Coronavirus update for customers

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Coronavirus update for customers

Operational Update on NOCN Group Qualifications and Services

NOCN Group offers a wide range of services including regulated qualifications, EPA for apprenticeships, Job Cards in construction, Access to HE Diplomas, bespoke accreditation, and educational and skills support training.

As you will be aware the government imposed a third national lockdown from Tuesday 5th January 2021. You will find out more operational detail on the implications for each of these services through the following links:

Business Development
Regulated Qualifications
EPA for Apprenticeships
Job Cards in construction (CPCS)
One Awards

Please note that NOCN Group will be following the guidance issued by the ESFA, IfATE, Ofqual, CCEA Regulation, QAA, and Qualifications Wales, and will update our customers as things change.

If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the impact on your centre, apprentices or learners please contact us on or 0300 999 1177.

Further information:

Letter from Gavin Williamson CBE MP to Simon Lebus

Letter from Simon Lebus to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP

DfE and Ofqual have launched two consultations (15th January):

GCSE, AS and A Level awarding in summer 2021

Alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other generals in 2021

Using Xbox to Access Online Learning

It is possible for learners to access their online work from home using a gaming console. For guidance on how to do this please download the document here.

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CPCS Update 188

The Government are doing everything they can to ease lockdowns by dates and data, CPCS will continue to support our centres during these challenging times.

Please keep everyone safe by following local and national Covid-19 related restrictions.

CPCS EQA’s and Named Contacts will continue to support you by being flexible in our approach.

CPCS Blue Cards

CPCS are currently experiencing a supply chain issue regarding NFC enabled CPCS SMART Cards. Current stocks have been exhausted despite all efforts of seeking alternative supplies, the shortage is for “Blue Cards” and this issue due to the world wide pandemic. In the short term we will be providing “non-smart” cards to all blue card holders, once the new stock of smart cards is received (mid-May) we will send out replacement blue cards to those who have been affected, our card producer will send the replacement cards quickly and efficiently. We have changed the card carrier letter explaining this to card holders.

Notifications without valid HS&E Tests

We continue to allow tests to be notified in TCMS for individuals who have an out of date HS&E test (2 years), you will be able to issue a 90 day letter of achievement, however, CPCS will not issue a card until the HS&E Test is complete.

For individuals who have never held a CITB HS&E Test, notifications will be held on the system, these individuals will not be allowed an Achievement Letter.

With guidance from industry we will continue to issue a 90 day “achievement letter”, please ensure that any candidates are told that they must prioritise booking of HS&E Tests within the 90 day period, we feel that this is a fair amount of time. From the testing undertaken there is sufficient availability to achieve a test within these time constraints.

“CPCS will allow concessions until the end of May 2021, by which time we fully expect Person VUE and Internet Test Centres (ITC’s) to be fully operational and Business as Usual.” TCMS Notification Concessions will cease, on the 1st June 2021

Systems and TCMS

Following on from the previous CPCS Update, we upgraded our systems on the 31st of March to the latest version that our system provider has. The upgrade itself went smoothly however it has raised a few issues which we are working closely with our system providers to resolve.

A feature of the new upgrade, is the Photo Upload function which has been improved when uploading a photograph within the result screen and also when you search for an individual in the TCMS. It is now clearer to recognise that the photograph has been uploaded successfully due to this release.

Below is a link to a YouTube video provided by the system providers about uploading and cropping a photo under the batch when searching for an individual. 



We included a “Cancel Notification” button in the release we made on the 31st of March however as per the email that you received on the 26TH of April, we have seen some reported problems in the way the cancellations work and have removed the option for now while we work on developing this further. Watch this space and it will be back before you know it, with the improvements hopefully by the end of May, beginning of June, prior to making this live we will be sending out further communications.

Systems performance is also under close scrutiny, we have seen some examples where the system lags behind your fast paced work. We are working with our provider to ensure performance is improved.

We continue to test other improvements to the systems suggested by centres, we will communicate further improvements in the next update.

Product Update

CPCS are currently reviewing the following publications, all changes will be easily identified in the Table of Release.

The releases are planned or the 10th May 2021 links will be sent as soon as the documents are launched.

  • CPCS Scheme Booklet for Test Centres
  • CPCS Scheme Booklet for Testers
  • Approved Code of Delivery
  • CPCS Scheme Booklet for Operators
  • CPCS Terms and Conditions & Data Protection
  • CPCS Competence Interview Candidate Guidance – New publication providing guidance for those requiring to undertake the CPCS Competence Interview
  • CPCS Online Delivery Policy – New publication providing guidance for CPCS Test Centres, Testers and Candidates, on how the CPCS Competence Interview can be completed online via a platforms such as Teams, over time it is intend to include other aspects of Technical Test Delivery which can be completed online.

A21 – Revision of previous communications -Following further working group meetings, the minimum operating weight as agreed with the CPCS Management Committee is to be set at 7.5 tonnes. Therefore, the test specifications for the A21 will be updated and come into effect from the 1st of July 2021. Test centres who have acted on the previous update and have secured loading shovels with an operating weight of 6.5 tonnes, will be allowed to continue to use this equipment providing proof of ownership can be confirmed on or after the 1st of April 2021 until such times as this equipment is replaced. All hired in Loading shovels are to meet the 7.5 tonne operating weight requirement.

Customer Service Update

We are currently developing a new method of Carding Without Application (CWA). We will be inviting some test centres to take part in the initial trials. Once the Trials are complete and successful it is our intention to role this out to all Centres.


On the 4th of May NOCN sent all CPCS Test Centres a survey, we currently have two named contacts per centre who will have received the survey, your feedback is very important to us could you please fill in the survey and return, the survey will close on the 15thMay.

Quality Assurance Update

External Quality Assurer (EQA Sector 9) John Landers will be retiring from NOCN on the 31 July 2021. I am sure you will join us in thanking John for all his hard work and commitment to CPCS over the years and wish him every success in the future.

We are therefore looking for an experienced candidate in the field of plant operations and quality assurance to become an External Quality Assurer and join the EQA (CPCS) National Team, we will shortly be advertising the position via the website and social media.