Direct Claim Status (DCS)

DCS is simple - it's awarded on a qualification basis and if you’re awarded DCS status you'll be able to sign off your own certificate claim forms for that qualification.

Direct Claim Status (DCS) is available for all of our Regulated Qualifications* and Customised Awards.

*DCS is not currently available for our V Cert 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 External Quality Assurer (EQA).

The quality criteria state that, for DCS to be achieved, your centre must achieve 2 successful consecutive external quality assurance visits (over a maximum of an 18 month period) with exclusively grades of 1, 2 or 3, with all actions on both reports completed.  Your EQA must also have been able to sample portfolios for at least 3 learners on each visit, and over the 2 visits, at least 3 of the learner’s portfolios must be completed.  The 2 successful visits must be at least one month apart.

DCS can also be achieved after one successful visit if exclusively grade 1s are achieved, all actions are completed, at least 5 learners portfolios have been sampled and a minimum of 3 of the portfolios must be completed.

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.

If you’ve achieved DCS with another Awarding Organisation for a qualification that’s also offered by NCFE, we may be able to honour this. All you need to do is complete the application 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.
Please note, DCS can only be transferred before any visits have been carried out by an NCFE EQA for that particular qualification.

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.

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 NCFE 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're only required to have one visit from the EQA every 12 months, but you can still have the extra visit if you'd like.  In order to maintain DCS, you will need to achieve exclusively grades of 1, 2 or 3, with any actions from the previous report completed in full.

Your EQA will also need to sample at least 3 completed learner portfolios for DCS to be maintained so 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 however we recommend keeping at least the square root of the total number of learners that have been certificated since your last visit (including any learners currently on programme).  If less than 3 completed portfolios are sampled, DCS will be withheld pending the sampling of 3 completed portfolios.

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 1 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 2 consecutive visits meeting the DCS criteria will be required 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, an Quality Assurance Officer from NCFE would contact you to highlight the issues and discuss the concerns.

More information

If you'd like more information about DCS or if you've any queries, please contact our Quality Assurance team.

DCS Transfer Request Form

DCS Transfer Request Form

Please note that NCFE 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.