Can the Assessor help us look for evidence when they visit?
Some assessment approaches take a more collaborative approach, working with providers in a consultancy role to help them develop and aid the discovery of evidence to help their case. This approach has not been used with the Training Quality Standard for two primary reasons:
An additional reason is because there is a concern over the lack of ownership for employer strategy from senior management in some provider organisations. By having an assessment as an objective external view, but with a developmental output (feedback report, the potential for benchmarking), the responsibility for improvement remains with the provider, not with a consultant working at the margins of the organisation.
Can we propose new evidence to the Assessor when they visit?
In principle, no. The visit is made for the purposes of verification, and that means that it is designed to check the claims made in an application, rather than to allow it to develop further. We do appreciate though that some evidence might not be cited but is directly relevant to a claim made, and there are judgements to be made on this score. A critical test here is whether it is 'naturally occurring' ; i.e., does the evidence adduced have a role in the day-to-day context of work related to the claims made in your application?
Where these judgements need to be made, the decision of the Assessor is final. If an Assessor refuses to accept evidence as (1) within the spirit of a claim already made in the application, and (2) 'naturally occurring' in the context of that claim, then it is not eligible for consideration.
The assessment process does provide for instances where the organisation has made a very poor case of presenting itself in the application. The lead Assessor can recommend that the certification decision is deferred for three months, to allow the organisation to resubmit the application.
Is the Training Quality Standard bureaucratic?
The application for the Training Quality Standard requires a provider to tell a coherent story from its strategy, through the development and deployment of approaches, to the achievement of outcomes. It is not a compliance driven model - instead, assessment focuses on verifying that the provider delivers on its strategy.
In preparing its application, a provider should be telling the true story of how it delivers, and the evidence it offers should be the information used in the everyday operation of its processes. Although documentary sources can be important, clear understanding between staff members is also an important part of the evidence.
The Training Quality Standard will only be especially bureaucratic where a provider has to manufacture information because it does not naturally exist as part of its operations. In these cases, the problem lies with the provider's operations rather than with the Standard, and given that assessment is a voluntary step, it presents no significant issues.
Does assessment give credit for existing certifications?
We want to ensure that assessment is fair and rigorous in every case; exempting some organisations from parts of the process because they have previously been certificated for other standards would compromise this principle.