What is Direct Claim Status (DCS)?
To encourage best practice, we offer a reward system called Direct Claim Status (DCS).
When you achieve DCS, you‘ll be able to claim learner certificates without needing
authorisation from your External Quality Assurer (EQA).
DCS is awarded for an individual qualification and is based on quality criteria that are
measured and reported on through the external quality assurance visits carried out by your
EQA. DCS is available for most of our regulated qualifications (excluding V Certs and some
Visit the delivery and learner support section in Qual Hub to find more information on DCS. Direct Claim Status enables you to claim certificates for a qualification without needing to have your learners work signed off by your External Quality Assurer.
Can I transfer my existing DCS from another Awarding Organisation (AO)?
Yes, We may be able to honour your existing DCS with other AO’s. You can complete our online DCS transfer form, you’ll need to provide one of the following pieces of evidence: Confirmation letter or email from the AO clearly showing the AO’s logo, the qualification name and number, the centre name and number the DCS status and the date DCS was achieved; Visit report from the AO clearly showing the AO’s logo, the qualification name and number, the centre name and number, the DCS status and the date achieved; Screen shot of the AO's website clearly showing the website address, logo of AO, the qualification name and number, the DCS status and the date achieved and the centre’s name and number.
Can my DCS be removed?
Yes we can remove your DCS approval at any time, but only for the following reasons: if you don’t meet the DCS criteria during your external quality assurance/verification visit (as detailed above). If this happens we’ll contact you and discuss this with you; in the exceptional circumstance where information from a range of external sources raises concerns, e.g. complaints, suspensions or investigations which may lead us to review of your DCS approval. If this happens, an External Quality Assurance Officer would contact you to highlight the issues and discuss the concerns.
Once DCS has been lost you will need two consecutive external quality assurance visits that meet our quality criteria. This involves being graded as excellent or above average in all categories and to have completed all of the outstanding actions set by the external quality assurer.
How many learners should be sampled to achieve DCS?
DCS is awarded for each individual qualification and therefore the number of learners sampled would be considered per qualification.
It also depends on the current status of the centre and over how many visits you want to achieve DCS.
If you are delivering the qualification for the first time and would like to achieve DCS in 1 visit, then the following criteria must be met in your EQA report; Exclusively grade 1s; No outstanding actions from previous EQA visit report; A minimum of 3 learner portfolios sampled on the visit, with at least 2 completed portfolios sampled and marked as ‘final’; other learners sampled can have ‘new’ or ‘mid’ status; Reliability of assessment must be graded as A; For Reformed Functional Skills only: the square root of submitted learners for controlled assessment must be sampled or a minimum of 5 (where there are fewer than 5, a minimum of 3 learners must be sampled and marked as final).
If you are delivering the qualification and would like to achieve DCS over 2 EQA visits, then the following criteria must be met in your EQA report; Exclusively grade 1s, 2s and 3s; A gap of at least one month between the 2 visits
No outstanding actions from previous EQA visit report; A minimum of 3 learner portfolios sampled on each visit, with at least 3 completed portfolios sampled over the 2 visits; other learners sampled can have ‘new’ or ‘mid’ statuses; Reliability of assessment must be graded as A or B
For Reformed Functional Skills only: the square root of submitted learners for controlled assessment must be sampled or a minimum of 5 (where there are fewer than 5, a minimum of 3 learners must be sampled and marked as final).
If you already have DCS and plan to maintain this then you must have one visit within 12 months of DCS being achieved/maintained meeting the following criteria; Exclusively grade 1s, 2s and 3s; No outstanding actions from previous EQA visit report; a minimum of one completed learner portfolios sampled and marked as ‘final’; other learners sampled can have ‘new’ or ‘mid’ statuses; Reliability of assessment must be graded as A or B; For Reformed Functional Skills only: the square root of submitted learners for controlled assessment must be sampled or a minimum of 5 (where there are fewer than 5, a minimum of 3 learners must be sampled and marked as final).
Why has my centre lost DCS when the minimum number of learners were sampled?
If the minimum number of learners have been sampled, you’ll need to check that all other DCS criteria has also been met.
Learners marked as ‘new’ or ‘mid’ count towards the number of learners sampled however, only learners marked as ‘final’ are deemed as fully completed portfolios. The minimum number of ‘final’ completed portfolios must be sampled to achieve DCS. The EQA will always retrospectively sample learners who’ve been certificated previously via DCS.
What does the ‘DCS Pending’ status mean?
DCS Pending will appear on the report when most of the required criteria has been met but insufficient final learners haven’t been sampled to achieve DCS. DCS is therefore pending until correct number of final learner portfolios have been sampled; When achieving DCS in 1 visit – a minimum of 3 learners must be sampled and 2 marked as final; When achieving DCS over 2 visits – a minimum of 3 learners must be sampled in the current and previous report and 3 must be marked as final over the 2 reports per qualification; When maintaining DCS – a minimum of 1 learner portfolio must be sampled and marked as ‘final’.
What does ‘First Report of DCS’ mean?
This means that it’s the first report to meet the DCS criteria on the 2 visit pathway. DCS hasn’t been awarded yet but will be achieved if the next visit meets the criteria and takes place with 18 months of the first visit.
If a centre has achieved a status of ‘DCS Pending’ or ‘First report of DCS Standard’ will learner certificates be automatically issued once a certificate claim form is submitted?
Certificate claim forms will only automatically be signed off if a centre has DCS achieved or maintained. For any other DCS outcome, certificate claims will need to be signed off by the EQA. You must ensure that prior to submitting any certification claims, a visit must have taken place otherwise the EQA will reject the claim. Our SLA for EQAs to sign off certificate claims is 3 working days.
Why has the centre lost DCS for qualifications that weren’t sampled?
There are a couple of triggers which will result in DCS being lost for all qualifications in the QA group even if they weren’t sampled on the visit:
If section 2 is graded as ‘some actions outstanding’ or ‘no action taken’; Any section containing a grade 4 or 5; Section 7 reliability of assessment graded C or D; Section 10 do you recommend continued approval for this product and centre is marked no.
If a centre has achieved DCS for a higher level qualification of a nested qualification eg Cert or Diploma, can DCS be applied to the lower Level Award or Cert, or standalone units?
Yes DCS can be applied. However, the centre or EQA must request this either in section 10 of the EQA report or by emailing [email protected]
If a qualification is sampled prior to the expiry of DCS, is it update for another year, or does it still run up to the original expiry date?
DCS will be updated for a year from the date of the EQA visit, whether it is on the day of the expiry or prior. If a visit takes place after the expiration date then DCS will automatically lapse and the centre will need to work towards achieving DCS again.
Why can a centre not gain DCS when they have been delivering qualifications for a number of years, however, they never have enough learners to meet the requirements of DCS?
NCFE has set minimum requirements for DCS in order to monitor centre assessment standards. Therefore, if a centre is unable to meet the DCS criteria, this can’t be awarded.