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Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009

Chapter 4: Other functions
Section 167: Provision of services

478.This section gives Ofqual the power to provide services to other persons in connection with any of its functions. Ofqual may charge for its services. Ofqual would be able, for example, to provide services to qualifications regulators in other countries.

Section 168: Provision of information or advice

479.This section requires Ofqual to provide the Secretary of State with information or advice relating to its functions where the Secretary of State requests it. This is a similar relationship to that between the Secretary of State and Ofsted. Where requested, Ofqual must also provide information or advice on its functions (so far as they relate to Northern Ireland) to the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland.

Section 169: Research and development

480.This section provides Ofqual with the power to carry out research in relation to qualifications that would be eligible for regulation or in relation to regulated assessment arrangements; and to commission, co-ordinate or facilitate such research.

Section 170: Duty not to impose or maintain unnecessary burdens

481.This section imposes a duty on Ofqual not to impose or maintain unnecessary regulatory burdens. The section is similar in effect to section 72 of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008, which imposes almost identical duties on a range of other regulators. Ofqual must monitor its regulatory functions (in relation to recognised bodies or accredited qualifications for example); and must also publish an annual statement explaining how it plans to review its regulatory functions and to secure that they do not impose or maintain unnecessary burdens.

Section 171: Annual and other reports

482.This section requires Ofqual to publish an annual report. Ofqual has flexibility to determine when during its first year of life its reporting period should end, which will set the annual reporting period thereafter: it may be, for example, that Ofqual would decide that the reporting period in the first year should end in the autumn, in order that it can report on the previous summer’s exams and tests. Each subsequent reporting period would then end in the autumn. Ofqual may also prepare and publish other reports.

483.Ofqual must lay its annual reports before Parliament and (so far as the report relates to Northern Ireland, where Ofqual regulates vocational qualifications) the Northern Ireland Assembly. It may choose to publish a single document or separate documents in relation to England and Northern Ireland.

484.There are four things that Ofqual must include in its annual report:


A statement of what Ofqual has done in performing its functions in the reporting period.


An assessment of the extent to which it has met its objectives in the period. In relation to the qualifications standards objective, this assessment must take account of any information detailed in section 171(2)(c) about the attainment of relevant pupils in England.


Details of information on the levels of attainment in regulated qualifications which are wholly or mainly taken in schools – for example GCSEs. Ofqual may fulfil this by describing the information it has obtained, or actually publishing the information: for example, if it had the information available, it might publish information about the proportions of GCSE candidates in particular subjects getting particular grades.


If Ofqual has established arrangements for the referral of complaints about regulated qualifications to an independent party (under section 150(2)), the annual report must describe the activities of the independent party during the reporting period.

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