The ICB is a global 'brand' whos structure is aimed at creating the most highly qualified bookkeepers. The expected learning methods are pricipally based around inexpensive home learning (college/day release courses cost vastly more). Apparently this does reflect on the Ofqual status as they required a more college lead approach, that and our exam levels don't exactly match the 'competitions' so it is harder to be directly compared... that is my understanding of the ICB's choice not to apply for Ofqual status. They didn't like the hoops one had to jump through or the enforced allignment of syllibii. I might not be entirely correct, I'm sure others will correct me in that case
While it is true that at the moment there are a high percentage of members in self employment there is a growing market in the PAYE sector and we were informed at the ICB conference last month, of an initiative currently in the pipeline to get one of the specialist financial empoyment agencies to recognise out acreditations and become a more direct conduit to market for our members.
Hopefully that answers your questions. If it rasies more, keep asking!