Scottish Qualifications Authority continuing to improve

09 November 2006 Share this LinkedIn

An Audit Scotland report today highlights the progress made by the Scottish Qualifications Authority since 2000, when problems in processing exam results led to incomplete and inaccurate results for 17,000 candidates.

The study, Performance Management in the Scottish Qualifications Authority, provides a positive assessment of the progress made by the organisation, which in 2005 received 2.5 million entries from 500,000 candidates.

Robert Black, Auditor General for Scotland, said: “The SQA has successfully re-established confidence in its work and is demonstrating an ongoing commitment to making improvements.”

Findings in the report show that:

  • since 2000 the SQA has been successful in re-establishing customer and stakeholder confidence;
  • the Board and executive team have shown commitment and leadership in driving forward improvements;
  • the SQA’s corporate planning process has established clear objectives, although performance management information is not clearly linked to these objectives at present;
  • the SQA is developing a deeper understanding of the link between its costs and activities, and is beginning to benchmark its activities against other organisations.

Robert Black said: “Our report makes a number of recommendations to aid the SQA in its progress. These include that the organisation develops performance indicators linked to key objectives, and that it explore opportunities for greater use of benchmarking to inform performance management activity. The SQA also needs to continue to develop a more strategic focus and to identify opportunities for efficiency savings.”

Total government funding for SQA has reduced from a peak of £23.8 million in 2003/04 to £17.5 million in 2005/06.

In 2005/06 SQA generated £33.8 million in revenue through examination fees and consultancy assignments. This largely covers its core work of assessment and certification and is an increase of 50 per cent on 2000. The SQA received £10.6m additional grant funding, covering development costs, and £6.9 million of other government funding.