ACM Costs

Date published: 25/06/2021

FOI reference: 21/22 035

Date received: 07/06/2021

Date responded: 25/06/2021

Information requested

Can you clarify the following as to what these actually are (in the FOI link):

(a) Qualification Development

(b) Logistics & Events

(c) why were there markers fees when everything in 2020 and 2021 is in a school?

Finally, why is it anticipated that the costs associated with evidence gathering and quality assurance will be higher this year? In comparison to previous years (ie. before 2020) this cost would be small and yet money saved on printing and postage does not play a part in budgetary forecasts? Why? It still does not answer why full fees are being charged, when quite clearly, there is less 'to do' generally.

Response

(a) Qualification Development

Qualifications Development is an area of the organisation which is responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining qualifications and assessments.   
 

(b) Logistics & Events

Logistics & Events relates to the planning and execution of all meetings and events, whether physical or virtual, that are required for the delivery of an exam diet and certification.  These meetings and events cover things like marking, understanding standards and training. 

 

(c) why were there markers fees when everything in 2020 and 2021 is in a school?

The cancellation of the 2020 exam diet was announced on the 19th March 2020, however prior to this, external assessment of practical components had already been taking place e.g. performance of musical instruments.   We are liable to pay appointees for this work when we receive their reports, which we continued to receive into the new financial year (April onwards).   The Marker Fees and expenses quoted in the previous FOI response relates to this specific work, there were no marking costs associated with exam scripts.

 

Finally, why is it anticipated that the costs associated with evidence gathering and quality assurance will be higher this year?

The 2020 exam diet was cancelled at short notice, therefore it was not possible to implement an evidence-based quality assurance process in the timescales available.  In contrast, the cancellation of the 2021 diet was announced much further in advance and the resulting Alternative Certification Model, which was co-created with a wide range of stakeholders, includes an evidence-based quality assurance component, this carries an associated cost. 

In comparison to previous years (ie. before 2020) this cost would be small and yet money saved on printing and postage does not play a part in budgetary forecasts? Why? It still does not answer why full fees are being charged, when quite clearly, there is less 'to do' generally.

Direct income received by SQA for all our awarding and commercial activities ¿ not just National Qualifications ¿ does not cover the full cost of SQA activities. The remaining net expenditure is funded by Grant in Aid from the Scottish Government. 

In 20/21 there was a notable reduction in the level of funding we received and this was reflective of the reduction in our operating costs as a result of the cancellation of the exam diet and the wider impact of Covid-19. Please note that the actual figure for 20/21 is net of £24.4 million of Grant in Aid previously agreed but not drawn down from the Scottish Government. In 21/22, the actual cost of delivery of all SQA activities will be monitored closely on a monthly basis and any movement in  the cost of delivery will be communicated to Scottish Government and our level of funding will be adjusted accordingly through the normal formal process.