Issue 12 | May 2017



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Welcome to the May 2017 Newsletter of the NMC quality assurance framework

QA activity

Implementation of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Quality assurance (QA) framework activity during this fourth year of the contract continues to be very busy. We have completed 17 AEI monitoring events this year. The monitoring cycle concluded in May and an evaluation day was held with managing reviewers to review the process, outcomes and lessons learnt. This evaluation will contribute to a full analysis of the findings and outcomes of the monitoring process and AEI self-assessments which will inform the annual monitoring report to the NMC. There have been 97 programme approvals, 46 major modifications and 171 minor modifications since 1 September 2016 as well as one approval for a new approved education institution (AEI) and three programme endorsements. These programme approvals include an event for an EU nurse adaptation programme (four fields of practice) and an approval event for the EU aptitude test nursing (adult, mental health and children’s nursing) and EU aptitude test midwifery.

Reviewer Training

In February, we held one final face to face training sessions for reviewers who have not undertaken an AEI monitoring review. A third refresher conference call was held in March for reviewers undertaking AEI monitoring reviews who had previous experience of monitoring reviews.

New support materials for the on-line portal

Since the last newsletter, we have added a series of short videos to our website to provide additional ‘bitesize’ guidance on a number of key areas of the online portal, such as submitting event requests and uploading to the document repository. We hope these are proving useful and would be pleased to hear your feedback and suggestions. You can access the videos directly via the links below:

If you have any trouble navigating the portal, please do contact the Mott MacDonald operations team who will be happy to assist:

Compatibility issues with the online portal

Some reviewers have reported difficulties with the portal when they are using mobile devices and some software. Please remember when accessing the portal to use Google Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. The system was not created with Apple products/browsers in mind, so you may experience some functionality problems if you log-in from your Mac or iPad. We would also suggest disabling any pop-up blockers applied to the portal via your browser, in order to support the correct operation of the site.

Nursing degree apprenticeships

A number of major modification approval events are scheduled in June to review proposals from AEIs for the new nursing degree apprenticeship route. AEIs considering this route for the future should contact the quality assurance team at the NMC in the first instance at

Exceptional reporting

AEIs manage the delivery of NMC approved programmes in accordance with the NMC standards for education and the NMC QA framework.

AEIs are required to submit an annual self-assessment report which includes a summary of any exceptional reports sent to NMC in the course of the year.

Any risks/potential risks to NMC programmes that emerge between annual self-assessment reports must be reported promptly by the AEI directly to the NMC in accordance with the NMC QA framework. As the regulator, the NMC has a role in assessing the degree of risk and seeking assurance from the AEI that risks/ potential risks are being managed effectively. It is essential that the following information is sent to

  • A description of the risk
  • Any immediate actions/steps that have been taken
  • An outline of individual and shared responsibility of the risk and planned actions
  • Additional support mechanisms planned or in place

The NMC will acknowledge and respond to exceptional reports within two working days. They will then report back to the AEI within six weeks if the risk is closed.

In the event that new risks are raised by third parties, the NMC will inform the AEI concerned within five working days so that the risk can be locally managed where possible.

The full process is detailed in the NMC QA framework document, part four:

Changes to the Nursing and Midwives Order (2001)/Midwives rules and standards (2012)

As from April 2017 local supervising authorities (LSAs) and the supervision of midwives is no longer an NMC statutory requirement due to legislative changes to the Nursing and Midwives Order (2001). We have therefore removed all reference to LSAs and supervision of midwives from our materials.

NMC correspondence about programme extensions

The following correspondence has been issued by the NMC since our last newsletter and provides key information on programme extensions and an update on the new educational standards.

24 February 2017: Extension to support for learning and assessment in practice (SLAiP) programmes. The deadline for requests was 8 March 2017.

5 May 2017: Update on our education standards and programme extension. Information provided in this correspondence includes the opportunity for extensions to pre-registration midwifery, return to practice (nursing and midwifery). Requests for extensions should be made directly to the NMC quality assurance team at the following address:

Frequently asked questions - about external examiners

We are introducing a new feature to the newsletter in this edition about queries we receive about various aspects of the standards and requirements. In this issue, the focus is external examiners.

Q. Are external examiners expected to consider academic level four/ SQF level seven?
A. Yes, the external examiner for a NMC programme is required to consider all aspects and all levels of the programme irrespective of the academic level.

Q. Is there a requirement for external examiners to visit practice?
A. No, but they are required to consider both the theory and practice elements of the programme including meeting with mentors and students.

Q. Does a non-credit bearing NMC approved programme (such as mentorship) still need an external examiner?
A. Yes, there must be an appointed external examiner who provides externality to the quality assurance process and assurance that NMC standards and requirements are met.

Q. We check the NMC registration and due regard for external examiners when they are first appointed. Is there anything else we should be doing as an AEI?
A. Yes. The AEI has a responsibility to ensure there is a process in place for monitoring the registration and revalidation date of external examiners to NMC approved programmes as they do for academic staff who are NMC registrants.

Q. Are external examiners expected to have oversight of recognition of prior learning (RPL) processes and associated claims?
A. Yes, all aspects of the programme should be considered by the external examiner.

Mott MacDonald rebranding

Since the last newsletter, the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that we have refreshed the Mott MacDonald branding on our website, portal, and any joint MM/NMC documentation. This has also involved the archiving of some old content, including past newsletters, but should you require access to them please contact us at

On call and IT support

We continue to encourage reviewers and the staff in AEIs to contact us if they have any queries. We always try to answer your questions promptly to avoid issues that might otherwise cause delay or inconvenience.

For administrative or IT support contact the operations team at Mott MacDonald via email or or telephone 01223 463913.

For professional issues, please telephone or email Judith Porch or Bernie Wallis depending on who is on call. The on-call rota and contact details are available from the homepage of our website.

NMC circulars

There have been no circulars issued since the last newsletter. Previous circulars can be downloaded from the NMC website; click here.

Quick links

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The NMC QA Framework (2016) document can be found on the NMC website; click here.

The QA Handbook (2016-17) can be found on the NMC/MM website; click here.

If you have any comments or suggestions related to this latest edition of the newsletter please send them to me at

Bernie Wallis | Deputy Director of Reviews

The Mott MacDonald Group is an independent management, engineering and development consultancy with over 12,000 staff working in over 140 countries.