During the initial stage, you need make sure you have completed the following steps:
- Be registered with the Information Commissioner’s office
- Have read the assessment plan for the standard you are applying for
- Have been trading for a minimum of 3 months
- Have read the requirements for organisations on the register of end-point assessment organisations
Further information from the ESFA about the process can be found here .
The official guidelines state that the following elements need to be in place within 9 months of being accepted onto the EPAO register – however, many organisations prepare to have these in place well in advance of their first EPA. Our platform -ACE360- can provide key support in meeting these six requirements.
Here is some information on the key areas that you need to know for your application to the register:
1. Administrative Systems
ACE360 provides a complete end-to-end apprenticeship management solution, from registration of apprentices, the storing of gateway and EPA evidence, scheduling and booking of assessments and automatically connecting directly to the certification service.
Your ACE360 Account manager will support you in setting up these processes and be available to support you through your whole EPA journey.
2. System Infrastructure
Within your application there is a section on IT infrastructure – this will vary from organisation to organisation, based on your specific software. If you are an ACE360 user, you can use the information found here, to fill out the specific section as required.
3. Internal Quality Assurance
Initially, as a new EPAO you may wish to consider conducting 100% Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) – this is completed at component level and then at an overall grade level. The IQA document can be an extended version of your assessment grading/marking sheet. This can vary greatly, depending on the standard, the type of component assessed, and the complexity of the assessment plan.
If you are using a grading sheet, the IQA can take the form of an added column, with notes, signature, and name of assessor at the end of each section. As your assessors become more and more familiar with EPA and your organisation-specific processes, it is common to reduce the number of second reviews undertaken to a percentage sampling basis. This is usually based on a risk-analysis of each assessor; the higher the risk, the higher the number of assessments reviewed.
It is recommended to conduct an initial assessment of any new assessor, and assign a risk scoring – this will allow you to determine what percentage you will need to sample in the short to long term – you may want to conduct a 100% analysis during an assessor’s probationary period.
If your assessments are face to face, or take the form of an online test with an invigilator, you may want to conduct random surprise visits. If the discussions/observations are recorded, you may also choose to review the recorded evidence and marking sheets/grading documents.
You can use ACE360 to access all assessment-based grading decisions and evidence – once you review them, you can store supporting IQA decisions and evidence, in order to improve the quality of your assessments. Furthermore, by using our report section, you can monitor the percentage pass rate of each assessor, and alter your risk profile accordingly.
4. Policies & Procedures
You will need to have established the following Policies & Procedures:
- Complaints and appeals policy
- Conflict of interest policy
- Consistency assurance for assessing a standard
- Data Protection Policy
- Employers liability insurance
- Fair access policy
- Internal audit policy
- Monitoring procedures
- Monitoring processes
- Prevent agenda policy
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Public liability insurance
- Safeguarding policy
These documents may need to be shared with your connected Training Providers. ACE360 includes a Knowledge Base feature which you can use to store all your guidance documents and policies, making them easily accessible to your providers, employees and customers.
5. Communication Protocols
It is important to develop a clear and consistent way of communicating with both employers and training providers – regular updates with key stakeholders are key to running a successful End-Point Assessment business. Apprenticeship training has many moving parts and everyone needs to be doing their part every step of the way, in order to deliver standards in a timely and efficient manner.
ACE360 allows instantaneous transfer of information between various stakeholders, and further streamlines data management in a safe and secure manner.
6. Supporting Material for Assessments
Training Providers frequently tell us that it is essential that they understand the requirements, policies, and procedures and expectations of their End-Point Assessment organisations. This allows you to better support your customers in providing the highest level of training and preparation for Assessment.
You can provide your Training Providers with access to Generic and Standard-specific guidance.