Quality Assurance Standards: A synthesis of quality standards across partner countries

This report presents an analysis a range of transnational and national quality assurance (QA) practices in career guidance within partner countries, 21 quality activities were assessed. The report focuses on identifying the variation of different approaches, the factors that enable these approaches and the impact of these different approaches.

Main findings:

  • Most labels submitted were for individuals and organisations predominantly addressing all age needs, although specialist awards were identified that have a focus on SEND. Certification processes tended to be organisational focused, with smaller numbers addressing individual counsellors or both.
  • Most of the labels examined were national standards and were voluntary except in the UK where the standards were linked to accessing public funding.
  • Only 14% of quality standards provide mentoring as part of the support resources for organisations and individuals. The mentoring relationships identified focused on goal related (instrumental) support which was aimed a predefined goal or psychosocial (developmental) focused on supporting competence and effectiveness within professional practice.
  • Quality development frameworks support quality assurance and enhance guidance services within organisations. NOLOC and CMI in The Netherlands have recently consolidated their quality development frameworks to create on national standard.
  • Assessments of quality standards tend to include both internal and external elements. A range of resources are available to support the process and include workshops, mentoring, portfolios, case studies and webinars for example. Audit methods predominantly include the production of portfolios of evidence and or assessment visits. Often a number of methods were used.
  • Accreditation lengths lasted on average for 3 years but the longest being 5 years and shortest 1 year. 67% of quality labels had associated costs, these varied between €262 and €7500.
  • Most quality assurance standards addressed multiple and inter-related aspects of provision including, professionalism, CPD, evaluation, partnerships, LMI, client satisfaction and leadership.


There are many challenges with quality systems as there is often little backing from government and limited financial and personal resources available. However, quality is a policy issue and is the collective responsibility of service providers, policy makers and other stakeholders. Strong professional association play an important role in developing professional standards for career guidance.

The report is available here: O1_report_Final _V13 May 2019.dox

A summary report is available here: O1_report_Summary report May 2019.dox