ADSHE DSAs Reform Summary Document


The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published the Quality Assurance Framework (another new acronym: QAF) for NMH (non-medical help) providers.

You can find it here:

The department has also published an update about the QAF and its application The department has also published an update about the QAF and its application: BIS update (PDF, 98 KB).

A checklist for compliance for self employed tutors has been created by Sally Daunt who has given ADSHE permission to publish it here


With reference to:

SSIN 05/16 January 2016;
letter dated 25-01-2016 DSAs – NMH Supplier Registration Notification.


Following consultation with stakeholders, ADSHE included; on 2nd December 2015 a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) was issued, setting out reforms to DSAs, for academic year 2016-2017.

The WMS is available at Government Response and revised Equality Analysis are available at

The two key aspects of these reforms affecting ADSHE members are:

1.  Quality Assurance of Assessment reports: SSIN 05/16 p2-3 makes important reading.
2. The NMH quality assurance process: see SSIN 05/16 and the letter of 25-01-2016.

The letter sets out the following actions and time-line for the NMH quality assurance process:

From 04-04-2016 only those NMH providers registered with DSA-QAG will be permitted to provide DSAs-funded support for students recommended an NMH service for the first time.
Any NMH provider wishing to support such new students from 4th April 2016 must now register with DSA-QAG; in a 2-stage process:
Stage 1: Such NMH providers have until 19th FEBRUARY 2016 to register ‘your organisation or self-employment details’ at using the online form and accompanying guidance documents (including information on the qualifications and professional body membership you may need to have).

Stage 2: the NMH provider must agree to comply with the new quality assurance framework (QAF) and to pay a one-off registration fee to DSA-QAG to complete the registration process:

>  If you work solely for an organisation providing NMH support, you do not need to complete this form; your organisation will do this for you.
>  However, if you also operate as a self-employed provider, you must complete the online registration to be recognised as a self-employed provider.
>  You will be requested to consent to the audit process and will be issued with an NMH provider registration invoice for £100 plus VAT.
>  On receipt of your fee and consent to be audited, your application details will be authorised for publication: the NMH register is planned for publication at the beginning of April.
>  On completion of the application process you will become a registered provider: BIS intends all providers will be audited within the first year.

>  Following audit you/your organisation will become accredited to DSA-QAG.

>   You will be audited on an annual basis thereafter to remain registered and accredited. [Details of the audit process and annual audit fees will be issued to NMH providers ‘in due course’.]
>  If you do not agree to be audited against the QAF, you do not need to submit the registration fee, and your details will not appear as an accredited supplier.

This will not affect any support you are already supplying to existing DSAs students for 2016/17.  You may continue to provide NMH support that is already in place for existing DSAs-funded students.

However, in order to supply DSAs-funded services for any student assessed as needing an NMH service they have not previously received after 4 April 2016 you must register with DSA-QAG.  If you fail to register you will not be able to draw DSAs-funding for students assessed for a different type of NMH for the first time after 4 April 2016.
BIS intends that all NMH suppliers will be required to register from 2017/18, and will consider after the first year whether to continue to allow DSAs-funding to be drawn down by providers who remain unregistered, regardless of whether they are already providing support to students.


We have received the following communication from Elaine Underwood regarding the registration deadline…

I understand there is some concern about the deadline for registering DSAs funded support workers.  I should clarify that the 19 Februarydate is an advisory date in order to ensure sufficient time to complete the process by 4 April.  However, the registration process will remain open after that date. Individuals and organisations can register at any time and their application will be dealt with as quickly as possible.  This will be particularly relevant to workers who are considering applying for membership of one of the professional bodies.

A formal update will be issued shortly on a number of issues, including the timescales, but we wanted to reassure people who are just about to go on leave.


Elaine Underwood

This is a very short time-frame, with many questions left unanswered: ADSHE will continue in its role as a very proactive stakeholder, championing the needs of providers and students.

  • Archives