The website for the College of Naturopathic Medicine https://www.naturopathy-uk.com, seen in August 2019, included a question on the “FAQ” page: “Q. Will I be able to work professionally by completing a Diploma with CNM?” and the answer “All of our Diplomas are accredited with the appropriate bodies”.
The complainant, who understood that the Vegan Natural Chef diploma offered by the advertiser was not independently accredited, challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that it was independently accredited.
The College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) stated that the Vegan Natural Chef diploma course was accredited by two separate bodies. They provided a certificate which showed that they were accredited by the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners and stated that they were also accredited by the Independent Cookery Schools Association.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand from the claim “All of our Diplomas are accredited with the appropriate bodies”, in the context of the ad, that the course was independently accredited by a body that was recognised by an industry group relevant to the course.
We understood that the Vegan Natural Chef diploma was not a regulated qualification, which would necessitate accreditation by the Quality Assurance Agency or Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. However, the ad and website did not claim that the courses were regulated by a statutory regulator.
The course was accredited by the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners (ANP) and the Independent Cookery School Association (ICSA). The ANP was a professional membership body that accredited courses relevant to its members and we considered it was therefore an appropriate body to accredit the course.
We understood that the complainant was concerned that links between the CNM and ANP meant that the ANP was not independent from CNM. However, given that they were a college and professional membership body dedicated to the relatively small sector of naturopathic medicine we considered that links between the two bodies were likely and were not in themselves evidence of a lack of independent rigour in the awarding of the ANP’s accreditation to CNM. Additionally, the course was accredited by the ICSA, which we understood based their accreditation on a range of relevant and specific requirements for educational courses.
We considered that those were adequate to substantiate the claim that the course had been accredited by appropriate bodies. For that reason, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.