Nick Tate, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has written to apologise to David Sherlock, chief executive and chief inspector of the Training Standards Council, regarding the draft annual report, published last week.
Mr Tate wrote: "I do apologise for an earlier impression that we were trying to shape this in some way. As you know, I am quite clear about your autonomy - and, indeed, the value of your autonomy - in these matters.
"I am very keen, however, that we join forces to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the press comment which your report will undoubtedly provoke and that we are as forward looking and constructive as possible about the measures which we already have in place (and are in train) to remedy the weaknesses in assessment and verification that you are going to identify."
Mr Sherlock played down the affair. "One of Nick's subordinates wrote a pert letter which suggested that the QCA wanted to vet our report, which was way out of line. It was a silly mistake on someone else's part and Nick corrected the impression made."