IQ Level 3 Diploma in Principles of Health and Social Care

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This QIP covers a vocational qualification which is not listed on the Department for Education (DfE) 16 – 19 performance tables for England.

This qualification is not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables because it is not designed to meet the requirements of the Key Stage 5 performance tables.

  • England

Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable students to gain the skills required to perform a particular job, or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or apprenticeship.

Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the DfE performance tables, if approved for teaching to 16 – 19 year olds by the Secretary of State for Education in England under Section 96, where this is in the best interests of individual students.

The core objective of this qualification is to support a health and social care role in the workplace.

Key purposes include:

  • prepare for further learning or training, and/or develop knowledge and/or skills in a subject area
  • develop knowledge and/or skills in a subject area

To ensure this qualification is fit for purpose it has been developed in partnership with leading autism charity, Living Autism. The partnership between an awarding organisation and a leading charity is relatively rare. This relationship was formed to ensure the qualification framework provides a true representation of current knowledge both within the autism unit, and the more generic mandatory units (person-centred care, communication etc). The partnership with Living Autism was an integral component of achieving the qualification’s core purpose: delivery of high quality health and social care education that represents current knowledge in the sector.

Education context

This qualification is designed for post-16 students and falls under the oversight of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). A significant number of students will undertake these qualifications post-19.

Following its 2012 review of post-19 qualifications, the ESFA removed 1,800 qualifications from public funding, and a further 1,000 in 2014. In March 2014, the government published a Reform Plan for Vocational Education.

This qualification has not been subject to the same reforms as Applied General and Tech level qualifications (which are specifically designed for 16-19 year old students), however the ESFA has implemented a new set of business rules for the approval of qualifications for funding, based on the 2013 Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England. These rules recognise that adults may have different needs, aspirations, and ambitions to younger people, and include that qualifications should be:

  • relevant to individuals and employers, and affordable for all sizes of business and for individuals
  • rigorous and based on a robust future-looking occupational standard, designed and assessed by the sector
  • recognised as worthy of investment, giving a clear signal of the economically valuable skills, knowledge, and understanding required in an occupation, now and in the future

Regulation of vocational qualifications

The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country – Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland), SQA (Scotland), and Qualifications Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, and AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.

Awarding organisation
  • Industry Qualifications (IQ)
Qualification code
603/1395/X (IQ Level 3 Diploma in Principles of Health and Social Care)

This knowledge-only 90-credit qualification is made up of 14 units: seven mandatory and seven optional. Students are required to complete between two and three of these optional units (totaling 20 credits), in addition to the mandatory units (totaling 70 credits), to achieve the qualification.

Mandatory units include:

  • Principles of Health, Safety, and Infection Control in Health and Social Care 
  • Principles of Person-Centred Care in Health and Social Care
  • Principles of Communication in Health and Social Care
  • Principles of Safeguarding and Duty of Care in Health and Social Care
  • Principles of Equality, Diversity, and Rights in Health and Social Care
  • Principles of Teamwork and Multidisciplinary Working in Health and Social Care
  • Principles of Record Keeping within Health and Social Care

Optional units include:

  • Principles of Medication Handling and Awareness
  • Principles of Behaviour that Challenges, and Positive Behavioural Support
  • Principles of Dementia Care
  • Principles of End of Life Care
  • Principles of Caring for Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Principles of Learning Disability Care
  • Principles of Epilepsy Care
Subject areas
  • Health and social care
  • Level 3

Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland, and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6/7.


All assessment criteria of the selected units must be met to achieve the qualification. This qualification is not graded, successful students achieve a pass.


Each unit of this knowledge-only qualification is assessed via an externally set, internally marked, and verified and quality assured by IQ, assessment workbook.

An additional audio/ video recorded student interview is conducted by an approved member of staff (trainer, assessor or internal verifier) upon the completion of each unit within this workbook.

Student identification is re-confirmed within this stage of assessment and the completion of these interview requirements are additionally documented within the workbook.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Qualification success (pass/fail) is driven entirely by the above described assessment strategy.

All assessment criteria of the selected units (as represented in the assessment workbook) must be met to achieve the qualification.

Resit arrangements

Those failing the assessment workbook are to be mentored by centre personnel in order to meet the required criteria to pass. Resits therefore take the form of redrafting those responses that were initially marked as insufficient, within the assessment workbook. 

Guided/notional learning hours
600 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

GLH: 600-625 TQT: 900

UCAS Tariff points

IQ Level 3 Diploma in Principles of Health and Social Care

Grade Points
P 48


Key issues for UK HE admissions

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications that are not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables for England:

  • some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE
  • applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications
  • these qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship
  • if they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications

The qualification content is applicable to a wide variety of health and social care job roles, including but not limited to: residential settings, primary care environments, day services, personal assistance, and domiciliary services. It aims to improve a student's ability to understand and respond appropriately to the uniqueness of all individuals, particularly those in a health and social care setting, and provides students with formal recognition of their health and social care knowledge. 

Person-centred understanding is at the core of the delivery of high quality care. It is also a trait that promotes multidisciplinary working, through enabling recognition and response to the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members. Through developing this important skill as part of the qualification framework, successful students will demonstrate value to a broad range of employers, across a diverse range of sectors. 

Moreover, through completion of the diploma workbook, students will evidence the ability to work and research independently, for a prolonged time period, to meet the qualification demands. Self-motivation, commitment, research skills, and the ability to write in a concise manner, are essential components of both employment and higher education. As such, the range of skills developed through taking this qualification can be seen as relevant to those seeking access to further education and career progression alike.

This qualification can be taken as a standalone, and it is not necessary to offer it in conjunction with any other qualifications.  

Timing of assessments/results for learners

With regards to the assessment workbook, assessment can take place on demand (i.e. there is no requirement for a fixed time of assessment). Students are granted access to the qualification workbook, through their training provider, on registration to the qualification.

With regards to the student interview/viva, assessment can also take place on demand, providing this assessment is scheduled after the completion of the assessment workbook referenced above.

Results are issued on completion of the workbook, following a recommendation made by the assessment personnel of the training provider. Achievements are verified and standardised through the process of independent external verification (EV), to be conducted at a minimum of twice annually.

Assuming there are no issues, successful candidates receive their certificates within 7-14 days of the initial recommendation being made.

Qualification date
01 May 2017—30 Apr 2020 (End date to be extended should uptake indicate the need.)
Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current, and it is expected that it will first be awarded in September 2018. This date could change depending on the students' rate of progress.

Reporting and certification information

The results of the IQ Level 3 Diploma in Principles of Health and Social Care are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification. HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.

View the results available through ABL.

Industry Qualifications does not publish annual certification information in the public domain, but does submit the certification information to the appropriate regulator (Ofqual) in the form of quarterly reports.

Progression information

Students can progress to other qualifications or apprenticeships in the same sector. Examples include competency-based apprenticeships, and leadership and management qualifications.

This qualification was developed by Industry Qualifications in partnership with Beacon Education (Training Provider) and Living Autism (Leading UK Charity for Autism). For further information, see the ‘Purpose’ section.

Further information

All information pertaining to the delivery/assessment of this qualification, in addition to the qualification purpose statement, fact-sheet and specification, can be accessed via the company website:…

All documents are available for download at the bottom of the page.