Professional Approval

For Degree and Postgraduate Programmes

The Professional Approval process is the route offered for degree and postgraduate programmes. The process combines a significant written submission with a two day visit from an Approval panel.

The Standards document sets out the principles and values underpinning the process and provides a clear reference to the evidence sought by a Professional Approval Panel. The process document guides providers through the construction of the written submission and explaining what happens before, during and after the visit.

The Professional Approval Standards

The process

The Professional Approval process takes as long as is necessary for the provider, in discussion with the Development Officer, to put together the relevant documents, arrange a visit and implement any conditions arising from the visit.

The Submission

  • Demonstrates and illustrates how the training programme/course prepares trainees to undertake community learning and development work which recognises the needs of the community; the needs of the employers; the role of other agencies and professionals, part-time staff and volunteers.
  • Demonstrates that the training programme/course is consistent with the values and principles of CLD and CLD national priorities as outlined by the CLD Standards Council.
  • Demonstrates how the training programme/course is mapped to the Competences for CLD.
  • Details the curriculum and outlines how the training programme/course recognises the SCQF levels and tariffs.
  • Demonstrates methods for the accreditation of  prior learning and experiential learning.
  • Demonstrates the relationship between theory and practice within both institution and practice based elements.
  • Outlines how the training programme/course addresses the needs of inter-professional collaboration and equal opportunities.

The Panel Visit

The approval visit involves a group of peers, normally convened by a member of the Approvals sub-committee, meeting over one or two days at the university/ college/ organisation seeking approval. At this meeting the group will look at the programme documentation and formulate questions which will be discussed with members of the programme team.

It is normal for the approvals group to meet with staff delivering the course, students and fieldwork practitioners supervising placements.

At the conclusion of the approval visit, the panel gives a decision on whether the training programme has been approved. This often includes conditions, which must be met before the programme starts, and recommendations which are points of development for the programme team.

The process is based on dialogical and developmental debate and attempts to avoid the feeling of an inspection. More information on the visit can be found in the Guidelines.


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, arrange the visit and implement any conditions and/or recommendations arising from the visit.

Although the process will vary for each learning provider, the following timeline gives a rough indication of the time required for the various stages.

  • 10 weeks prior to intended approval visit date: initial draft submission document to Development Officer
  • 4 weeks prior to intended approval visit date: confirm date with Development Officer, panel and provider
  • 2 weeks prior to intended approval visit date: final submission document to Development Officer

The Development Officer

The Development Officer’s role is to support and guide learning providers through the process and to deliver Approval reports to the Approval Committee. They co-ordinate the process and liaise between the learning provider and the 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 documents you are required to submit, and support you in the Approval process.

Please contact us if you would like any further details.

** 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.