With the current financial climate, reductions in centre funding and changes to the regulatory arrangements, the AO sector is experiencing change the like of which it has never experienced before and on a scale and with a level of diversity that will only expand and gather in pace.
From our unique position in the sector we are seeing and/or leading developments at various AOs and SSCs that when considered individually are interesting, but when viewed holistically clearly signal that the extent of change is such that the AO market of 2011/12 will operate in a completely different way to that of 2010/11. In particular, the next year will be critical to the sector as a range of regulatory and Government changes begin to take effect, along with the roll-out of new services and models amongst various AOs.
This changing landscape, and the expertise and experience we can bring to AOs and SSCs, has seen demand for our unique and comprehensive consultancy services grow rapidly over the last year. Examples of some of our recent work include:
- Business strategies and growth
- Working with AO Boards to facilitate the development of their strategic plans and objectives to meet the challenges of this rapidly changing environment
- Initiating, developing and implementing a cross-AO collaboration (for EAL, IMI Awards, Skillsfirst Awards and ITEC in relation to Functional Skills) and which is aimed at reducing development costs and burden and transforming delivery arrangements
- Providing regulatory and market advice and trends analysis as retained advisors and/or members on various advisory boards
- Research into Regulatory and Market developments and their possible impact on a particular AO and sector
- Leading on tenders for AOs
- Creating policies and procedures that align with Ofqual’s new General Conditions (and SQA requirements) such as an AO risk management policy, business continuity document, conflict of interest policy, etc. All of which is developed and delivered in a collaborative and informative manner to help ensure your staff fully understand their new responsibilities.
- Running and facilitating risk management workshops.
- Leading on applications for various organisations to different regulatory bodies in relation to gaining them AO status and/or extending their remit to offer different qualification types such as Functional Skills or QCF
- Carrying out pre-Ofqual audit health checks to prepare AOs for their audits and prevent critical public audit reports
- Providing independent and robust self assessments for AOs to help ensure regulatory compliance and to identify opportunities for process and service improvements
- Culture, process and organisation change
- Reviewing and restructuring AOs to improve their effectiveness – including two multi-million pound a year AOs
- Changing and merging quality assurance (eg External Verifiers) and sales based teams into a coherent and effective resource
- Changing the culture and approach of quality assurance based teams to ensure their approach is seen by centres as adding value as well as ensuring standards are maintained and that new sales opportunities are identified and acted upon
- Reviewing and streamlining all aspects of qualification development functions resulting in more efficient, cost effective and customer focused qualifications
- Transforming the collection and utilisation of data that is naturally collected to better inform new products, services and business opportunities
- Speaking at annual conferences and other AO events on the changing market and the need for companies to energise and change processes to meet new demands
- Project and programme management of organisation-wide change activities
If you would like to meet to discuss how we could help your organisation prepare and pre-empt the changes the sector is facing then please feel free to contact us to arrange a meeting.