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The Institute is responsible for maintaining the standards of our profession and the integrity of the Blue, Green and White Badge qualifications.  This is done through a combination of rigorous examinations and the careful review of proposed training courses to ensure compliance with the relevant European and British industry standards.

For a variety of reasons, the Institute has, to date, allowed candidates to sit its exams without participating in a duly accredited training course.  Such individuals have typically been known as 'external candidates'.  This practice is somewhat controversial and has created a number of anomalies and contradictions, as well as generating some confusion and extra administrative work.  The degree of cooperation between external candidates and the relevant training courses has also varied considerably from area to area.

The Institute is committed to maintaining standards, but also to ensuring complete fairness for all candidates sitting its exams, as well as consistency across the whole country.  The Board of Directors has therefore requested a full review of the current system of allowing candidates to sit exams without participating in a training course.  This review will consider the advantages and disadvantages of this system, the level of support required, and the costs involved, both to the Institute and to individual candidates.  The review will also focus strongly on how to ensure that our professional standards are met.

This review is ongoing.  However, until a final decison is made, the Institute has agreed to adopt an interm policy regarding external candidates for 2017-18.  A copy of the policy can read in full here