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Accreditation and accreditation systems in South Africa: A review of existing domestic legislation, regulations, policies, and procedures A situational

l analysis
By Amanda Dissel

Draft as at 07 December 2009

Contents................................................................................................................ 2 Introduction........................................................................................................... 3 Requirements of the Child Justice Act....................................................................4 Objectives of the Child Justice Act...................................................................4 Objectives of Diversion....................................................................................5 Diversion Options............................................................................................6 Minimum Standards for Diversion...................................................................7 Provision and accreditation of diversion programmes and diversion service providers....................................................................................................... 11 Quality assurance process.............................................................................12 Current systems of accreditation......................................................................13 National Qualification Framework..................................................................13 Accreditation and quality assurance systems within government departments ......................................................................................................................... 24 Department of Social Development...............................................................24 Professional Bodies...........................................................................................28 Conclusion........................................................................................................ 34

The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 introduces a new system of child justice for children in conflict with the law in South Africa. The Act is based on Constitutional principles and international obligations, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It establishes a separate criminal justice system and criminal procedure for children. The Act entrenches principles of restorative justice while ensuring the childs accountability and responsibility for crimes committed. A key component of the Act is about creating the possibility of diverting children who have committed offences away from the criminal justice system in appropriate circumstances. Children not diverted are to be dealt with through the criminal justice system by means of child justice courts. Diversion of children aims to create mechanisms for dealing with children outside of the formal courts in ways that meet the specific needs of the child, while holding him or her accountable. It also aims to respond to the harm caused by the child through a restorative justice approach, but also seeks to address any offending behaviour and reduce the potential for reoffending. The Act sets out the range of diversion options which a child may be referred to, as well as establishing minimum standards for diversion. While diversion has been offered to children in South Africa for over 15 years, there have been no mechanisms for overseeing and approving the nature and quality of those services and programmes or of the providers who offer those services. The Act introduces the requirement that a child may only be referred to a service provider or programme that is accredited in terms of the Act. Service providers include government, non-governmental and educational bodies. The accreditation mechanism is envisaged to ensure that service providers meet minimum standards that are to be defined by the accreditation body. Programmes must also be accredited so that they meet the minimum standards set out in the Act and provide a meaningful response to the harm caused. In addition to the accreditation process, the Act also provides for quality assurance, and the monitoring and evaluation of programmes and service providers. The Department of Social Development (DSD) is tasked with the development of the accreditation and quality assurance framework. NICRO was requested to assist with this process by undertaking research and developing recommendations for the accreditation framework. As part of this project, this paper aims to outline what relevant systems for accreditation and quality assurance currently exist in South Africa. This paper starts by outlining the requirements of the Child Justice Act in terms of the objectives and minimum standards for diversion. It then outlines the requirements for the accreditation and quality assurance system. The paper then outlines the National Qualification Framework, which is the primary system for

accreditation of training and development programmes and service providers in the country. The paper then outlines what accreditation and quality assurance mechanisms currently exist within several government departments: the Department of Social Development; the Department of Health, Department of Education, and Department of Correctional Services. Systems of accreditation used by several professional bodies are outlined. Finally, the paper concludes and makes tentative recommendations based on the research.

Requirements of the Child Justice Act

Objectives of the Child Justice Act The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 introduces a new system of child justice for children in conflict with the law in South Africa. The Act is based on Constitutional principles and international obligations, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It establishes a separate criminal justice system and criminal procedure for children. The Act entrenches principles of restorative justice while ensuring their accountability and responsibility for crimes committed. A key component of the Act is about creating the possibility of diverting children who have committed offences away from the criminal justice system in appropriate circumstances. Children not diverted are to be dealt with through the criminal justice system by means of child justice courts. The objectives of the Act are set out in section 2, and they establish the context in which the rest of the Act must be interpreted, and are important for understanding the context in which diversion is to be rendered to children. The Act firstly aims to protect the rights of children as is provided for in the Constitution. Importantly, the Act also aims to promote the spirit of ubuntu through fostering the childs sense of dignity and worth. It aims to balance the rights of the child with the rights and freedoms of the community by holding the child accountable for their actions. The Act aims to support reconciliation through restorative justice, and through involving parents, families, victims and other members of the community affected by crime. In terms of responding to and preventing crime, the Act aims to provide for the special treatment of children in a system which is designed to break the cycle of crime, which will contribute to safer communities and encourage children to become law abiding and productive adults. The mechanisms used to deal with children should be more suitable to the needs of children. It is particularly noteworthy that the Act promotes cooperation between government departments and with civil society and the non4

governmental sector. This is so as to ensure an integrated and holistic approach to the implementation of the Act. Objectives of Diversion Chapter 8 of the Act deals with the objectives, principles and procedures for diversion of children. The objectives, as set out in section 51 are to: Deal with a child outside the formal criminal justice system in appropriate cases; Encourage the child to be accountable for the harm caused by him or her; Meet the particular needs of the individual child; Promote the reintegration of the child into his or her family and community; Provide an opportunity to those affected by the harm to express their views on its negative impact; Encourage the rendering to the victim of some symbolic benefit or the delivery of some object as compensation for the harm; Promote reconciliation between the child and the person or community affected by the harm caused by the child; Prevent stigmatizing the child and prevent the adverse consequences flowing from being subject to the criminal justice system; Reduce the potential for re-offending; Prevent the child from having a criminal record; and Promote the dignity and well-being of the child, and the development of his or her sense of self-worth and ability to contribute to society.

In terms of section 52, a child may be diverted during different stages in the criminal justice process, including by the prosecutor before a preliminary inquiry in the case of a child accused of a Schedule 1 or minor offence; at the preliminary inquiry, or during a trial. In considering whether a child should be diverted, in addition to considering any prior record of diversion, the following factors need to be taken into account. These are whether: the child acknowledges responsibility for the offence; the child has been unduly influenced to acknowledge responsibility; there is a prima facie case against the child; the child and his or her parent, an appropriate adult of guardian consent to diversion; and 5

the prosecutor indicates whether the child may be diverted in terms of the provisions of the Act.

In addition, in cases involving Schedule 2 or 3 offences the victim or person representing the victim must be consulted for their views, as must the police official responsible for the investigation of the matter. Section 9 deals with children under the age of 10 years of age. Where a police officer believes that a child is suspected of having committed an offence, he may not arrest the child, but must hand the child over to the childs parents, guardian or appropriate adult. The child must be assessed by a probation officer. After the assessment, the probation officer may: refer the child to the childrens court; to counseling or therapy (s 9(3)(a)(ii)); to an accredited programme designed specifically to meet the needs of children under the age of 10 years (s 9(3)(a) (iii)); arrange support services for the child; arrange a meeting with the child and the childs parents, guardian or appropriate adult; or take no action. Diversion Options Section 53 sets out a range of possible diversion options for a child. Level one options are available for children accused of Schedule 1 offences, and level two diversion options apply to cases involving Schedule 2 and 3 offences. Level One diversion options include: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) an oral or written apology to a specified person or persons or institution; a formal caution, with or without conditions; placement under a supervision and guidance order; placement under a reporting order; a compulsory school attendance order; a family time order; a peer association order; a good behaviour order; an order prohibiting the child from visiting, frequenting or appearing at a specified place; j) referral to counselling or therapy; k) compulsory attendance at a specified centre or place for a specified vocational, educational or therapeutic purpose; l) symbolic restitution to a specified person, persons, group of persons or community, charity or welfare organisation or institution; m) restitution of a specified object to a specified victim or victims of the alleged offence where the object concerned can be returned or restored; n) community service under the supervision or control of an organisation or institution, or a specified person, persons or group of persons identified by the probation officer; o) provision of some service or benefit by the child to a specified victim or victims; p) payment of compensation to a specified person, persons, group of persons or community, charity or welfare organisation or institution where the child or his or her family is able to afford this; and

q) where there is no identifiable person, persons or group of persons to whom restitution or compensation can be made, provision of some service or benefit or payment of compensation to a community, charity or welfare organisation or institution (S 53(3)). Level two diversion options include a) the level one diversion options referred to in subsection (3)(j) to (q); b) compulsory attendance at a specified centre or place for a specified vocational, educational or therapeutic purpose, which may include a period or periods of temporary residence; c) referral to intensive therapy to treat or manage problems that have been identified as a cause of the child coming into conflict with the law, which may include a period or periods of temporary residence; and d) placement under the supervision of a probation officer on conditions which may include restriction of the childs movement outside the magisterial district in which the child usually resides without the prior written approval of the probation officer (S 53(4)).

Minimum Standards for Diversion Section 55 sets out minimum standards applicable to diversion. The diversion must be structured in such a way as to strike a balance between the circumstances of the child, the nature of the offender, and the interests of society, and a) may not be exploitative, harmful or hazardous to the childs physical or mental health; b) must be appropriate to the age and maturity of the child; c) may not interfere with the childs schooling; d) may not be structured in a manner that completely excludes certain children due to a lack of resources, financial or otherwise; and e) must be sensitive to the circumstances of the victim. In addition, diversion programmes must be structured in such a way, that as far as possible they a) impart useful skills; b) include a restorative justice element which aims at healing relationships, including the relationship with the victim; c) include an element which seeks to ensure that the child understands the impact of his or her behaviour on others, including the victims of the offence, and may include compensation or restitution; d) be presented in a location reasonably accessible to the child; e) be structured in a way that they are suitable to be used in a variety of circumstances and for a variety of offences; f) be structured in a way that their effectiveness can be measured; g) be promoted and developed with a view to equal application and access throughout the country, bearing in mind the special needs and circumstances of children in rural areas and vulnerable groups; and h) involve parents, appropriate adults or guardians, if applicable.

In 2007 the Department of Social Development launched a set of Minimum Standards for Diversion.1 This was to standardise the way that diversion was being implemented by a number of different role players, and to ensure that diversion complied with Constitutional and Batho Pele principles. It sets out the minimum norms and standards that clients should expect from organisers, facilitators and programmes. The standards aim to ensure that diversion services are client orientated, accurate and effective; reach the intended outcomes; provide various intervention options, are private and confidential, and do not infringe on the rights of children. It also aims to provide guidelines for organisational administration and procedures and monitoring and evaluation. Ninety-five standards were developed for diversion practice that could be grouped into two categories: standards relating to organisational infrastructure, systems and capacity; and standards relating to programme outcomes. Each standard has a number of sub-issues. It also has a set of indicators to determine whether the service provider complies with the indicators. In terms of organisational infrastructure, the Standards deals with: knowledge and skills of facilitators (and in respect of certain specialised programmes); programme environment; the extent to which the organisation promotes and protects childrens rights; safety procedures; supervision and de-briefing of staff; performance management; organisational and staff code of conduct; record keeping; systems for financial management; governance, and legal structure. The organisation should also align itself and its services with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the South African Constitution and Bill of Rights, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, the UN Guidelines on the Treatment of Prisoners, and the Code of Conduct for Service Professionals (Standard 23). In respect of programmes, the Minimum Norms and Standards deals with post arrest assessment, the design and delivery of programmes, and establishes standards in respect of specific types of programmes, such as for sex offender and restorative justice processes. The section on Diversion Programme Design and Delivery sets out the detailed standards in quite a lot more detail than is provided for in the minimum standards for diversion set out in section 55 of the Act. There is some, though not complete, correlation between the standards set out in the Act and those provided in the policy document. The following is an analysis of what is contained in the Act, and the Minimum Norms and Standards for Diversion. Child Justice Act S 55 (1) provides that diversion programmes a) may not be exploitative, harmful or hazardous to the childs physical or mental health;

Minimum Norms and Standards for Diversion

Department of Social Development. (undated). Minimum Norms and Standards for Diversion. Department of Social Development.

b) must be appropriate to the age and maturity of the child

74. The programme is appropriate to the childs age, physical, and cognitive ability. 82. The manner in which the programme is delivered encourages the active participation of the young offender.

c) may not interfere with the childs schooling; d) may not be structured in a manner that completely excludes certain children due to a lack of resources, financial or otherwise e) must be sensitive to the circumstances of the victim S 55(2) Diversion programmes must be structured in such a way that they: a) impart useful skills b) include a restorative justice element which aims at healing relationships, including the relationship with the victim c) include an element which seeks to ensure that the child understands the impact of his or her behaviour on others, including the victims of the offence, and may include compensation or restitution d) be presented in a location reasonably accessible to the child e) be structured in a way that they are suitable to be used in a variety of circumstances and for a variety of offences

f) be structured in a way that their effectiveness can be measured

73. The diversion programme is reasonably geographically accessible to the child. 80. The intensity of diversion programmes (frequency and duration of programme activities) vary according to the level of risk recorded in the pre-intervention assessment of participants (i.e. the most intensive services are delivered to higher risk cases; and less intensive services are delivered to lower risk cases). 72. Diversion programmes include post-intervention assessment that measure changes in factors assessed in the pre-intervention assessment. 78. Diversion programmes have a system for monitoring the quality of programme delivery. 79. Diversion programmes have a system for monitoring the childs progress, including his/her compliance 9

with the conditions of his/her diversion order, and a record of reasons for non compliance, if applicable. 83. Diversion programmes are subject to regular outcomes Evaluation. 84. Diversion programme staff track participating children within one year of programme completion to establish the overall well-being of the child with an emphasis on further offending behaviour. g) be promoted and developed with a view to equal application and access throughout the country, bearing in mind the special needs and circumstances of children in rural areas and vulnerable groups. h) involve parents, appropriate adults or guardians, if applicable. 75. The development of diversion programmes is based on research evidence of what works in reducing criminal behaviour in children and adolescents 76. Diversion programmes have clearly articulated programme objectives and outcomes. 77. Diversion programme design and activities can be shown to address the factors directly associated with offending, and are therefore likely to reduce the problem of reoffending. 81. A senior staff member regularly supervises diversion programme staff members. As can be seen from this table, there are many additional standards that are introduced by the Child Justice Act. In addition, there are several aspects of the Minimum Norms and Standards that are not captured by the Act. Whereas the Child Justice Act requires that all programmes include a restorative justice element which aims at healing relationships, including the relationship of the victim, the Minimum Norms and Standards has a specific set of standards relating to Restorative Justice Processes (Standards 95 89). These standards speak to the preparation of all parties for the process, voluntary participation, increasing the childs investment in the agreements made, enhancing the perceived fairness of the process, and receiving a copy of any agreement reached during the process.


The Standards for Sex Offender Programmes (Standards 90 95) provide for preintervention assessment that takes into account specific factors (such as relationship between victim and offender and degree of violence used); that the programme include sex education; that it addresses the childs ability to regulate their behaviour; addresses the development of victim empathy; involvement of the parent or care-giver; and specifies the amount of hours required for the programme. This extensive set of norms and standards provides a valuable tool for the assessment and accreditation of service providers and of programmes.

Provision and accreditation of diversion programmes and diversion service providers The Act provides that a child may only be referred for diversion to a diversion programme or diversion service provider that has been accredited in terms of section 56 of the Act. A valid certification of accreditation must be provided to the service provider, which is valid for a period of four years from the date of accreditation. The Act does not define a diversion programme, but it would appear to apply to diversion options in terms of s 9(3)(a)(ii) and (iii) in the case of children younger than 10 years old; s 53(3)(j) and (k) in terms of a child charged with a Schedule One offence; and in respect of a child charged with a Schedule Two or Three offences, to diversion in terms of s 53(3)(j) and (k) and s 53(4)(b) and (c). These sections provide for referral to counselling or therapy or to attendance at a specified place for specified vocational, educational or therapeutic purpose. Although diversion programmes have been offered to diverted children for over 15 years, there has never been a standardised system of accreditation, approval or assessment. The Department of Social Development developed a set of Minimum Standards for Diversion and these were approved prior to the finalisation of the Act, but it is not clear to what extent they have been applied. 2 The Act now creates an obligation to put systems in place. The Cabinet Minister responsible for social development, in consultation with the ministers of justice, education, correctional services, safety and security and health must create a policy framework to develop the capacity, within government and the nongovernmental sector to establish, maintain and develop programmes for diversion. The Minister must also establish and maintain a system for accreditation of programmes for diversion and for diversion service providers. And, the Minister must ensure the availability of resources to implement diversion programmes. The Act provides that the system for accreditation must contain: a) Criteria for the evaluation of diversion programmes to ensure they comply with the minimum standards set out in section 55 of the Act; b) Criteria for the evaluation of the content of diversion programmes to ensure that they reflect a meaningful and adequate response to the harm

Department of Social Development. (undated). Minimum Norms and Standards for Diversion. Department of Social Development.


caused by offences committed by children, and to achieve the objectives of diversion; c) Mechanisms to monitor diversion programmes and diversion service providers in respect of their ability to render quality service, and their ability to promote compliance with diversion orders; d) Measures for the removal of diversion programmes and diversion service providers from the system, where appropriate. The policy framework and system for accreditation must be tabled in Parliament before the commencement of the Act in April 2010. Three months after this has been done, a notice in the Government Gazette must invite applications for accreditation of diversion service providers and programmes, and these must be submitted within four months of the notice. All applications must be considered and decided on within four months of submission of the applications. Preference is to be given to the processing of applications in respect of programmes and service providers which were in existence at the time of commencement of the Act. Section 98(2) of the Act provides that where a programme or service provider existed prior to the commencement of the Act it may continue to operate until it has been informed of the accreditation decision. The policy framework must determine time frames for the consideration of applications after the initial process of advertisement and application referred to above. The Minister for Social Development must publish in the Gazette the particulars of each diversion programme and diversion service provider that is approved or removed from the system within 30 days of accreditation or removal. A copy of this publication must be given by the Director-General of Social Development to all the relevant role-players falling under his or her jurisdiction, as well as to the Director-General of Justice and Constitutional Development who must distribute the publication to all relevant role-players involved in the administration of the Act. The Act does not specify that the accreditation system must comply with the provisions of the National Qualification Framework for accreditation of education and training service providers and learning programmes. Quality assurance process Section 56(2)(g) of the Act requires that a quality assurance process must be put in place in respect of each accredited programme and diversion service provider. Draft regulation 32 of the Child Justice Act (the version made available for comment in August 2009) provides for a quality assurance process in terms of diversion programmes and service providers. A quality assurance panel must be appointed by the Minister for Social Development, which must consist of between 3 and 7 members, one of whom must be an independent person, and another may be an official employed by the State. The members must have knowledge and experience relating to diversion programmes and childrens issues. The panel must determine its own procedures having regard to sound administrative practices and just administrative action.


In conducting the quality assurance process, the panel must give reasonable notice to the service provider, and hold a preliminary meeting with the management and relevant staff to discuss the objective of the quality assurance, the methods, mechanisms and criteria which will be used. The panel must invite the diversion service provider to submit any written evidence on self-review and recommendations; receive oral evidence where necessary and consider and assess the evidence received; and conduct field work which must include site visits and interviews with the children who are on or who have attended diversion programmes. The panel must prepare a preliminary report which must contain the proposed findings and recommendations and give the service provider an opportunity to respond to the report. After considering the response, the panel must compile a final report. Both the preliminary and final reports must provide sufficient information to enable the diversion service provider and the Minister to understand its conclusions and findings. It must indicate what sources were consulted, what information was considered and explain how the panel arrived at its conclusions. The report must also consider and reflect on conflicting information and the possible reasons for this. The final report must be submitted to the Minister to be dealt with in terms of the Policy Framework and system referred to in section 56(2)(c) of the Act. A copy of the report must also be given to the service provider. A quality assurance process must be conducted in respect of each service provider at least once a year, or on receipt of a complaint.

Current systems of accreditation

National Qualification Framework National Qualification systems have emerged in different countries over the past thirty years to manage relations between education, training and work. Some of these focus only on vocational and skills training. In South Africa this development was also prompted by a need to address the inequalities that were brought about through Apartheid and its impact on the educational system resulting in learners lack of access and success, weak management practices, and poor teaching practices.3 The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) was established by the South African Qualifications Authority Act 58 of 1995, and it was seen as a key instrument of transformation. Unlike many other systems, the NQF incorporates learning at all levels and in both institutional and workplace contexts, and it does not exclude any area or level of learning. The objectives of the NQF are to: 1. create an integrated national framework for learning achievements;

Shirley Walters, Chair of SAQA, and Mr Samuel Isaacs, CEO of SAQA for the Conference The European Qualifications Framework linking to a globalized world, Brussels, 29-30 2009.


2. facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within education, training and career paths; 3. enhance the quality of education and training; 4. accelerate the redress of past unfair discrimination in education, training and employment opportunities; and thereby 5. contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the nation at large. The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) was established to oversee the development of the NQF, and to formulate and publish policies and criteria for the registration of bodies responsible for establishing education and training standards or qualifications, and the accreditation of bodies responsible for monitoring and auditing achievements in terms of such standards or qualifications (s 5(1) of SAQA Act). SAQA is also responsible to oversee the implementation of the NQF through: a. the registration or accreditation of bodies and the assignment of functions to them; b. the registration of national standards and qualifications; c. taking steps to ensure compliance with provisions for accreditation; and d. taking steps to ensure that standards and registered qualifications are internationally comparable; SAQA must work in consultation and cooperation with the departments of state, statutory bodies, companies, bodies and institutions responsible for education, training and certification of standards which will be affected by the NQF. SAQA consists of a body of 22 members appointed by the Minister of Education after consultation with the Minister of Labour. The members are nominated by identified national stakeholders in education and training. The NQF was seen as a ladder of learning providing multiple pathways to enable learners to move from one field of education to another, and to progress up the ladder. Those who had been excluded from access to education would be allowed to progress up the ladder through the recognition of prior learning and experience (RPL). SAQA would set standards and would peg qualifications along certain points on the ladder. SAQA has the responsibility for the overarching coordination and evaluation of quality assurance that is undertaken by the Education and Training Quality Assurance bodies (ETQA). The quality assurance applies to programmes that lead to qualifications as well as the providers of these programmes.4 All education and training qualifications are intended to be included in the NQF. Historical qualifications (those prior to the implementation of the SAQA Act) were

Shirley Walters, p 10.


submitted to the NQF for them to be aligned with the requirements. New Qualifications were developed using the SAQA standards setting processes, using an Outcomes Based Education (OBE) approach. The OBE approach was to ensure a more holistic and constructivist view of learning that would not reduce the competent to only what is observable, but would include an evaluation of the consciousness and the conscience of the learner.5 SAQA currently has three strategic areas of operation: standards setting, quality assurance, and electronic management of learners achievements through a National Learners Records database. Joint Implementation Plans have been entered into allowing Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA), professional bodies, government departments and other bodies to establish Standards Generating Bodies (SGBs) to generate standards and qualifications that meet their particular needs. There are currently 34 SETA bodies. The Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) bodies are established in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority Act, and the Regulations under the SAQA Act (1998).6 ETQAs are responsible for monitoring and auditing the achievements in terms of national standards or qualifications. Its specific functions are to: Accredit providers of education and training standards and qualifications registered on the NQF; promote quality among providers; monitor the provision of training; evaluate assessment and facilitate moderation across providers; and register assessors for specified registered standards or qualifications in terms of established criteria. Certify constituent learners; Recommend new standards or qualifications modifications to existing standards; Maintain a data base; and Perform any other functions assigned by the authority (Reg 9(1)). for consideration, or

Each ETQA must be accredited by SAQA, and may not duplicate the functions of any other existing ETQA. The ETQAs are currently located within the SETAs until the implementation of the new Act.7
5 6

Shirley Walters, p 11. Regulations under the South African Qualifications Authority Act 1995. Government Notice R 1127 of 8 September 1998.


The function of the ETQA must be separate from the provision of education and training. It must also have national stakeholder representation at decisionmaking level to ensure accountability and transparency (Reg 3(2)). The NQF allows for different types of qualifications. A qualification is a programme of learning that leads to a minimum of 120 credits for a certificate, or 360 credits for a degree. They can be based on unit standards which are units of learning with specific outcomes, or may be whole qualifications which are non-unit standard based. A part qualification is a programme of learning leading to any number of credits less than 120, but not less than one unit standard. A Unit standard is smaller than a full qualification and requires a certain amount of time for learning, ranging from 20 hours to 160 hours. Qualifications and unit standards are registered on the NQF. A person may also complete a short course which is a short learning programme that does not result in any credits being awarded and is not aligned to any unit standard. A workplace skills programme is a type of short-course learning programme. Changes to the NQF system In 2001 the NQF set up a policy review process in response to a number of concerns with the qualifications framework and in 2007, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Education issued a Joint Policy Statement. 8 Concerns related to the proliferation of NQF bodies and structures for standards generation and quality assurance leading to confusion and duplication of effort and responsibility; the complexity and confusing nature of the architecture, policies, regulations and procedures; denudation of governments authority over NQF policy; lack of synergy between some governmental priorities and the direction of NQF implementation; and failure to give experts due recognition in the design and quality assurance processes.9 New legislation has been drafted and the NQF system is being re-structured. While the objectives of the NQF remain the same, there are changes in the organisational structures to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. The previous SAQA Act is repealed, but SAQA remains in place and is now incorporated in the National Qualifications Authority Act of 2008. This Act is likely to be brought into effect during 2010. The new system aims to move away from standardisation to differentiation and away from an up-front, design down and prescriptive approach to standards setting, to a practice-based, design-up and descriptive approach. 10 The system is also to move from an 8 level framework to a 10 level one to allow for greater differentiation in higher education.

South African Qualification Authority Website: available at, accessed on 09 November 2009. 8 Department of Education and Department of Labour. (2007). Enhancing the efficacy and efficiency of the National Qualifications Framework: Joint Policy Statement by the Minsters of Education and Labour. 9 Department of Education and Department of Labour, p 5. 10 Shirley Walters, p 14.


The current system is more geared towards the development and registration of whole qualifications, although unit standards are components of that system. Either individually, or in clusters they may comprise learning programmes. But there are often different learning pathways: some for purposes of occupational competence; some for institutional learning. It was felt that the NQF should make greater allowance for the different forms of learning, different approaches to delivery and different forms of assessment. In order to take into account the diverse forms of learning in an integrated system for education, training and skills development, a body was created, in addition to the ETQAs to oversee the different approaches to delivery and assessment. The standard setting and quality assurance functions currently conducted by SAQA will shift to three Quality Councils: The Quality Council on Higher Education (NQF levels 5 to 10). This is provided for in the Higher Education Act (No. 101 of 1997); The Quality Council for General and Further Education (Umalusi) (NQF levels 1 4. This is the schooling system and technical colleges). This is provided for in the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act (58 of 2001); and The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (Occupational qualifications: NQF level 1 to 10) this is regulated by the Skills Development Act (No. 97 of 1998).

The major changes in the system will be in respect of occupational learning, which will require a differentiation between general knowledge and theory; general and occupationally relevant practical skills; and requisite work experience. In order to enhance the recognition of learning achievements and the progress of learners through the system, a national credit accumulation and transfer (CAT) system will accord credit value to registered unit standards and other components of qualifications. This system is intended to be more easily understood by different role players in the education, training and skills development system.11 The new system will allow for part qualifications which consist of a logical cluster of unit standards which can be registered with the NQF. Role of professional bodies The NQF Act provides that professional bodies must cooperate with the relevant Quality Councils in respect of qualifications and quality assurance in its occupational field (s 28). SAQA must develop and implement policy and criteria for recognising a professional body and for registering a professional designation for the purposes of this Act (s 13(i)). A statutory or non-statutory body of expert practitioners in an occupational field must apply to be recognised as a professional body (s 29). Such a professional body must apply to SAQA to register a professional designation on the NQF.


Department of Education and Department of Labour, p 13.


Accreditation of service providers and learning programmes In terms of the NQF framework, a provider intending to offer education, training or skills development programmes must comply with the requirements. It must firstly become accredited as a service provider, and it must have accredited facilitators, moderators and assessors. Secondly, its learning material must also be accredited. These two processes will be described separately. Requirements for an organisation to be accredited as an education and training provider The Regulations to the SAQA Act set out criteria and guidelines for the accreditation of service providers. Regulation 13 provides that a service provider must: a. Be registered as a provider in terms of the applicable legislation at the time of application for accreditation, b. have a quality management system which includes but is not limited toquality management policies which define that which the provider wishes to achieve; ii. quality management procedures which enable the provider to practise its defined quality management policies; or iii. review mechanisms which ensure that the quality management policies and procedures defined are applied and remain effective; c. be able to develop, deliver and evaluate learning programmes which culminate in specified registered standards or qualifications; d. have thenecessary financial, administrative and physical resources; policies and practices for staff selection, appraisal and development; iii. policies and practices for learner entry, guidance and support systems; iv. policies and practices for the management of off-site practical or work-site components; v. policies and practices for the management of assessment; vi. necessary reporting procedures; and vii. the ability to achieve the desired outcomes, using available resources and procedures considered by the Education and Training Quality Assurance Body to be needed to develop, deliver and evaluate learning programmes which culminate in specified registered standards or qualifications contemplated in paragraph (c). Under the current legislation, the service provider will apply for registration to a relevant SETA. Each SETA has its own tools used for this process. The Department of Social Development is accredited with the Health and Welfare Seta (HWSETA). As an example of an accreditation process, the steps needed to obtain accreditation within the HWSETA are outlined below. The ETQA unit of the SETA handles the accreditation process. 18 i. ii. i.

Accreditation by the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) Step one: The service provider expresses interest in being accredited with the SETA. The organisation must provide general information about the organisation together with a description of the physical resources where all the operational activities of the organisation take place. 12 They must provide evidence of the physical resources which will be used to conduct their daily administration and learning delivery services. The organisation must present the details of all its employees, and an outline of its finances and business plan. The organisation must indicate which qualification the organisation wishes to offer. This may be based on a full qualification which is unit standard based, with a minimum credit of 120 credits; or a full qualification which is non-unit standard based; or a part qualification, which is unit standard based. However, the HWSETA is primarily concerned with providers accredited to provide full qualifications. The organisation is also required to attend a Quality Promotion Workshop and capacity building workshop which will explain what is required and provide support to the organisation in the application process.13 Step two: Service provider submits their application. The service provider must submit a detailed application form.14 This includes the details of the provider, legal and financial status, human resources and physical resources. It must also indicate what quality management systems it has in place, organisational policies and procedures. It must also set out the learning delivery policies and procedures; what Recognition of Prior Learning Processes are provided; the learning programme design and development practices; details of the learning programme. There must be a process of Learning Programme Evaluation and Approval. The provider must attach various documents to substantiate its application. Relevant pages of the training material that is intended to be used from both facilitators and learners guides must be attached. If the organisation intends to use learning material that has been designed and developed by another organisation, then a copy of an agreement allowing the use of this material is required. The learning material is given to a subject matter expert to assess. Step Three: a site visit to the provider. The ETQA conducts a site visit to the service provider to check that everything contained in the application is correct, and interviews are conducted with staff.


Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA). (2007). Provider Accreditation Application From: Step One. Available online:, accessed 19 November 2009. 13 Interview with Nathan Seotsanyana, Executive Manager ETQA, HWSETA, 9 November 2009. 14 Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA). (2007). Provider Accreditation Application From: Step Two.


At the conclusion of this process, the service provider may be granted full accreditation if they offer programmes that are aligned to unit standards and qualifications, or be they will be given no approval status. If the provider has met a set of minimum criteria as established by the ETQA, but still has to meet some conditions, they may be granted provisional accreditation. They can continue to offer learning programmes while they meet their requirements within a specified time frame. The SETA may offer the provider support in order to meet the full requirements. The accreditation certification will be valid for a specified number of years, usually five years. The organisation will be approved to provide a certain learning programme or short course. Should they wish to expand their programme, they will need to apply for an extension of their scope. Approving or Recognising the learning programme This usually takes place at the same time as accreditation of the service provider. The SETA must ensure that the learning material is aligned to the NQF framework and relevant unit standards. The method of delivery is also looked at. Agreements between the different SETAs allow for qualifications and unit standards which are registered under one SETA to be used by a service provider accredited in another SETA. The provider must complete a Learning Programme Evaluation File if they wish to obtain approval for a full or part qualification. If providers offer a quality short course that does not lead to the achievement of a unit standard, they must also go through a Learning Programme Evaluation process, but they do not need to demonstrate that their programmes will lead to the achievement of a unit standard or qualification. Their learning programme will be recognised, rather than approved by the SETA. The short course is applicable in the case where no unit standard has been developed, or because the nature of the programme will never be unit standard based.15 Quality assurance The ETQA provides for quality assurance of programmes accredited with it by providing verification of learner achievements, and issuing certificates to learners. Verification is the process in which a training providers training programme and the method in which it is assessed and moderated is quality assured against the NQF standards and qualification rules. The training providers policies and procedures are also evaluated. This provides endorsement of the learner results. Verification takes place once the provider has been accredited, and usually after a period of about 3 years. In the process of verification, a service provider must complete a Pre-Verification Form setting out the details of the provider, details of the learner, and details of the moderators and assessors. The provider must also outline the learning programme assessment and moderation details (copies of the assessment and

HWSETA Learning Programme Evaluation File, Final Version 1 October 2004. Available online:, accessed 19 November 2009.


moderation policies must be attached).16 The ETQA conducts a site visit to the provider and evaluates the policies, guides, plans, method of assessment, method of moderation and filing system.17 HWSETA training providers may not certificate learners without verification and endorsement of the SETA. In terms of full qualifications, the HWSETA prints a certificate after verification. For unit standards, the provider may issue certificates, but must send the information to the SETA for capturing on its data base. Time period and costs The accreditation process is a lengthy one. It may take time for the provider to complete the necessary forms and submit the correct documents. It also takes time for the SETA to process the applications, send the learning material out for assessment, and to conduct a site visit. Primary accreditation may take a period of six months, while applications for extension of scope or renewal of accreditation may be done quarterly. The provider does not pay the SETA for the accreditation, though it may incur its own costs in meeting the application process. ETQA structure and costs The HWSETA has a small staff dedicated to the ETQA. This includes 4 members who deal with accreditation, 4 dealing with verification, 8 administrators and 2 managers and one executive manager. It has an annual budget of R3,6 million for operation costs, while another R10 million is spent on projects. Over 300 training service providers are registered with the SETA, which receives approximately 250 applications for accreditation annually.18 Advantages of being accredited in the NQF system There are number of advantages of offering or participating in learning programmes within the NQF framework. The accredited provider enjoys credibility with the public; The learning programmes offered by the accredited provider culminate in NQF credits; The qualification obtained has national and international recognition; There is assurance that the provider has the necessary capacity and resources to deliver quality education and training; It compels the provider to remain on the cutting edge of quality education provision;


Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority. (undated). Pre-verification report. Available online:, accessed 19 November 2009. 17 HWSETA Verification Process/steps. Available online:, accessed 19 November 2009. 18 Interview with Nathan Seotsanyana, Executive Manager of the ETQA of HWSETA, 9 November 2009.


The provider has access to many forms of support and capacity building offered by the SETA;19 and The interests of the learner are protected.

Possibility of the Child Justice Act Accreditation framework being aligned to the NQF The National Qualifications Framework aims to ensure that all education, training and skills development occurs within this framework so as to provide for standardisation and recognition of learning achievements. Learners who are not studying towards full qualifications can complete part qualifications and unit standards and accumulate these towards a full qualification. The Child Justice Act requires the Department of Social Development to establish an accreditation policy and framework for the accreditation of diversion service providers and services. To some extent, the proposed accreditation framework would fulfil some of the functions of a quality assurance body within the NQF. This section discussed whether it would be feasible for the DSD to align its accreditation system with the NQF framework, to discuss the possible routes to doing so, and to outlines the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach. [this needs to be expanded and possibly come towards the end of the paper] Alignment of learning programmes The CJA requires an accreditation system in order to: Ensure that diversion programmes comply with minimum standards as set out in the Act; Ensure that diversion programmes reflect a meaningful and adequate response to the harm caused by offences committed by children, and achieve the objectives of diversion. Monitor diversion programmes and service providers in their ability to render quality services.

Qualifications and unit standards? Are they necessary to be NQF aligned Is it necessary or advantageous to be aligned to NQF (see Margaret barretto)

Option one: the DSD could apply to SAQA or the Quality Assurance Body for Trade and Occupations (QCTO) to become an accrediting and quality assurance body. The DSD would then establish the system and function like any ETQA. It would set its standards for accreditation, and standards for service providers. It would develop and register qualifications and standards, monitor training of service providers; and be the custodian of assessment and verification of results. It would also issue confirmation of results of certificates to participants.

Accessed from HWSETA website: Accreditation process and procedure. Available on page=category_display.asp&category=348&P_Category=273&catID=97&action=view&N ame=Accreditation%20Process%20and%20Procedure, accessed on 17 November 2009.


In order to take on this responsibility, the DSD would require expertise in human resource development. Advantages of this approach: The DSD would be able to maintain a hands on approach to work with its providers It could structure its accreditation framework and criteria for accreditation to meet the objectives of the Child Justice Act Providers would be compliant with the NQF system and would gain in credibility.

Disadvantages: The DSD would need to set up the systems and procedures to manage the accreditation process. The DSD would be audited by the QCTO to ensure that it was complying with the NQF requirements. This is a costly process

Option two: The DSD could outsource its accreditation process to a relevant SETA and become a partner of a SETA in this role. The Department of Social Development would work together with the SETA to develop relevant qualifications for diversion that would match the objectives of the NQF and the Child Justice Act. The SETA would accredited its providers and programmes and be responsible for quality assurance, verification and issuing of certificates to learners. Advantages: A qualification for diversion is formally developed and recognised within the NQF system. Learners would received formal recognition for their participation. Diversion service providers would receive recognition. The SETA already has a functioning infrastructure, systems and procedures to manage the accreditation process.

Disadvantages: This might duplicate a system of accreditation if particular requirements as set out in the Child Justice Act need to be met.

Developing diversion programmes within the NQF framework In any process that requires alignment with the NQF framework, there would need to be qualifications and unit standards developed and registered on this framework. Whereas previously the NQF was primarily concerned with qualifications, it is moving towards an acknowledgement of registered skills programmes. 23

The Child Justice Act does not specify the minimum qualifications of the service providers or training facilitators, or any professional qualification requirements. Depending on the nature and complexity of the diversion programme offered, so the skills required of the facilitators may vary. They are likely to include psychologists, social workers, child and youth care workers, youth development workers, educationalists, and wilderness therapists. Facilitators may have undergraduate or post graduate degrees in relevant disciplines (See Annexure A list of possible qualifications), or have completed relevant certificated courses as a lower level. Currently, there is no diversion qualification registered on the NQF. It is most likely, that facilitators could be qualified against registered qualifications or unit standards currently available on the NQF. The type of programme envisaged in the Act for children in conflict with the law have not been developed and are not registered on the NQF, with the possible exception of various unit standards on life skills (See Annexure B unit standards). Where these standards are available, they would have to be specifically adapted to meet the objectives of the Child Justice Act. Therefore, if the diversion programmes were to be aligned to the National Qualifications Framework, they would have to be developed, going through the process of establishing a Standards Generating Body, developing unit standards and registering them with the appropriate SETA. Unless diversion programmes are aligned with registered unit standards, they cannot be assessed against these standards, and therefore, the programme cannot be accredited.20 There is a possibility that the programmes are developed into short skills course, but there would still be a development and registration requirement within SAQA.

Accreditation and quality assurance systems within government departments

Department of Social Development The Department of Social Development is currently registered with the HWSETA which provides quality assurance of training programmes and service providers on its behalf. The Sector Education and Training Unit of the DSD focuses on internal training or its own staff, as well as training and development in the social services sector. The Unit coordinates and arranges training based on requirements of individual line managers within the DSD. Currently the DSD uses training programmes and providers that are accredited within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) framework as much as possible. This method is used when a skills programme is aligned to existing unit standards or qualifications. However, there are many learning programmes which are new, or are not aligned to the NQF. For example, the DSD is currently training service providers and its own personnel on the Child Justice Act. No Unit Standard or qualification currently exists around this and a special learning programme has been developed outside of the NQF framework. Non-accredited programmes may also be included where there is a need for training on work

Interview with Ms Margaret Barretto, Deputy Director Quality Assurance and Development, SAQA, 17 November 2009.


place skills. This training will be recognised as a workplace programme, and the participants will be given a certificate on completion. A learning programme may also be delivered by social workers accredited by the South African Council for the Social Service Profession.21 Funding of national organisations Each directorate in the DSD has its own criteria for selecting service providers and national bodies or organisations to fund, but there is no system for accreditation of service providers. Like other government departments, the DSD manages its funding and oversight of national organisations and bodies in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (1999). The Department has developed Procedure Guidelines for the Implementation of the Policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers22 to help manage the funding process and to ensure that awards are made in terms of identified priorities. Only eligible organisations may apply: the organisation must have a constitution that embraces social development issues; it must promote equitable distribution of resources taking into account historical imbalances and promote inclusiveness and representivity in management and organisation; have a financial history of integrity; be able to account for the utilisation of financial awards; be committed to sharing resources and transferring skills to emerging organisations; and ensure it meets the appraisal guidelines. Priority is given to non-profit organisations.23 All funding is done either through a business plan or following tender procedures. The detailed terms of reference of the project are contained in the National Business Plan and services are monitored according to this framework.24 The Business Plan aims to: Provide the Department with all the information required to consider financing; Help the service provider to plan the service in detail; and Assist the application to implement, manage and monitor the service.

The Business Plan must set out the details of the organisation and its legal status. The organisations applying for funding must provide details of the services it provides, and those which require funding, the history of the organisation and its motivation for the project and services, and must describe how the poor and vulnerable will be involved and will benefit from the programme. The organisation must provide details on its governance and accountability structures and a profile of staff. It must outline its sustainability plan to ensure continuity of funding, and its transformation plan. In terms of its funding plan it must provide details of previous funders, provide a Medium

Interview with Mr Rudi van Loggerenberg, Director Sector Education and Training, Department of Social Development, 11 November 2009. 22 Department of Social Development (2005). Procedure Guidelines for the Implementation of the Policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers. 23 Ibid, p 9. 24 Application for Funding in terms of the Policy on Financial Awards (National Business Plan). Department of Social Development.


Expenditure Framework, and provide detailed costing of the programme for which funds are sought. The organisations activity plan must be outlined, including details of the objective, activities, performance indicators, outcome, personnel and resources needed, location and cost. The application must be supported with a supporting documents and proof of registration as a non-profit organisation. Required documents include: The most recent audited financial statements; NPO registration or other relevant registration required; The organisation's constitution; Confirmation of banking details (credit order form); A financial assurance declaration in terms of section 38(1)(j) of the PFMA.

The Department has an appraisals committee on financial awards at both provincial and national levels, which appraises Business plans and makes financial decisions.25 Once the Business Plan is approved, a Memorandum of Agreement must be entered into between the organisation and the Department. The organisation is required to put in place control mechanisms for asset management. The organisation is required to map its monitoring and evaluation plans in terms of its financial perspective, customer perspective, organisational (or internal business perspective) and innovation and learning. An organisation must submit its formal evaluation on an annual basis, even though it may be required also to provide more regular progress reports. A six monthly progress report must be submitted detailing financial matters, and programmatic progress including impact of the project. The Department also conducts regular quality assurance site visits to the service provider. The Department is accompanied on the site visits by a team of staff comprising a social worker, a finance person and the director of the unit or someone who is familiar with the field operations. Sometimes the team may be accompanied by a person from the legal directorate. The site visit consists of process of checking the providers financial management and financial records, as well as ensuring that service delivery is taking place according to the business plan and progress reports. The departments officials may check the training manuals used, sit in on any training being provided, as well as holding interviews with key members of staff.26


Department of Social Development (2005). Procedure Guidelines for the Implementation of the Policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers, pp 15 18. The Guidelines for Appraisals of Business Plans is used in this process. 26 Interview with Ms Gogie Itumaleng, Social Services Provider Management and Support, Department of Social Development, 24 November 2009.


Site visits are required to national organisations at least once a year, though the provincial offices are required to visit provincial offices on a quarterly basis. However, due to staff shortages this does not always take place.27 Following the site visit, the DSD prepares a report on its findings and recommendations. This is submitted to the Director General and other principals in the Department. It must also be seen by the finance and legal departments. 28 The Department is in the process of developing a quality assurance tool that will be used in conducting regular assessments of national bodies. The Department tries to assist organisations to meets its obligations and standards, and usually does not terminate a contract before assisting an organisation to be compliant.29 Department of Health (not yet fully written up) Accreditation of Laboratory Services The National Health Laboratory Service Quality Assurance Rules30 came into operation on 1 July 2003 in terms of the Health Professions Act and its regulations. A set of standardised procedures was needed to attain minimum acceptable performance by the departments and laboratories of the Service. Standardised quality assurance procedures are implemented in order to monitor standards and inform the allocation of resources. The procedures may be provided by internal or external sources. The minimum requirements for these standardised procedures and programmes which satisfy the need for quality assurance are specified in policy documents and standard operating procedures. A Quality Assurance Unit must be established to monitor the quality of pathology services and managing a quality assurance accreditation programme. The Unit must set quality goals for the Service; develop a policy plan and pathology service quality manual and implement its contents and monitor its application; establish, monitor and evaluate appropriate internal quality control and external quality assurance programmes; coordinate in house proficiency testing programmes; coordinate standardisation of methods throughout the service; formulate policy and implement a programme of accreditation with any national or intentional accreditation authority; develop and manage a national laboratory quality audit network; develop and support the implementation of teaching and training programmes on quality assurance and control, etc. (section C 1). The Board must establish Quality Assurance Advisory Panels to advise on quality assurance matters. Advisory Panels must consist of as many professional as the Board deems appropriate. They need not be employees of the Service, but must include at least one pathologist, one medical scientist, one medical technologist, and the head of the Unit or his/her deputy. The functions of the Advisory Panels are to review proposals regarding quality assurance and associated procedures; review and advise the Unit on plans for
27 28

Ibid. Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Available online:, accessed 26 November 2009.


the accreditation of laboratories; review annually the results of the quality assurance programmes and quality assurance programmes and quality audits and advise the Unit on corrective action that should be taken; report to the Chief Executive Officer and Board regarding the performance of the Unit, and make recommendations regarding quality matters. The Rules further provide for Internal Quality Assurance, external quality assessment, and accreditation. Accreditation aims to provide the clients and patients with the confidence that the Services pathology service and its laboratories are managed in a competent, safe, ethical and reliable manner and that results are consistent and accurate. The accrediting body must be independent and impartial so that the standards can be seen as the same for all participants and the accreditation rating has specific meaning (Part VI, A.1). An accreditation plans must be established which includes procedures for: a) document control (standard operating procedures, laboratory quality manuals, safety manuals, laboratory technical records, personnel records); b) writing, reviewing and distribution of standard operating procedures ensuring that time frames are adhered to; c) ensuring that all personnel of the Service are made aware of the accreditation process and of their responsibilities in this process; d) conducting internal quality audits in Service laboratories to identify all non-conformances and to stipulate time frames for the implementation of appropriate corrective actions; e) identifying laboratories that are considered ready for accreditation; f) identifying laboratories that are in need of special help in preparing for accreditation; g) identifying personnel from accredited laboratories that can assist with the process; h) submission of an application for accreditation assessment; and i) should specify a hierarchy of documents relating to quality assurance, quality control and accreditation and their formats (policies, procedures, standard operating procedures, forms and records) (Part VI B).

Department of Correctional Services (awaiting research permission) South African Police Service (awaiting research permission) Department of Education (no yet written up)

Professional Bodies
Many professionals must register with a professional body which governs the activities of that professional. The bodies set standards for their profession in 28

regard to training and competence, ensure ongoing professional development and ensure compliance with those standards. They provide for the registration of members according to defined criteria. Most of these have particular registration or accreditation procedures. The procedures of several of these bodies whose professional work in the sector is relevant to this study will be outlined below. HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa)31 The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is a statutory body, established in terms of the Health Professions Act No. 56 of 1974 with a mandate to protect the public, all consumers of healthcare services, and to provide guidance on educational, professional and ethical issues to practitioners. It is a statutory pre-requisite for any health professionals to register with the council. The HPSCSAs vision is to enhance the quality of health care by developing policy frameworks for effective co-ordination and guidance from its Professional Boards in: setting healthcare standards for training and discipline in the professionals registered with the HPSCA; ensuring ongoing professional competence; and fostering compliance with those standards. The HPCSA has three distinct sections: The Council which plays an over-arching co-ordinating function for the regulation and formulation of policy governing the professions registered with the HPCSA. The 12 professional boards responsible for formulating board specific standards and policies. Psychology is one of the Boards registered with the Council. The administration office responsible for the administration of the professions and execution of policies formulated by Council. Registration with the HPSCA is compulsory for health care professionals, but it also offers its members confirmation of the professional status and the right to practice the profession that he or she is qualified for; the assurance that no unqualified person may practice these professions; and the credibility as a competent practitioner who may command a reward for his/her services. Every person desiring to be registered in terms of the Act must apply to the registrar and must submit their qualifications which entitle them to registration, together with proof of identity and good character. If the registrar is satisfied with the qualification and other documents submitted, he must, on payment of a fee by the applicant issue a registration certificate. The certificate authorises the applicant to practice the profession subject to any provisions of the Act. The registrar may refuse to issue a registration certificate if he is not satisfied with the application. But the applicant may request that the application be submitted

Information on the HPSCA is obtained from the HPSCA website: Information was also obtained from the report: Development Communication Solutions. (2008). Restorative Justice Initiative Accreditation Report.


to the relevant health board for decision (section 17 of the Health Professions Act). A register must be kept of all registered practitioners. Accreditation of CPD service providers The HPCSA places emphasis on Continued Professional Development (CPD) to update professional knowledge and skills and each registered health practitioner is required to accumulate 30 Continuing Education Units (CEU) per twelve month period, five of which must be on ethics, human rights and medical law. Training must be provided by accredited training service providers. Professional Boards may delegate their responsibility in accrediting service providers to Accreditors. The role of the Accreditor is to monitor and review training providers through reviewing the applications for activities by non-accredited service providers; monitoring compliance with guidelines; revising continuing education units and ensuring the provider adheres to these; and to submit accredited CPD activities for the HPSCA for uploading onto the website. The following bodies qualify for Accreditor status, namely: Tertiary institutions involved in health sciences education, Education committees of Professional Boards, and Bona fide professional associations (excluding associations primarily involved with managed care). The HPCSA CPD Committee may do random quality assurance checks of Accreditors. Accreditor status may be reviewed and/or revoked or any critical incident be brought to the HPCSAs attention. An Accreditor must provide the appropriate infrastructure to facilitate proper functioning and administration of records, including access to the internet, computer with a data base, email and fax facilities and some dedicated administrative support. The Accreditor must also establish a designated Accreditation Committee to facilitate good governance and accountability. A generic set of Guidelines for Accreditors has been developed by the HPSCA CPD committee in consultation with Accreditors. The HPSCA accredits service providers rather than programmes or activities. Individual health care professionals must maintain and keep certificates of attendance given to them by accredited service providers and keep a record of activities attended and Continuing Education Units accrued. In order for training service providers to be accredited, they must submit an application on the relevant form. The Guidelines for Service Providers detail all the information and documentation that must accompany the application. The National Accreditors Forum, together with the HPSCA CPD Committee determine the scale of fees for the accreditation process. A Board Identification number is allocated to the service provider, and this must appear on all the accredited service providers documentation. Organisations such as private hospitals, private non-profit groups, commercial enterprises or companies that support healthcare professionals through products of services and individuals may not be accredited service providers. A service provider who is not accredited, may apply to an approved Accreditor for accreditation for that activity. There are three levels of Continuing Education Units (CEU) consisting of:


Level one: small group (presentations, meeting, symposia, ward rounds, case study discussions, journals, clubs, mentoring/supervising), and large groups (conferences, symposia, refresher courses). Level two: includes publications, presentations, and journal clubs. Level three: practitioner portfolios.

Each level has its own cost of accreditation. Accredited service providers pay an annual maximum fee of R2,400. Non-accredited providers pay up to R750 per application in terms of level one, R310 for level 2, and R1,500 for level 3.

South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) The South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) is established in terms of the Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978, as amended. Its objectives are defined in terms of section 3 of the Act, and include the protection and promotion of the interests of the professions and maintaining and enhancing the prestige, status, integrity and dignity of the professions. The Council is the statutory, regulatory and fiduciary governance body in respect of two professional boards: the Professional Board for Social Work (PBSW) and the Professional Board for Child and Youth Care (PBCYC). The Councils vision is to be a professional council striving for social justice through guiding, enabling and empowering the social service professions to promote and enhance developmental social welfare in the interests of their various social service client groups.32 The Council has three main functions: The setting of standards for education, training and development. The maintenance of ethical and professional conduct. The setting of standards for registration of professionals. The Council registers social workers, social auxiliary workers, learners and students. Child and Youth Care workers are not yet registered with the Council as the regulations governing this have not yet been agreed upon. The setting of standards for education, training laboration between the two bodies. The criteria and requirements for the qualification are registered on the SAQA database as part of the qualification framework. The learning materials of the provider are assessed against these criteria, using the framework that has been prepared by the HWSETA for the lower qualifications. Previously the HWSETA only required examples of the learning materials to be submitted by the provider, but the SACSSP has now made a recommendation that the full learning programme must be submitted. A panel is appointed by the Professional Band development The Council, together with the Professional Boards, is responsible for determining the qualifications for registration of social workers, social auxiliary workers and

South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). (2008). Annual Report for the Financial Year 2007-2008. Pretoria: South African Council for Social Service Professions.


persons practicing other professions in respect of which the professional boards have been established, and to control and exercise authority in respect of training of these professions in accordance with a social welfare approach (section 3). The professional boards must determine minimum standards for education and training for the persons practising the professions (s 14B (e)). In order to execute this function, the SACSSP and the PBSW work closely with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). All qualifications within the ambit of the SACSSP must be approved before they are submitted to SAQA for registration on its database. The Council and the PBSW have been involved in the development and approval of the Bachelor for Social Work (BSW) and the Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) for Social Auxiliary Work. Together with the PBCYC, the Council considered the FETC for Child and Youth Care Work and the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care Work, but the latter was not approved by the Council.33 In terms of quality assurance for education and training, the Council works in close collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, such as the Council on Higher Education (CHE), SAQA, the Department of Education, the Department of Labour and the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA). The Council is not registered as an Education and Training Quality Assurance Body (ETQA) with SAQA, and does not accredit education and training providers itself, but has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Health and Welfare SETA (HWSETA), to perform these functions jointly. The Council is in the process of signing an MOU with the CHE in order to work more closely with them regarding the quality assurance of qualifications within the social services sector, within the higher education framework. This enables them to share financial and human resources.34 The MOU with the HWSETA enables the Council to evaluate learning programmes on auxiliary levels relating to Social Auxiliary Work and Child and Youth Care, while the SETA takes care of provider accreditation. The Council and the HWSETA jointly undertake site visits to monitor the quality of training. There are currently 16 providers accredited on the auxiliary level. The Council also continuously assesses the programmes. The Council sets strict parameters in terms of requirements for the trainers; for example that social auxiliary workers may only be trained by social workers. Criteria for provider accreditation are developed in close coloard, in collaboration with the Council to do the assessment of the learning programmes. The HWSETA contracts with the panel members and remunerates them for services rendered. The panel comprises of people appointed by the Board and approved by the Council. Panel members could be subject matter experts, or a members of the Board, as well as another person who is usually from the profession. The panel members come in as required and review and assess the learning programmes. A full process is followed. The panel

South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). (2008). Annual Report for the Financial Year 2007-2008. Pretoria: South African Council for Social Service Professions, p. 17. 34 Interview with Ms Santie Pruis, Manager, Education and Development, SACSSP, 1 December 2009.


writes a report and sends it through to the SETA who will inform the provider of accreditation.35 The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) qualification is registered with SAQA. The SACSSP doesnt receive the full learning programme for approval, but does quality assurance at the universities against its determined minimum standards. This focuses on the content ofthe learning programme, and not on the institutional structure and policies of the universities, which could to a certain extent be regarded as falling within the ambit of the CHE. In 2009, the Council facilitated a thorough self evaluation of the universities offering the BSW qualification, where the Council provided the criteria based on the content of qualification and they were required to do the assessment. The Council established a separate panel which assessed each of the reports by the universities and provided feedback. This was seen as preparation for the quality assurance site visits which will take place in 2010. The panel members are paid an honorarium for their participation. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is currently only a voluntary requirement for the professions registered with the Council. From April 2010, this will be introduced as a compulsory requirement, and members will be required to submit portfolios and evidence of having attending ongoing professional development. The Council is in the process of recognising probation work as a specialised area of social work. Assistant probation officers (APO) are required to perform a support service to probation officers, who are social workers, but there is no requirement that they are registered or abide by a code of ethics. It is now a requirement that APOs must also register as --social auxiliary workers and thus also be bound by the Code of Ethics of the profession. The specialisation will need additional knowledge and skills.36 Suggestions for the way in which the DSD could accredit and quality assure programmes [move to another place] Based on her experience at the Council, Ms Santie Pruis, Manager of Education and Development was asked for her thoughts on how the DSD accreditation and quality assurance process could work.37 In her opinion there should be a close alignment between the NQF system and the courses offered to professionals who are rendering diversion programmes. Recognising that most diversion courses are probably not currently aligned to SAQA, she suggested that the new system in terms of the NQF Act, 2009, may accommodate them better due to the introducing of a Quality Council for Trade and Occupations (QCTO), where shorter skills programmes linked to the new NQF framework may be possible. The exact way in which this will work still has to be determined. As in the previous system, a provider may offer short courses, or skills programmes. Short courses are not necessarily credit bearing courses in terms
35 36 37

Santie Pruis. Santie Pruis. Interview, 1 December 2009.


of SAQA, and they are of a shorter duration, e.g. lasting between two and five days. They have been developed for a specific purpose and are not necessarily aligned to a qualification. These should be offered to professionals who can then acquire their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. On the other hand, these courses could be structured as longer skills programmes where an individual could accumulate credits leading towards a qualification. Skills programmes could also be submitted for CPD. Social workers, social auxiliary workers and assistant probation officers could attend these programmes in order to develop their own skills and capacities. Structure and Costs of the Council The Act requires a Council to consist of between 19 and 34 members. Six of the members must be social workers; there must be three representatives of each of the professions other than the social work profession in respect of which a professional board has been established; and 13 people must be appointed by the Minister. Of the 13 latter appointees, there must be representatives from the training institutions, the Department of Social Development, national forums and networks, and the community (section 5). A Registrar or Chief Executive Officer must be appointed. In addition to administration and support services, the Council has four divisions: Professional Conduct; Education and Development; Communications and Public relations, and Finance. Income is derived mainly from registration and annual membership fees. In 2007/2008 the Council earned an income of over R5million, and expended R4,7 million. Though there is no separate budget specifically mentioned for standard setting for education and development, as it forms part of the quality assurance budget line item.38



South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). (2008). Annual Report for the Financial Year 2007-2008. Pretoria: South African Council for Social Service Professions, pp 40- 41.