Dear Colleague,

The JCQCIC A2C Data Standards Project has been progressing well and we are getting closer to rolling out the full functionality. So that you are ready for this, I wanted to update you on the latest developments and the next steps.

The JCQ A2C Data Standards Project has been progressing well and we are getting closer to rolling out the full functionality. So that you are ready for this, I wanted to update you on the latest developments and the next steps.

As you will be aware, the A2C project is about changing the way centres and awarding organisations share data and carry out activities such as making entries and receiving results for general and vocational qualifications. Further details about the project, its benefits and a vision statement can be found on the A2C project website.

What you need to do

The most important thing you need to do is to make sure that you are in regular communication with your MIS supplier.  This will ensure that your supplier provides advanced notice of their rollout plans so that you can make sure you are ready and that your supplier can manage your requirements.

If you are new to this project or are not sure if your supplier can support A2C, please look on the website where you can find out which MIS suppliers intend to become A2C compliant or withdraw from the project here.

Some centres have their own MIS in place, known as ‘home grown centres’, and we are looking at what support we can offer them. If you are from one of these centres and have not been in contact with us, please email

What’s been happening?

You will already be familiar with the A2C migration application, which was available for use from September 2012. The migration application provides an interim data transport mechanism and replaces the need for VANs.  If you are using an MIS you should have cancelled any VAN contracts you had in place.

Please note that using the migration application does not mean your centre is A2C compliant. This compliance is all part of the next steps.

Next steps

JCQ, awarding organisations and MIS suppliers are now working on phase 2 of the project:

• your suppliers will update their MIS systems to  include an A2C compliant message structure and integrate the transport of data into the MIS system.  A list of all MIS suppliers who plan to become A2C compliant is on the JCQ website.  It is important to check the list to ensure that your supplier is mentioned.  If not, please contact the JCQ as soon as possible.

• awarding organisations are working to make sure that their applications support A2C compliant systems and can receive orders and process results in line with the new structure.

Pilot and rollout

From September 2014, we are piloting the A2C data standards with a small number of MIS suppliers and some of their customers.  Currently, this list of suppliers includes: Capita FHE, Compass and Advanced Learning.  We will be adding to this list so please check the JCQCIC website regularly for updates.

Your MIS supplier will contact you if they would like to include your centre as part of the pilot. Decisions on this have not yet been made.

After the pilot is completed successfully, additional rollout will be managed by JCQCIC until September 2015. At this point we expect to be able to allow MIS suppliers to rollout their updated MIS in accordance with their own and customers’ requirements. Please ensure that you are in regular contact with your supplier so that you are fully aware of their plans, and that they can manage your switchover at a time that works for your centre. We strongly advise that you don’t switchover mid-series.

Once the rollout is complete, we will withdraw the migration application as it won’t be needed any longer.

Switchover to A2C – what this means for you

When your centre becomes A2C compliant, you will place all your new orders via A2C.  You may need to use both EDI and A2C for a period of time, for example:

• any orders submitted in EDI will receive results in EDI
• orders submitted in EDI will need to be amended in EDI

Further details of what the transition period will involve are available on the JCQCIC website, but please be assured that your MIS supplier and awarding organisation will work closely with you  whilst you are running both systems.

The cut-off date for orders in EDI format is December 31st 2016.  This means that for general qualifications, no entries for a new series will be accepted in EDI format after this date.

If you have any queries about this please contact any AO representative or visit the JCQCIC website where you can find more information.

Kind regards,

Chris Wiltshire
A2C Programme Director