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Qualifications in Democratic Services

Past qualifications in Democratic Services were based on a set of National Occupational Standards (NOS). These were developed by Democratic Services staff and managers across the UK.

In October 2009 the Certificate in Democratic Practice was nationally recognised on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). It is a level 4 qualification and the awarding body is ProQual.

The new Diploma In Local Democracy is offered at level 6 on the Qualification and Credit Framework, and is equivalent to a Bachelors Degree. The awarding body is ProQual.


Staff may already be well qualified academically but they do not necessarily have the skills and knowledge specific to Democratic Services. Achieving a sector specific qualification confirms they are able to do the job to the standard expected by their employer and the wider community.

Current qualifications

Two qualifications have been developed by the Standards and Qualification Group for Democratic Services. Feedback indicated that the sector would prefer qualifications which were more knowledge based and less bureaucratic than the previous NVQ.There is now a Certificate at Level 4 and the Diploma at Level 6.

  • The Certificate in Democratic Services Practice PDF 221Kb consists of two elements -  six knowledge and understanding elements as well as workplace or 'practice' modules.
  • The Diploma PDF 413Kb is a different qualification to the Certificate and would normally attract a more experienced Democracy Support Officer. The qualification is offered at level 6, on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. This is equivalent to a Bachelors degree.

There are over 120 learners working towards the new qualifications.


SEE is the accredited Assessment Centre for the new qualifications managing the qualifications on behalf of the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO)

The cost of the Certificate is £1475 + VAT for ADSO members and £1650 +VAT for non ADSO members with a reduction to £800 + VAT if the learner has an in-house adviser -:

The cost of the Diploma is £975 per year for 2 years or £1825 for a one off payment for ADSO members and £1050 per year for 2 years, or £2000 for a one off payment.

This includes registration and certification, induction, all materials, support visits and networking meetings plus telephone and email support.


For further information, please visit the ADSO website( or contact Sue Keogh, SEE

View other opportunities within Democratic Services.