Developmental Approval Process

For programmes below degree level with SQA validation

The Developmental Approval process is the route offered for programmes that have already been validated by the SQA or where the provider of a programme has been granted status as an Approved Centre by the SQA devolved authority scheme.

  • An example of a suitable programme is the HNC in Working with Communities.
  • An example of a member of the devolved authority scheme is a College.

The process combines a written submission which complements the SQA report with a virtual panel discussion – no visit is involved as standard.

The Guidelines

Download the process and guidelines: Developmental Guidelines

The Guidelines set out the principles and values underpinning the process as well as guiding providers through the construction of the written submission.

** See NOTE below

The Submission

The Developmental process allows providers to use the evidence that they have prepared and presented to the SQA to support their application to the CLD Standards Council, avoiding duplication of time and effort.  The submission focuses specifically on the CLD aspects of the programme.

The first step in the process is to share the SQA with the CLD Standards Council Development Officer who will match it against the Developmental process criteria. If it matches, the provider will ask for written evidence of the CLD aspects of the programme.

The virtual panel

The written evidence will be considered by a panel of peers from the CLD field. There may on occasion need to be a face to face meeting with the panel and provider but, as standard, the process will be virtual – panels discuss the submission by tele- or videoconference.


The Approval process takes as long as is necessary for the learning provider, in discussion with the Development Officer, to put together the relevant documentation, and to implement any conditions and/or recommendations arising from the granting of approval.

The Development Officer

The Development Officer’s role is to support and guide learning providers through the process. They co-ordinate the process and liaise between the learning provider, the virtual panel and the Approval Committee.

The Development Officer will be on hand to answer any questions you have; provide further information and guidance on the process; advise on the written submission and support you in the Approval process.

** Please note any documentation published by the CLD Standards Council before March 2024 references Approvals, Registration and Membership Officers. These position titles have been updated and are now titled Development Officers. Any queries should be sent to the team using the contact mailbox address – – and the appropriate team member will be in touch.