This is a question I am being asked increasingly since the introduction of qualifications within the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).  There was, and still is, a common misconception that assessor qualifications would be redundant as NVQs were phased out to be replaced by QCF qualifications.

I can understand the logic:  The A1 (or D32/D33) qualification was a requirement to assess NVQ qualifications, therefore if NVQs disappear the qualification isn’t required.

However, firstly, NVQs haven’t entirely disappeared, e.g. ILM NVQ Awards, Certificates and Diplomas in Management are new QCF qualifications.  Many other QCF qualifications have retained the “NVQ” title.  More importantly, the assessor qualification requirement has actually increased.  Centres delivering QCF qualifications need to refer to their Centre Guide from the Awarding Organisation.  Look at the section the explains “Human Resources”, or “Competence requirements for Assessors and Quality Assurance staff”, or similar.  Here it will explicitly state what qualifications and experience is required for those involved in the delivery of the qualifications.  Most state some form of vocational qualification, or experience, or both, plus “an appropriate assessor qualification”.  In the end it’s about ensuring that your Centre meets the requirements of your Awarding Organisation, e.g. City and Guilds, OCR, etc.

To return to my comment about the assessor qualification has actually increased:  The new suite of assessor qualifications reflects the different types of environment in which QCF qualifications are assessed.  Essentially these are assessing competence in a work environment, or assessing vocationally related achievement, e.g. in a training centre, college, etc.  For example Technical Certificates for apprenticeship qualifications would fall into the latter category.  Qualifications that would previously have been called VRQs also fall into this category.  In both these examples, an assessor qualification was not a requirement  before QCF, however, now it generally is a requirement.  Unfortunately, many Centres are only discovering this requirement when they have a visit by their External Quality Assurer (EQA - formally EV!).  In both the examples I have used, the Award in Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement is generally a requirement for practicing assessors.

Under QCF Centres will be graded as “Low”, “Medium”, or “High” risk by Awarding Organisations.  The level of risk will be assessed against a variety of criteria including qualifications of Centre staff, resources, internal quality assurance systems and processes, etc.  Whether it is an Awarding Organisation requirement that your staff holds an appropriate assessor qualification, or not, it is certainly an indicator of the quality of assessments conducted by your Centre’s staff and contributes to a standardised approach to assessment practice.

So, in summary:  Yes in my opinion, you do need an appropriate assessor qualification if you assessing vocational achievement; even if it’s against your organisations own internally devised standards and not even externally accredited!