Standards and accreditation: Employment

This page brings together standards and accreditation that may be of use to employment professionals working with blind and partially sighted clients.

Guidance and standards

Carrying out work-based assessments for blind and partially sighted people 

This effective practice guide is to assist employment and access technology professionals with carrying out work-based assessments for blind and partially sighted people.

Quality assurance standards and professional development opportunities

This document identifies quality assurance standards that exist for the delivery of services that support blind and partially sighted people into employment, and professional development opportunities for accreditation to those standards.

British Standard PAS 150

The British Standard PAS 150 gives recommendations for the delivery of rehabilitation services for all disabilities and health conditions, with both short- and long-term needs. It covers providers in health, social care and employment and focuses on the interdependence between work, health and wellbeing. RNIB Evidence and Service Impact hold a print and electronic copy for reference.

More information is available on the BSI website.

ISO 9000 and 9001

ISO 9000 is a family of standards related to quality management systems and designed to help organisations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and stakeholders.

For further information please visit the ISO website.


The Matrix Standard is a quality framework for the effective delivery of information, advice and guidance on learning and work. The purpose of the matrix Standard is to provide a benchmark for organisations to assess/measure their advice, and support services which ultimately support individuals in their choice of career, learning and work goals.

For further information please visit the Matrix Standard website.

Merlin Standard

The Merlin Standard is the standard of behaviour to which prime providers are expected to adhere in their relationship with their subcontractors. It is designed to encourage excellence in supply chain management by prime providers, to ensure fair treatment of sub-contractors and development of healthy high performing supply chains, supporting DWP's commissioning strategy and code of conduct.

The Merlin Standard has been designed by the Department of Work and Pensions. The organisation that is responsible for the management, administration and delivery of the Merlin Standard is EMQC.

For further information please visit the Merlin Standard website.

Accreditation and qualifications

Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

ERSA is the trade body for all those delivering, or with an interest in, employment related services; sometimes called the welfare to work industry. Established by the industry for the industry, it was set up in 2005 to provide a stronger collective voice to government in the development of public policy.

ERSA exists to support its members in their collective drive to deliver quality services to aid people into sustainable employment.

For further information please visit the ERSA website.

Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP)

The IEP was set up in 2012, and now acts as the regulatory body for the welfare to work industry, developing and maintaining quality standards for qualifications, training and customer service.

IEP is currently working with Educational Development International (EDI) to provide a framework of qualifications designed to meet the industry's needs.

For further information please visit the IEP website.


The National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR) is an internationally recognised organisation committed to reducing the human, social and economic costs of disability. NIDMAR's primary focus is the implementation of workplace-based reintegration programs. As an education, training and research organisation, NIDMAR runs a distance learning programme, consisting of a series of twenty-five modules designed to provide the skills and competencies for disability management / return to work practitioners.

For further information please visit the education section of NIDMAR's website.

Education Development International (EDI)

EDI is a provider of education and training qualifications, and assessment services, and has developed a suite of new Employment Related Services qualifications and an Advanced Apprenticeship. The qualifications and Apprenticeship have been specifically designed to support the development of staff of any organisation that helps people find employment.

For further information please visit the EDI website.

Vocational Rehabilitation Association (VRA)

The VRA is a multi-disciplinary UK-wide organisation supporting and promoting all those working in vocational rehabilitation whether in the public, private, voluntary or third sector. The VRA provide modular and accredited training programmes in vocational rehabilitation.

For further information please visit the VRA website.

AbilityNet accreditation scheme

AbilityNet's Accreditation Scheme is a series of modules leading to OCN level 3 qualification in the field of accessibility and access technology. This course is currently undergoing redevelopment; due to be re-launched later this year.

Find out more on the AbilityNet website.

Coventry University foundation degree in Assistive Technology

A 2 year part-time course in Assistive Technology to improve technical knowledge and expertise in assistive technology, product/service delivery, management and project skills. The majority of the course is delivered online, by blended learning or through learning in the workplace.

More details about the course are available on the Coventry University website.

Information Advice and Guidance (IAG)

NVQ qualifications in IAG are available via the UK-wide network of further education providers.

More information is available on the Edexcel website.