We design, quality assure and certificate qualifications which develop the skills, knowledge and competence of individuals, contributing to their personal development and the economic growth and development of Scotland.
There are two ways we achieve our aims: we act in partnership with others to develop and deliver our qualifications and services, and we are driven by the needs of our customers in all that we do.
We recognise that we have a clear responsibility to our customers to carry out our duties efficiently and effectively, and to apologise if we get things wrong.
We are committed to continually improving the quality and responsiveness of our service, and we constantly work to tailor our service as closely as we can to the needs of our customers.
What does SQA do?
We work in partnership to provide high quality, recognised and relevant qualifications and assessment.
We were set up in 1997 and are responsible to the Scottish Government for the development, assessment and certification of most qualifications in Scotland (except university degrees).
As well as our 'awarding' function, we also have an 'accrediting' function to approve the introduction of Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).
We work in partnership with schools, colleges, education and training organisations, the Scottish Government and other national stakeholders representing aspects of Scotland's education, business and cultural interests. We work with other stakeholders to promote our products and services across the UK and internationally.
Our commitment to customer service
We are committed to consultation with customers
To offer services that are as relevant as they can be, we have to keep in touch with those who use them. That is why we are committed to a dialogue with our customers.
We carry out regular satisfaction surveys of our customers to assess their needs and measure the quality of our performance. We also use other methods - such as feedback from our teams of Customer Support Managers and sectoral focus groups - to build the fullest possible picture of how customers see us and our performance.
We are committed to being accessible to our customers
Our Business Development & Customer Support Team is open between 8.30am and 5pm on weekdays, with the exception of public holidays. Telephone: 0303 333 0330 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
All our staff have personal e-mail addresses and direct-dial telephone numbers that you can use to access them direct (and outwith opening hours).
Queries can also be submitted to our Business Development & Customer Support team via our official social media presences (SQA Facebook, Sam SQA Facebook, @sqanews, @mysqa_sam, Linkedin).
We cater for visitors with special needs, and wheelchair access is available at our main offices. A guide to the facilities available at all our offices is sent to customers in advance of pre-arranged visits.
We deal with personal callers promptly and courteously.
We are committed to responding to enquiries promptly
We respond to written correspondence - letters, faxes and e-mails within 10 working days, or within timescales previously agreed with the customer. Where a full response is not possible within 10 working days, we send an interim response within seven working days and a fuller response within a further 15 days or within timescales previously agreed with the customer.
We are committed to responding to all direct social media queries to our official Twitter and Facebook channels within 10 working days. All queries will receive a prompt and courteous response. Where an immediate answer will take time to obtain, we will send an interim response as soon as the query is received, and a follow-up response and answer within 10 working days. Where appropriate, and where sensitive or private information is being relayed, we will direct customers to the relevant department or channel (e.g. phone or email).
We handle telephone calls - whether received at our Business Development & Customer Support Team or by staff using direct-dial lines or mobile phones - promptly and courteously. The Business Development & Customer Support Team staff aim to answer incoming telephone calls within 15 seconds.
All our staff identify themselves by name when answering calls. If the staff member you have called is unavailable, you will be invited to leave a message. Telephone messages and voicemail messages will receive a response when the staff member returns to the office.
We are committed to the following service targets for our awarding and accrediting functions
Assessment and Quality Assurance
- ensure that all our qualifications are fit for purpose and meet all the published design criteria
- respond to feedback, through formal and informal channels, from all users of our qualifications
- provide a fair and efficient system for approving centres and individual qualifications
- provide outcome in writing to centres within 10 working days of an approval visit/event
Verification and Systems Monitoring
- conduct at least one verification visit a year to centres for each SVQ subject area with active candidates
- verify other qualifications by visit, central event or by post from a sample of centres each year
- provide a service of prior verification of assessment instruments
- provide systems verification, at least once every three years depending on risk indicators, to employers and training provider centres with current entries
- provide a written report to centres within 14 working days of a verification or systems verification visit
- arrange development visits by agreement
Centres outwith Scotland will be subject to individual contract arrangements.
For our National Courses we will:
- publish the summary timetable for the May/June examination diet at least one academic year ahead
- ensure that all external assessment is carried out timeously and to a high standard
For our Contract Services contracts we will:
- deliver a cycle of examinations to agreed timescales, as specified by contractual obligations
- work pro-actively to capture the potential of e-assessment to add value to our qualifications and support centres and learners.
Candidate Data Processing and Certification
For candidate registration and entry for qualifications, we will:
- accept information for candidate registration from approved centres at any time and provide a unique Scottish Candidate Number
- accept candidate entries from approved centres at any time
- publish timetables for entry dates for the external assessment of National Courses
- provide facilities for centres to verify entries and access their candidate records
- issue a Scottish Qualifications Certificate to all candidates who have achieved a Unit, Course or Group Award (for National Courses, the certificate will be sent to arrive on the date published for the summer diet) Where a candidate only sat and achieved an external assessment, this would also be certificated
- issue Group Award certification, for candidates with appropriate Unit results, three times per week
- replace lost or mislaid certificates within 15 working days, on receipt of a completed request form
Finance and Charges
Notification of charges
- resolve customers' invoice queries within 10 working days
- aim to pay 95% of our suppliers within 10 days of receipt of a valid invoice
- issue invoices to our customers monthly for HN and SVQ product lines; NQ product invoices will be issued monthly from April to August inclusive
We take a pro-active approach to customer enquiries by providing:
- Business Development & Customer Support Team, staffed by specially trained advisors to provide information and support to our centres, the team are available between the hours of 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday with the exception of bank and local holidays; telephone 0303 333 0330/+44 (0)141 500 5030 (international callers) or e-mail: email@example.com
- telephone, e-mail addresses and fax numbers for all key contacts
- information, including lists of qualifications, on our website - www.sqa.org.uk
- Contract Services phone lines are available from 9am and 5pm on weekdays, with the exception of bank and local holidays. Telephone: For Dangerous Goods Driver Training (DGDT), Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers (DGSA) & Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) or The Petroleum Driver Passport: 0345 270 0123 or for Streetworks: 0345 270 2720
- Or email firstname.lastname@example.org for Dangerous Goods Driver Training, email@example.com for Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers, firstname.lastname@example.org for Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) email@example.com for The Petroleum Driver Passportor firstname.lastname@example.org for Streetworks.
Our qualifications must be fit for purpose and are reviewed periodically as part of our five-year review schedule. Regular updates are posted on our website.
For further information on SQA Accreditation please refer to the Accreditation section.