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Chief Executive's Statement on 2020 UK Qualifying Examinations

It is really good news that the PEB has agreed to provide the UK qualifying examinations online this year, as an alternative to cancelling those examinations. It is a big ask for the PEB. Professional examinations are not like those sat at university and setting professional examinations online cannot be achieved by simply porting in a university model. The PEB is facing an enormous task which must be done at pace to secure the examinations for 2020. CIPA Council is appreciative of the hard work that is going on behind the scenes at the PEB.
I know that there are many unanswered questions for trainees and for employers. I know that this is frustrating and that you will be looking for answers so that you can make informed decisions about sitting the examinations. I know that you look to CIPA and the PEB to provide these answers. Regulation by IPReg required there to be separation of governance and operation between CIPA and the PEB. It is not always apparent that, to all intents and purposes, CIPA and the PEB are separate organisations. I am sorry that this separation sometimes means that communication is not as effective as it could be if we were one organisation.
CIPA is talking with the PEB. This is an opportunity for the PEB and CIPA to show we are listening and responding to questions and are working together to give an indication of when questions will be answered when a response cannot be immediate. On the detail, such as the arrangements for proctoring, the scanning of examination scripts and other administrative functions, it is not yet possible to provide specific information. This is entirely understandable. CIPA has suggested that online FAQs, updated as and when possible, would help keep trainees and employers aware of developments.
CIPA has arranged to meet with the PEB on Thursday 16 July. We hope that the PEB will agree to join CIPA in a webinar to update trainees and employers on the status of the examinations and to provide further detail on the administration of the examinations. We accept that there will still be ‘known unknowns’ but take the view that frequent, if incomplete, communication is desirable in these uncertain times.
Finally, trainees are represented on CIPA Council through the Informals. This recent innovation, brought about by the change to the Bye-laws, means that the trainee voice is heard by Council. Listening to the views of the Informals, Council asked the PEB to provide the examinations online and Council was delighted when the PEB agreed to do so. Council continues to be advised by the Informals and understands how concerned trainees are to be properly informed of the arrangements for the examinations. We look forward to working with the PEB to ensure that communication is effective.

Lee Davies

July 2020