PDA Police Service Leadership and Management

PDA Police Service Leadership and Management

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA Diploma in Police Service Leadership and Management at SCQF level 8 covers such specialist and high-level transferable skills as:

  • personal development and professional knowledge in policing
  • the role and impact of human rights in policing
  • policing at an international level
  • management and leadership skills
  • partnership working
  • ethical decision making

The diploma in Police Service Leadership and Management is a statutory award which permits you to be considered for promotion within the Police Service in Scotland. Whilst it is a replacement for the legislation-based system that preceded it, a full pass in that system or any other previous relevant system equally allows you to be considered for promotion.

It should be understood that attaining this award does not necessarily lead to promotion. Promotion of officers remains at the discretion of Chief Constable.

The course will be delivered using a blend of e-learning, tutorials and support. Assessment will be a mix of formal examination, project, case study, evidence portfolio and reflective report.

The qualification is jointly awarded by SQA and the Scottish Police Authority.

Why deliver this qualification

The Diploma in Police Service Leadership and Management at SCQF level 8 has been developed in partnership with the Police Service of Scotland so it is fit for purpose. To be promoted beyond the rank of constable in Police Scotland, officers are required under legislation to obtain the Diploma in Police Service Leadership and Management at SCQF level 8.

This PDA provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

Who does this qualification suit

The target audience is candidates who wish to qualify for possible promotion opportunities within the Police Service of Scotland and who meet the criteria set out under the heading 'Access'.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

The candidate must be a serving police officer and have successfully completed probationer training (minimum two years). Candidates may also be nominated through the Accelerated Career Development Programme (ACDP).


This PDA provides progression routes to further study as, on successful completion, candidates will have the option to progress to a range of Ordinary or Honours degree (SCQF level 9 and 10) through a collaborative agreement with the Scottish universities through the Scottish Institute of Policing Research. A number of specialist role-related SCQF credit rated programmes are also available for career development.


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

  • There will be ongoing assessment.
  • Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice. The use of reports and projects is crucial to this.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification Structure

Group Award code: GJ6D 48

The Diploma in Police Service Leadership and Management at SCQF level 8 consists of nine mandatory Units. There are no optional Units in this award.

Group Award Specification


Qualification Structure

PDA Police Service Leadership and Management at SCQF level 8

Group Award Code: G8CW 16

This Group Award has been replaced and has entered into its lapsing period.
The finishing date for this qualification is 31.07.2016

Centres should note that when a Group Award is entered into its lapsing period, the following will apply:

  • the Group Award will be deleted from the relevant catalogue.
  • the Group Award Arrangement document will remain until the qualification reaches its finish date at which point it will be removed from SQA website and archived.
  • centres should only enter candidates whom they expect to complete the Group Award during the defined lapsing period of 3 years.

Candidate Support Pack

To assist with knowledge requirements, SQA has produced a range of support materials. Your centre's SQA Contact will have access to these support materials on SQA's secure website. Please approach them for access.