Becoming a recognised awarding organisation

CCEA Regulation is responsible for the regulation all qualifications offered in Northern Ireland 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.

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 must request by email a meeting with CCEA Regulation staff using before commencing any activity to become recognised. At this meeting, the organisation should clearly outline the rationale for recognition, its potential to meet the recognition criteria and how it intends to operate as an awarding organisation. CCEA Regulation will advise at this point whether the application for recognition should be made.

If an application goes ahead, the first check by CCEA Regulation will be for completeness of the application. If it is not complete it will be returned. When 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.

Separate application must be made to Ofqual for recognition in England, and to Qualifications Wales for recognition in Wales.

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).

End your recognition

If you decide to stop being regulated by CCEA Regulation and to end recognition of all your qualifications for use in Northern Ireland, you will need to surrender your recognition completely. To start the process to completely surrender your recognition, email us at to tell us which (and/or all) the qualifications you wish to surrender. You must adhere to condition D7 for the withdrawal of qualifications offered in Northern Ireland. We will contact you to discuss the next steps including the final dates your qualifications will be available to learners if applicable.

Once you have surrendered recognition, you must untick the ‘offered in Northern Ireland’ section on the Ofqual Portal for qualifications offered across England and Northern Ireland, and you must stop using the CCEA Regulation logo on all published material and certificates.


CCEA Criteria for Recognition - May 2017
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