Reducing regulatory burden: new online Ofqual handbook

Ofqual announces package of measures to reduce regulatory burden, including a new online handbook

On September 19 Ofqual announced a package of measures that aim to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden.

Part of this is the launch of a preview version of the Ofqual handbook – a new online resource that brings together all Ofqual’s general rules and guidance – in October. The regulator also confirmed several changes to the existing wider regulatory framework, removing some unnecessary rules and updating others.

The Ofqual handbook

The handbook is designed to replace six existing documents. It will provide:

  • simpler, at-a-glance, navigation – related requirements and guidance are grouped together, with no need to navigate between different documents;
  • enhanced interactivity – including hyperlinked cross-references and tooltips on defined terms;
  • better accessibility – built using GOV.UK, the handbook complies with a wide range of accessibility standards, and is compatible with assistive software such as screen readers, speech recognition and magnifiers.

The handbook will be available alongside the existing documents during a test period (which runs until the end of the year). Ofqual will be seeking feedback on the handbook before taking a final decision on rollout in early 2018. The Ofqual handbook will be previewed in a live webinar on October 5, as well as face-to-face workshops on October 25, October 27 and November 7.

Reviewing the regulatory framework

The announcement also confirmed a number of changes that removed redundant rules:

  1. In line with an earlier announcement, Ofqual has withdrawn the Criteria for Key Skills Qualifications.
  2. Legacy subject criteria for the GCSEs, AS and A levels – that were reformed for first teaching in September 2015 – have been removed as students can no longer take these qualifications; the rules covering reviews and appeals in these qualifications remain in force.
  3. New versions of the qualification-level ‘Conditions for reformed and legacy GCSEs, AS and A levels’ have been published. These new versions simplify existing rules by removing transitional arrangements that are no longer in force.
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A new version of Specifications in relation to the reasonable adjustment of general qualifications has been published. This updates the document to reflect changes made by the ‘Equality Act 2010 (General Qualifications Bodies) (Appropriate Regulator and Relevant Qualifications) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2017’.

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