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Awarding bodies bonanza

It is good to see yet another organisation prepared to join the broad church that is the AO community, alongside many other new entrants such as McDonald's and Kaplan.

Along with its colleagues, the 157 Group will need to meet the extensive process of Ofqual to become a regulated awarding body. If it wants to offer nationally recognised vocational qualifications in the Qualifications and Credit Framework, it will have to devote considerable resource and time to working with SSCs and meeting their requirements. And, of course, assuming it seeks public funding for its qualifications, it will also be required to meet the expectations of the Skills Funding Agency and the Young People's Learning Agency.

As it does all of this, we hope that it - unlike us - can find ways to respond more rapidly to employers' needs, to have total control over the development of its qualifications and thereby reduce costs. Such efficiencies and effectiveness have been denied to the rest of the awarding industry given the highly centralised, overly bureaucratic systems currently in place.

Jill Lanning, chief executive, Federation of Awarding Bodies.

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