Accrediting Courses

We offer a course accreditation service to organisations who have courses or qualifications which they want the Institute to approve or otherwise recognise.

Page contents:

Our policy
Who applies?
Why do they apply?
Do you offer this service overseas?
How do I go about applying?
Are your accreditation services easy to get?
Will accreditation cost a lot?
What does "accredit" mean?
How to proceed

 

1. Our Policy

One of the essential elements of developing the paralegal profession is ensuring that there is a framework in place for identifying, and giving due recognition to good courses and qualifications that are of interest to paralegals and their employers. In support of this goal we are keen to work with employers, course providers and award givers, both in the United Kingdom and internationally.

The service we provide includes:

2. Who applies?

A wide variety of organisations such as commercial training providers, employers, universities/colleges, professional associations and local law societies.

3. Why do they apply?

Mostly because they think (correctly) that their course/qualification will sell better/be more valued by students if it has some form of external, professional national recognition.

4. Do you offer this service overseas?

Yes - but for English language delivery only.

5. How do I go about applying?

Email us at office@theiop.org

It will speed things up if you complete and return the enquiry form which you can download in Microsoft Word 97-2003: download form but you don't have to.

Basically we are happy to approve courses that we think are of good quality and will help paralegals. The questions we ask are (a) will it help paralegals? and (b) will we be happy to have our name associated with it?

We will want to know basic information like what level it will be pitched at (introductory, certificate, undergraduate, etc.); duration, content, how assessed (if it is), who will be teaching it, how it will be delivered and assessed etc.

6. Are your accreditation services easy to get?

Well, we have tried to make it as easy to apply as possible, and as inexpensive as possible, but that doesn't mean approval is automatic.

Far from it. We do turn down applicants. Sometimes we think their courses are quite poor, other times they are disorganized and unhelpful applicants which makes us wary of working with them. Other times we would just rather not have our name associated with them.

A course accredited by us would be expected to:

There are a variety of criteria that an accredited course will have to satisfy. Obviously a three-hour CPD course will have to meet fewer criteria than a two-year Diploma course.

The type of criteria we will look at include such things as:

7. Will accreditation cost a lot?

No. We look to cover our costs, not make a profit from you.

8. What does "accredit" mean?

It is a general, catch-all term. We actually have five levels of accreditation service:

Level 1: CPD Recognition

This service simply accredits your courses for CPD purposes for one year. It is offered on a course-by-course basis.

It costs £45 per course per year IF the course in question is already approved for CPD purposes by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, CIlex or the Bar Standards Board.

In this case approval is automatic upon application with proof of prior approval.

If the course is not approved then the cost will depend upon how much work we would have to do to review it ourselves. Normally this would cost about £200.

What you get for your money:

  • A listing on the Institute's web-site of approved CPD providers

  • Mention in The Paralegal Practitioner e-newsletter

  • The opportunity, should you need it, to discuss paralegal training and your courses specifically

  • The right to say that the relevant course(s) are approved for CPD purposes by the Institute

  • The opportunity to have The Paralegal Practitioner monthly e-newsletter provided to your students, customers and staff free of charge

  • The opportunity to offer Institute membership to your students, clients and staff at a discount (subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria). This can involve your receiving a referral fee for new members

  • Free sets of relevant National Competency Standards for your students, clients and staff (upon request)

Level 2: Non-CPD Recognition

Recognition under Level 1 above relates solely to courses being run for CPD purposes.

If you have non-CPD courses that you want recognised by the Institute then we can help by accrediting them too. We offer along with the actual accreditation:

Recognition acts as a quality kite-mark, telling your customers that an independent body has audited your course and approved it.

The cost is dependent upon how much work we have to do to approve the course, but rarely costs more than £200 for a year's approval.

What you get for your money:

  • A listing on the Institute's web-site of accredited providers

  • Mention in The Paralegal Practitioner e-newsletter

  • The opportunity should you need it to discuss paralegal training and your courses specifically

  • The right to say that the relevant course(s) are recognised by the Institute

  • The right to use the Institute's logo on your web-site/marketing material (after approval by us)

  • The opportunity to have The Paralegal Practitioner monthly e-newsletter provided to your students and staff free of charge

  • The opportunity to offer Institute membership to your students and staff at a discount. This can involve your receiving a referral fee for new members

  • Free sets of relevant National Competency Standards for your students and staff (upon request)

Level 3: Accreditation

Recognition under Level 2 above simply allows you to confirm that the Institute has audited your course and found it of suitable relevance/standard for paralegals. In essence, it is a quality kite mark.

However accreditation is the next level up. You would use this service if wanting to award a qualification (or joint qualification) for the successful completion of your course.

The feasibility and cost of accrediting depends entirely upon how much work the Institute has to do, how many students are involved, the assessment process and the level of qualification.

Please contact us to discuss.

Level 4: Approved Course Status

Under our national career path for paralegals - the Route to Qualification the successful completion of certain approved courses allows candidates to fast-track to Fellowship status.

If having looked at the list of currently Approved Courses you think your course might be suitable then please contact us to discuss.

Level 5: Accredited by a National Awarding Body

There will be occasions where the award for successfully completing your course might be better coming from a UK government approved National Awarding Body.

Through our connections, we can advise on the likelihood of a National Awarding Body being interested and can arrange an introduction.

9. How to Proceed

Please either complete the following enquiry form and return it to us, or just e-mail or phone us to discuss your requirements.

All contracts are in confidence.

Please click here to open/download a Word 97-2003 version of the Accreditation Enquiry Form.


 

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