issues or any changes since last visit.
  • Provide guidance and advice about any aspect of the approval, as requested by the centre.

Please note: it is important that the centres provide access to all appropriate records as requested by the AO.  Centres failing to respond to attempts by the CCAA team to contact them to arrange a visit with them might lead to Sanctions imposed by the AO to the centre.

The report

The CCAA team will write a report which will include findings and may include recommendations on any, or all aspects, of the standards checked during the Quality Assurance Review.  The CCAA team will provide a written report to the centre about the findings within 7 working days.  The report will include clear feedback, recommendations and where required an action plan.

Below is an example checklist for centres preparing for an EQA visit/monitoring:


Be prepared to


Provide evidence that the centre’s IQA plan for producing and delivering assessments is in place.


Provide requested samples of learner’s work for any/all assessments delivered since the last visit.


Provide samples of assessment materials for the full range of assessment methods used by the centre.


Provide lists of registered learners.


Provide lists of learners achieving a pass.


Provide evidence of direct observation of centre staff.


Provide evidence of the processes and decisions used for the delivery and processing of assessment e.g. meeting minutes, recorded standardisation activities, standard setting meeting decisions etc.


Provide access to/copies of centre’s internal policies such as: safeguarding, equality/diversity, reasonable adjustments, malpractice.



Provide evidence that training and development is in place to address and identify the needs of tutors, assessors and internal quality assurers.



Provide evidence relating to the learning approval standards.





Decisions that can be applied to the CII’s registered centres in cases where they fail to comply with the CII policies & procedures, or they act in a way that poses a risk to, or threatens, the integrity of the CII qualifications.  Outcomes are decisions about actions that can be applied against a centre or a centre staff member.

If any centre fails to comply with the conditions of its approval, the CII policies and procedures and/or the activities related to the development, delivery and award of Centre Devised Assessments (CDA), a decision outcome may determine an action to be applied to it.  The CII will have a consistent approach in making decisions about outcomes in similar cases and circumstances.

Outcomes Applicable to Centre Staff

Where a conclusion of malpractice or maladministration is reached involving members of centre staff, a decision outcome might determine actions to be imposed on the centre which will restrict the activities that the staff member is able to undertake in the centre.  The CII might take one or more of the following actions:

  • Written warning.
  • Compulsory training.
  • Special conditions imposed on the individual’s centre and CDA activity.
  • Suspension (suspension of the individual’s duties in relation to the centre and CDA activity).
  • Withdrawal (individual prohibited from having any involvement with the centre or CDA activity).

Please also note when allegations against centre staff are upheld and the centre staff are CII members or students, the individuals may be subject to the CII disciplinary process

Outcomes Applicable to Centres – continues below


Risk Level

Risk Rationale

Examples of Issues

Indicative Outcomes

Indicative Maximum Timeframe

Examples of what it would mean for the centre


Level 5

Breakdown in management and quality assurance creating a threat to all learners, risk to all assessment decisions and all CII qualifications.

Proven malpractice and maladministration in relation to the conduct of the CDAs delivered by the centre.


Assessment processes not in place or disadvantage learners.


Assessment decisions are consistently unreliable or invalid or both.


CDAs do not meet the CII standards despite previous warnings and reviews by the CII.


Action plans agreed at levels 1-4 have not been implemented.

Any applied in lower levels and/or:

Permanent withdrawal of centre approval.  The regulator will be informed.


Temporary withdrawal of centre approval.  Re-application can only take place after an action has been completed.


Withdrawal of CII centre approval of the centre, as CII approved.


The centre won’t be able to deliver or offer units to learners.


Other Awarding Organisations may be informed of this action. 


The centre might not be eligible to re-apply for centre approval.


Any centre re-application (when permitted) will be subject to successful completion of an action plan set by the CII.

Withdrawal of centre approval temporarily or permanently

Level 4

Breakdown in management and quality assurance creating a threat to specific learners and/or a risk to specific assessment decisions and specific CII qualifications.

Proven malpractice and maladministration in relation to a specific CDA delivered by the centre.


Assessment records reflect serious anomalies for a specific CDA.


Centre fails to provide access to requested learners or staff records for a specific CDA.


Action plan agreed at levels 1-3 for a specific CDA has not been implemented.

Any applied in lower levels and/or:

Removal of centre approval for specific CDAs.


Increased risk rating:

complete any action plan by the agreed deadline.

3 months

Withdrawal to deliver specific CDAs either permanently or temporarily, in which case until actions have been implemented as per the action plan agreed by the CII and centre.


The centre won’t be able to deliver or offer the specific CDA to learners.


Other Awarding Organisations may be informed of this action.

Withdrawal of specific CDAs temporarily or permanently.

Level 3

Loss of integrity of assessment decisions.


Risk of invalid assessment outcomes.


Non-compliance with approval standards.

Investigation being conducted for malpractice or maladministration.


Centre staff – there are insufficient numbers and /or there is insufficient competence to undertake the production, delivery and award of CII units.


Invalid learner registrations &/or results.


Assessed learners’ evidence is not the learners’ authentic work (e.g., fraud).


Action plan agreed at level 2 has not been implemented.

Any applied in lower levels and/or:

·            Suspension of centre registration and/or results.

·            Additional monitoring or inspection.

·            Greater assessment scrutiny and independent invigilation. 

·            Centre staff training.

·            Increased risk rating: complete action plan by the agreed deadline.

3 months

CII might refuse for a specified period of time to accept learners’ registrations by the centre for all, or a number of, CDAs.


CII might refuse for a specified period of time to process results and awards for learners from a centre for all or a number of CDAs.


Action plan agreed to be implemented, with timescales, including procedures review by the Head of Centre & more frequent external quality assurance visits.

Suspension of some activities & increased monitoring.

Level 2

Doubt as to the integrity of assessment decisions.


Non-compliance with some/all approval standards.


Not responding to actions.

Candidate’s records and details of achievement are not accurate or recorded in a timely & secure manner.


Failure to report malpractice.


Failure to provide effective invigilation.


Failure to meet some CDA approval standards.

Any applied in lower levels and/or:

Complete action plan by the agreed deadline.


Greater assessment scrutiny and independent invigilation. 

3 months

All assessment practices & decisions scrutinised by the CII.


All CDA tasks approved previously by the centre will now be approved by the CII.



Independent invigilators may be appointed by the CII (at the centre’s expense) to ensure the conduct of assessment examinations are in line with the CII regulations. 



Action plan agreed to be implemented, with timescales, including procedures review by the Head of Centre. 

All assessments scrutinised by the CII.

Level 1

Maladministration and/or non-compliance with some approval standards but no threat to integrity of assessment decisions.

Avoidable delay to assessment;

·            mistakes arising from inattention;

·            faulty procedures;

·            failure to follow correct procedures;

·            poor record keeping;

·            inadvertent failure to take action;

·            poor communication;

·            inadvertently giving misleading or inadequate information.

Written warning.


Action plan to be completed by the agreed deadline.


Action plan may include things such as:


  1. Re-training of staff
  2. Re-writing procedures
  3. Additional checks

3 months

Outcomes will be communicated to the Head of Centre in writing.


The action plan will be communicated to the Head of Centre.


Head of Centre must review the centre procedures, implement improvement and report back to CII.

Warning and action plan.


Suggestions for improvement


Good practice points suggested.

Next Visit





The aim of this document is to provide a clear procedure for the centres to follow in the event of a CII approved centre closure.  The centre is responsible for protecting the interest of the learners, however, in circumstances where the centre is unwilling or unable to do so, the CII will step in to protect the learner’s interest in line with Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA Regulations.  The closure of one of the CII approved centres can occur in cases where a centre ceases to operate, closes down or where approval is withdrawn or ceases.

The process

At the point a learner enrols with the centre:

The centre must let learners know that if the centre closes or loses approval part way through learning for a unit and is unwilling or unable to assist learners complete their studies, the CII will endeavour to move the learners to a suitable unit offered by the CII directly.

At the point of closure:

The CII will write to the centre to confirm its closure.  This will be done via letter or email to the Head of Centre.  The aim of the letter would be for the CII to gain an understanding of the centre’s willingness to support learners to complete their studies.  In cases where the centre is unwilling or unable to help its learners, the following will apply:

  • The Head of Centre will need to provide the CII with contact details for the candidates.
  • The CII will write to all the learners to confirm the centre closure and that the CII, after completing a full investigation, will be in touch with the learners.
  • The CII will then offer entry to a similar or alternative unit(s) within the qualification(s), or similar or alternative qualification(s), for learners to complete and it will make the necessary arrangements.
  • Once the arrangements are in place, the CII will contact the learners to ask if they are happy to continue with their studies, based on these arrangements.
  • If no contact has been made by learners within the set deadlines, CII will withdraw the learners, but it will keep their records in a manner and for a time period compliant with all relevant legislation and regulations.



Where CII undertakes any part of the CDA process on behalf of a centre, the CII is responsible for ensuring those parts of the process meet the required standards but centres must inform CII of any issues encountered as soon as possible after becoming aware.  The centre should have a contingency plan in place in relation to this part of the CDA, as for all other aspects, in line with approval standard 1.8 of the centre approval standards.