To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his Answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 567W, what the average time taken for a qualification to be approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority following a recommendation from an awarding body is; and if he will make a statement. 
In 2002 it took an average of eight weeks from the submission of an NVQ by an awarding body to its accreditation by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). Vocationally related qualifications are typically more diverse and have taken an average of 20 weeks. There have been very few general qualifications accredited over the last 18 months.
QCA will be implementing a streamlined accreditation process in autumn 2003. This will build on proposals currently being piloted that have resulted in NVQs being accredited in six weeks and vocationally related qualifications in seven weeks.