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Access Recognition and Licensing Committee
Terms of reference


The Access Recognition and Licensing Committee (ARLC) will:
  • oversee QAA's framework for the recognition of Access to Higher Education courses, and associated arrangements (the QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to HE), and will make recommendations on its development to the QAA Board, or other authority, as appropriate
  • oversee the Access Validating Agency (AVA) initial licensing process, receive reports on licence application visits, and make recommendations to the QAA Board concerning the award of new AVA licences
  • oversee AVA monitoring to inform licensing decisions, and to make recommendations to the QAA Board concerning the withdrawal of AVA licences where it is judged an AVA is not meeting or not able to meet the requirements of the licensing criteria
  • oversee developments of the Access to HE qualification, with reference to the qualification's principal purpose of providing a preparation for study in higher education.


    The Committee's membership is representative of the different types of organisations that deliver Access to HE courses and institutions that receive Access to HE students. Members will jointly hold the required knowledge and expertise, including knowledge of the operation of AVAs, to enable the Committee to carry out its remit effectively. Current AVA officers and permanent employees of AVAs are not eligible to serve on the ARLC.
The ARLC comprises 10 members (with a possible further two by co-option), Membership shall include:
  • two Board members (at least one of whom should be the head of a higher education institution)
  • three members from the higher education sector with appropriate experience and an understanding of Access to HE, at least one of whom should be the head of an institution receiving Access to HE students
  • three members from the further education sector with appropriate experience and an understanding of Access to HE, at least one of whom should be the head of an organisation providing Access to HE courses
  • two other members with appropriate experience for the work of the ARLC, who may come from further or higher education or who may have other experience which is relevant to the work of the ARLC.
    Appointments to the Committee shall be for a period of three years, extendable by no more than one additional three-year period. A member who retires, or leaves the sector from which they were appointed, may remain on the Committee for up to two years from the date of retirement (providing this does not exceed the standard term). Other attendees may be invited to meetings in order to support the Committee in its decision-making and discharging of its business.

The Chair

    One of the two Board members is appointed by the Board to act as the Committee’s Chair.

Frequency of meetings

    The Committee shall normally meet three times a year at appropriate intervals in the AVA monitoring cycle. and otherwise as required.


        The quorum necessary for the transaction of the business of the Committee shall be five members. This must include one member who is a member of the QAA Board.


        All QAA Committees are expected to familiarise themselves with and adhere to the standard provisions applicable to all QAA Committees, contained within the document entitled Annex to QAA Committee Terms of Reference.


      Effective Date: 12 October 2016
      Review Date: One year from Effective Date
      Contact: Stephen Tipping, Access Manager