Approvals process

The following information illustrates a six-step process to obtain HEA Approval of resources/products.

Six steps to approval

Step 1: initial suitability review

The initial suitability review is a ‘first step’ service that provides an initial review of a resource (or product) which is to be considered for HEA Approval to confirm said resource has potential to be aligned to the UKPSF. Organisations wishing to submit a resource for approval must contact the HEA via email ( to discuss the initial suitability review. This service is charged on an individual basis reflecting the number and size of resource(s) presented. Should further development of the resource(s) be required before submission to the approval panel, support packages are available for purchase to facilitate this (see guidance notes).

Step 2: application and submission

On submission you must ensure the resource and any accompanying documents meet the requirements of the Descriptor(s) of the UKPSF you wish to align the resource to (e.g. Associate Fellow, Fellow). The guidance notes demonstrate the criteria that must be met.

Once the application is finalised, organisations should send the completed approval application document and supporting files (evidence) by email to

Step 3: approval panel

Resources for approval are considered via documentary review. A panel of HEA accreditors is convened to examine the approval submission and reach an approval outcome decision. Each submission is judged by a panel of three accreditors, who are peers from across the sector. Accreditors are selected to represent the breadth of subject disciplines and types of resources offered by HE providers.

For more detail about the approval panel process and associated fee see the guidance notes.

Step 4: response

The outcome of the approval process is: Approve

Once confirmed approval can be announced immediately following a successful panel outcome, but will start formally on January 1 or September 1 (depending when documents are submitted) and expire three years later subject to annual review.

The outcome of the approval process is: Approve subject to conditions

Conditions are captured in an action plan. It is usual to have some conditions set and these must be met by the organisation and approved by the accreditors before approval is awarded. Actions are accompanied by explanatory guidance to support the organisation in addressing conditions set. Commendations and recommendations are communicated to the organisation in a feedback letter which accompanies the action plan with timescales (see guidance notes).

The outcome of the approval process is: Return for further development

If changes and/or additions are deemed to be too significant to be considered without a further panel meeting or the resource is not suitable for HEA Approval. If HEA Approval continues to be sought evidence of further development or changes will be presented as a new submission for which there will be an additional fee.

Step 5: licence agreement

Once a resource/product has obtained HEA Approval, the HEA will discuss usage of the licence and the HEA quality mark. Licence agreements are granted and charged on an individual basis to reflect desired use of the licence (e.g. within or outside the United Kingdom).

Step 6: annual approval review:

Annual review requires completion of an approved resource annual report. To ensure approved CPD resources remain in good standing, the HEA requires that by 1 July each year, organisations must provide a brief annual report on the operation of their approved resource. In addition to this, an audit of the latest version of the resource will be carried out by a HEA member of staff. For further details about this report, see the guidance notes.


Useful resources

- Approvals process flyer

- Approvals guidance notes

- Approvals application document