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Accreditation Newsletter

Incident reporting

There is a requirement for awarding bodies to report incidents to SQA Accreditation. This ensures compliance with regulatory principles 1, 4 and 7:  

  • Principle 1 - The awarding body must have an accountable officer and demonstrate that it has clearly defined and effective governance arrangements. 

  • Principle 4 – The awarding body must demonstrate an effective approach to the identification and management of risk. 

  • Principle 7 – Then awarding body must have an effective approach for communicating with+ staff, stakeholders and SQA Accreditation. 

If an awarding body becomes aware of any situation or incident that could negatively impact its accredited provision, it must ensure that it puts in place a strategy which protects the interest of any learners and providers, and communicates this to SQA Accreditation at the earliest opportunity. 

A reportable incident includes any identified risks or incidents which could have a significant or adverse impact on: 

  • Learners  

  • Members of the public  

  • The reputation, delivery or assessment of accredited qualifications  

  • The operation, financial stability or reputation of the awarding body and its providers  

  • The awarding body’s ability to comply with SQA Accreditation’s regulatory principles, regulatory principles directives or accreditation licence 

  • The reputation of SQA Accreditation 

Examples of reportable incidents include: 

  • Change to accountable officer or key contact personnel 

  • Significant change to governance, ownership, trading status, branding, business direction, mergers or acquisitions. 

  • Conflicts of interest which have an adverse impact on the delivery or assessment of accredited qualifications.  

  • IT security incidents, cyber security breaches, hacking of awarding body online systems. 

  • Theft or breach of confidentiality to examination material. 

  • Incidents involving changes to working arrangements with third parties involved in the delivery or assessment of accredited qualifications. 

  • Incidents of fraud, bribery or disqualification of personnel within the awarding body or its providers  

  • Misconduct of personnel involved in the delivery or assessment of accredited qualifications. 

  • Awarding body financial instability or anticipated financial issues.  

  • Provider closure where learners are left unsupported or unable to complete qualifications.  

  • Fraudulent issue or claims for certificates which do not meet SQA Accreditation requirements. 

  • Significant failures with internal/external quality assurance or awarding body processes, procedures or systems. 

  • Actions or negligence which could cause reputational risk to SQA Accreditation. 

While this list is not exhaustive, it provides some guidance on what constitutes a reportable incident. If you are unsure if an incident is reportable then always contact your regulation manager to discuss. 

When reporting an incident to your regulation manager please include the following details: 

  • Full description of the incident, including date the incident occurred. 

  • Qualifications affected. 

  • Number of learners affected. 

  • Root cause of incident. 

  • Corrective and preventative action.  

We would encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on your current systems and practices for identifying incidents and escalation routes. 

If you require further guidance, please refer to the Guidance Note and contact your regulation manager if needed.