Becoming a recognised awarding organisation

CCEA Regulation is responsible for the regulation all qualifications as defined on the Register of Regulated Qualifications. Organisations wishing to offer qualifications in Northern Ireland must be recognised by CCEA Regulation and must meet the CCEA Criteria for Recognition.

The following information sets out how an applicant can be recognised as an awarding organisation by CCEA Regulation. The Recognition Application Form can also be used to make application to the other regulators in England (Ofqual) and Wales (Qualifications Wales). Each regulator will make its own decision but the same evidence will be used where appropriate.

Please note there is no cost for this service.

What is the process?

It is important that an applicant organisation and, in particular, its governing body fully consider the CCEA Criteria for Recognition and the CCEA General Conditions of Recognition.

Organisations should undertake a robust evaluation ahead of applying for recognition, and evidence of this must be submitted in the evaluation template along with the completed Recognition Application Form. Both documents should be returned to

The first check by CCEA Regulation will be for completeness of the application. If it is not complete it will be returned. If everything is correct, CCEA Regulation will take at least 45 working days to consider it. CCEA Regulation will evaluate it in line with the CCEA Recognition Criteria and the CCEA General Conditions of Recognition.

CCEA Regulation will also meet with representatives of the prospective awarding organisation (including its governing body) to test and validate the evidence provided and to seek clarification, if required. The decision will be communicated to the applicant with an explanation if unsuccessful.

Once recognised

Each recognised awarding organisation is subject to the CCEA General Conditions of Recognition and may also be subject to any specific qualification conditions. In order to stay recognised, awarding organisations will need to declare their compliance with the CCEA General Conditions of Recognition on an annual basis, by completing the Statement of CCEA Compliance and forwarding to .

Benefits of Recognition

Becoming a recognised awarding organisation can also bring many benefits, such as:

  • giving learners and employers confidence that the qualifications are delivered by an organisation whose integrity, resources and competence have been independently checked;
  • informing users of qualifications – learners, schools, employers – that the qualifications are monitored and are of the standard and level they claim to be;
  • having qualifications listed on the Register of Regulated Qualifications which is a key resource for those looking to take qualifications; and
  • allowing particular aspects of the qualifications to be transparent across Europe by reference to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).


CCEA Criteria for Recognition - May 2017
178.08 KB - uploaded 31-07-2017
CCEA Regulation Application for Recognition form
134.96 KB - uploaded 30-11-2016