The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has announced that it is to voluntarily withdraw from Ofqual regulation, meaning that its qualifications will not be recognised by Ofqual or validated against its criteria from April next year.

The CIEH currently offers 16 qualifications in health and safety, 26 in food safety, five in first aid and two in environmental management, all at levels one to four. These are delivered by colleges and training providers around the country.

Until April 2017, the courses will continue unchanged. After the “voluntary surrender” of Ofqual regulation, the CIEH will continue to be an awarding body, and will offer new updated qualifications via its training partners.

But candidates could find that other organisations in England and Wales – such as university admissions departments or other chartered membership bodies – view the new qualifications as carrying less weight.

The CIEH said that the “inflexibility” of Ofqual regulation had led to the decision, and that it hoped that greater freedom would allow it to innovate and provide new training options for its 9000 members.