I was in London yesterday at a meeting to discuss the links between the Skills Council, awarding bodies and vendors.
All of the UK awarding bodies have links with vendors -- and it was clear from the meeting that we also face the same issues. The main problem is keeping up to date with the regular changes to vendors' courses. The situation is worse in England because it is a much larger and more complex qualification sector, with OfQual controlling what awarding bodies can offer.
There was general agreement about the best way to tackle this problem. Vendors should "genericise" their qualifications, making them less specific and, therefore, less in need of constant updating. The best way to do this is to "wrap" vendor qualifications in more generic language and put this on QCF. These generic units could be picked up by awarding bodies and included in their qualifications -- and being more generic, they would not constantly have to be changed.
The vendors also agreed to provide the SSC and awarding bodies with prior notice of proposed changes to their curricula and to adhere to any deadlines that are set by awarding bodies if they want their qualifications included in national awards.
So it was a very worthwhile meeting with lots of positive outcomes. You can find out more about SQA's links with vendors here.