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 against 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 all of our regulated qualifications.

The DCS criteria

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 after one visit

For DCS to be achieved after one visit your centre must have had one EQA visit report which has:

  • 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’ for each active qualification; other learners sampled can have ‘new’ or ‘mid’ status
  • reliability of assessment must be graded as A.

DCS after 2 visits

For DCS to be achieved your centre must have 2 consecutive EQA visit reports over a maximum of an 18 month period which has:

  • 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.

How DCS is awarded

When you meet the quality criteria we'll automatically award you DCS for the qualification. We'll email the Programme Contact at your centre to inform them that you've been awarded DCS. You don't have to do anything - it's that simple.

So what does it mean?

If you're awarded DCS, carry on doing what you're doing - deliver the qualification to your learners, assess their work and make sure it's internally quality assured. Then, instead of having to wait for the EQA to visit, you can simply submit your claims to us and we'll process them for you and produce your certificates.

Maintaining DCS

Once you've achieved DCS you need to make sure that you continue to operate to the high standard that you already have in place.  

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 portfolio sampled and marked as ‘final’ for each active qualification; other learners sampled can have ‘new’ or ‘mid’ statuses
  • reliability of assessment must be graded as A or B.

As your EQA will need to sample completed learner portfolios for DCS to be maintained, please ensure you retain a sample of learner work to present to your EQA. The size and range of this sample should be discussed with your EQA in advance of the visit.  If less than one completed portfolio is sampled, DCS will be withheld pending the sampling of one completed portfolio.

If you don't have a visit with 12 months of achieving DCS, your DCS status will automatically lapse on the anniversary you were awarded it.  Don’t worry; we’ll send you emails 3 months and one month before the lapse date.  If your DCS does lapse, you’ll have 6 months from the lapse date to have a visit meeting the DCS criteria in order to regain DCS.

If there is no EQA visit within 18 months of DCS being achieved, or a visit takes place in which the DCS criteria are not achieved, DCS will be lost and you’ll be required to meet the DCS criteria again in order to regain it.

Remember that we can remove your approval for DCS, but we’d only remove it for the following reasons:

  • If you don’t meet the DCS criteria during your external quality assurance visit (as detailed above).
  • In the exceptional circumstance where information from a range of external sources raises concerns eg complaints, suspensions or investigations which may lead us to review of your DCS approval. If this happens, a Quality Assurance Officer from NCFE would contact you to highlight the issues and discuss the concerns.

DCS Transfer from another Awarding Organisation

If you’ve achieved DCS with another Awarding Organisation (AOs) for a qualification that’s also offered by us, we may be able to honour this. All you need to do is complete the request form to transfer DCS at the bottom of this page, include the appropriate evidence and submit. There are 3 examples of appropriate evidence on the form; however, you only need to submit one.

We’ll then contact you within 5 working days to confirm whether it’s possible to transfer your DCS or not, or whether we need additional evidence. Please note that there may be occasions when it‘s not possible to transfer your DCS and the reasons for this will be explained within our response.

More information

If you'd like more information about DCS or if you've any queries, please contact your External Quality Assurer in the first instance or one of the Quality Assurance team.

DCS Transfer Request Form

Please note that we will independently authenticate a random selection of evidence supplied in support of DCS transfers. Please provide a valid email address for the AO to allow us to contact them if your evidence is selected for authentication. We will ensure that you’re copied into any correspondence.