The Recruiter Accreditation Scheme (RAS) has been developed by MRS and the Association for Qualitative Research (AQR) to raise the profile and status of recruiters, by devising a training and accreditation scheme that recognises the knowledge, skills and competence of professional recruiters.


The use of accredited recruiters is now a mandatory obligation, for MRS Company Partners, when buying qualitative research recruitment services.

The overall aim of the scheme is to improve the quality of qualitative recruitment by all parties throughout the qualitative recruitment supply-chain. 

The RAS is designed to recognise the range of knowledge and understanding required to:

  • Understand the basic principles and concepts of research
  • Understand the role of research recruitment
  • Understand the different techniques used for research recruitment
  • Understand the legal and ethical requirements which underpin research
  • Understand the basics of project management

The RAS programme combines online training and assessment with self-directed work-based learning.  All of the RAS online training is available for use without financial charge. The materials are available here:


Who is it for?

Research recruiters working across a wide range of sectors who undertake research recruitment, and those who commission qualitative research and/or undertake research recruitment as part of a wider research role:

  • For experienced recruiters - the accreditation will provide professional recognition and build professional status.  
  • For new recruiters - the training and accreditation will provide the essential knowledge and skills to become competent as recruiters.
  • For recruitment organisations – the accreditation of recruitment organisations and their staff will provide third party verification of your services and competence.
  • For recruiters within field, research and/or client organisations – the accreditation will provide professional recognition of the internal recruitment function.

Learning outcomes and indicative content
  • The Basics of Research: This element refers to the setting in which research takes place, the basics of qualitative and quantitative research and the ethical and legal principles that underpin the research recruitment process. The learning outcomes in this section inform and guide each stage of the recruitment process.
  • The Tools Used in Research Recruitment: The learning outcomes in this element reflect the specific skills and understanding required to conduct effective qualitative recruitment. There are four topic areas in this section:
  1. Preparation
  2. Managing the recruitment process
  3. Communication and interpersonal skills
  4. Recruitment tools and techniques

More information on the structure and learning outcomes of RAS can be found in the RAS syllabus document.


The assessment is completed online under the guidance of MRS, as the awarding body for the accreditation. 

Comprises 40 multiple-choice questions covering all five RAS modules sat online.

At least 3 questions must be answered correctly from modules 1 & 2, at least 5 correct from modules 3 & 5 and at least 8 correct from module 4.

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Pass requirements

  • The overall pass rate is 60% = 24 correct answers
  • Candidates will achieve a Distinction, Merit, Pass or a Fail grade
  • In order to achieve a Merit candidates must exceed all the pass rates and get over 30 out of 40
  • In order to achieve a distinction candidates must exceed all the pass rates and get over 35 out of 40.
  • Candidates will fail if they get an overall score of 24 or higher, but do not score high enough in each of the 5 modules.

Re-takes for failed assessments will cost £25 +VAT per re-assessment

You can access the RAS Assessment here

How long will it take?

It is recommended you undertake around 40 learning hours of study of the learning materials which support RAS to prepare for the assessment.

It is advisable, even if you are an experienced recruiter, that you review all modules of the training before taking the assessment, in particular the modules: New and Emerging Recruitment Techniques and Data Protection and GDPR.

Read full details about how the RAS training and assessment works and can be accessed.

Entry requirements

RAS is open to all individuals who wish to participate.


MRS and AQR online RAS training – FREE to all – go to the RAS online training site

Recruiters who are already a Member of MRS – No charge for accreditation

Recruiters who are Non-Members of MRS:

  • Option 1 - £175 - Includes the RAS assessment, accreditation, compliance regulation by MRS and access to the full suite of MRS membership benefits
  • Option 2 - £87.50 - Includes the RAS assessment, accreditation and compliance regulation by MRS but no individual member benefits (a 50% reduction on membership fee)

The accreditation includes:

  • access to the training
  • access to the assessment 
  • accreditation 
  • MRS membership 
  • Certificate of accreditation
  • Logo of accreditation

Thereafter there is an annual accreditation fee which includes MRS membership and continued accreditation. The period of accreditation is for three years.  In order to maintain accreditation after three years recruiters are required to re-take the accreditation assessment.

Company Accreditation

For companies, there are two types of accreditation.

  • Organisations which undertake in-house recruitment only will achieve RAS Accreditation (In-house) once 50% or more of the organisations' staff undertaking recruitment have successfully achieved accreditation.  RAS Accreditation (In-house) will also apply to those organisations that have met the 50% staff requirement and have yet to achieve the criteria for External RAS Company accreditation.
  • For those organisations that use the services of external freelance recruiters RAS Accreditation (External) will be given once 50% or more of all in-house staff undertaking recruitment are RAS Accredited Recruiters and at least 50% of all external recruiters (such as independent recruiters) that are used by the organisation are RAS Accredited Recruiters.  

RAS Accredited Company Application Form
(The form is a writeable PDF, in order to populate please download the form and click on the  icon in the side navigation)

RAS Accredited Company Annual Update Form
(The form is a writeable PDF, in order to populate please download the form and click on the  icon in the side navigation)

It is recognised that for those telephone units which have had their telephone operations certified to ISO 20252 (*and either have 2012 Certification or have certified to Annex B for the 2019 standard) and/or IQCS, and the training and monitoring requirements that this place upon the telephone unit, will mean there is less need for all the recruiters to undertake accreditation. 

For IQCS and/or ISO 20252* Certified Telephone Units to become accredited as an In-House RAS Accredited Company requires only the Compliance/Quality Manager responsible for training and the quality standards to be accredited as an individual Accredited Recruiter, not 50% of the recruiter staff as for non IQCS and ISO 20252* organisations.  In these instances, the individual recruiter fees would apply.  This does not prevent more staff from a Telephone Unit being individually accredited if they wish to.


RAS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Module (EDI)

A NEW module for the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme (RAS), that focuses on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is now available.

This module will initially be optional and standalone to the core RAS accreditation. Only recruiters who have already achieved RAS Accredited Status are eligible to sit assessment for this module.

As recruiters you identify, approach, recruit and liaise with participants to take part in research and data collection projects.  This means that you have contact with a range of people with different characteristics e.g., different ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientation and physical and mental health conditions.  As part of research recruitment, you may also be asked to find participants with specific characteristics to meet recruitment quotas, etc.

This new module explains the concepts, principles and terms used and the application for research and research recruitment.  This guidance will help you understand your obligations and the steps you should take to recruit participants in an inclusive way, your legal obligations and the best practice requirements when doing so. The module provides best practice when collecting data on sexual orientation, sex and gender, physical disabilities and mental health conditions, and ethnicity when discussing inclusive approaches.  However, inclusion is much bigger than these characteristics and the module also includes other considerations such as age, social inclusion, culture, religion and nationality. 

Indicative Content

The module is split into 9 sections:

  1. Defining diversity, equity, equality and inclusion.
  2. Defining inclusive characteristics.
  3. Understanding discrimination and bias and the impact on research recruitment.
  4. The importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in research recruitment.
  5. Collecting inclusive data for research purposes.
  6. Understanding the DE&I legal and ethical framework in the UK including protected characteristics.
  7. Understanding how to recruit inclusive samples for research purposes.
  8. Collecting and recording and storing inclusive data.
  9. Coping with and reporting discrimination during recruitment.

You will be given 30 minutes to complete as many questions as possible. The assessment is made up of 20 random questions covering all 9 sections within the module detailed in the training provided.

Pass Requirements

You will receive an overall grade (Distinction, Merit, Pass or Fail). The overall grade awarded is calculated on the total number of correct answers achieved in the online multiple-choice test:

Distinction:   19 – 20

Merit:           15 – 18

Pass:            11 – 14

Fail               10 – 0

The training materials are free to access and in order to sit assessment, at no cost, you will need to hold active MRS Membership and active RAS accreditation.

The new EDI Module training materials can be found here. Assessment can be found here

Register of accredited recruiters and companies

Ways you can verify a recruiter:

  1. Check the RAS Accredited Recruiter Register here
  2. Ask for proof of Accreditation (everyone who has passed the RAS Assessment is provided with an Accreditation Certificate - PDF)
  3. Email MRS to verify – we can check in the system and confirm

The overall aim of the scheme is to improve the quality of qualitative recruitment by all parties throughout the qualitative recruitment supply-chain.

To qualify as an accredited recruiter candidates must pass an online assessment. For companies, accreditation of an organisation is External and In-House.

Accredited recruiters:
Accredited Recruiter Register


RAS-accredited companies:

There are two types of RAS Company Accreditation.

Organisations which undertake in-house recruitment only will achieve RAS Accreditation (In-house) once 50% or more of the organisations’ staff undertaking recruitment have successfully achieved accreditation. RAS Accreditation (In-house) will also apply to those organisations that have met the 50% staff requirement and have yet to achieve the criteria for External RAS Company accreditation.

For those organisations that use the services of external freelance recruiters RAS Accreditation (External) will be given once 50% or more of all in-house staff undertaking recruitment are RAS Accredited Recruiters and at least 50% of all external recruiters (such as independent recruiters) that are used by the organisation are RAS Accredited Recruiters.

RAS Accredited Company – External supersedes RAS Accredited Company – In House accreditation as External accreditation covers both the internal and external recruitment activities of the company.

External RAS Accredited Companies

Acumen Field Ltd
Ardent Fieldwork Ltd
Beam Fieldwork & Give Opinions
Beaufort Research
Criteria Fieldwork Ltd
Dig Fieldcraft Ltd
DJS Research Ltd
Face Facts Research
Feedback Market Research
Field Solutions Market Research

Firefish Ltd
First for Fieldwork
Further Afield Ltd
iThoughts ltd
Launchpad Research Ltd
Leftfield Associates
M3 Global Research
Perspective Research Services Ltd
Plus Four Market Research Ltd
Pook Fieldwork
QRS Market Research
Roots Research
Scout Field Experts

Taylor McKenzie Research & Marketing Ltd
The Schlesinger Group UK
Viewpoint Services

In-House RAS Accredited Companies

Across The Board Fieldwork
Acumen Healthcare
Brand Ignite
Bright Research & Co Ltd
Code 3 Research Ltd
ES Research
Field Mouse Research Ltd
Field Sauce Ltd
FieldworkHub Ltd

Gromotion Ltd.
Hawkins Research Ltd
Kwei Vision Research
LDA Research Ltd

MIS Group Intl. Ltd
Opinion Health

Paton Williamson Consultancy 

People for Research
Prevision Research Ltd
Research Opinions Ltd
Research Northwest
Research Today Limited
Ronin Internation Ltd
Saros Research Ltd
Serrula Research
Smart Connect Research Ltd
Trend Market Research Ltd



Recognising Quality Recruitment webinar supporting document: Acumen RAS Survey Results 2022

Lynne Chapman BA, CMRS, formerly a librarian, Lynne fell accidentally into group recruitment through a friend of hers as the role was, then as now, the world’s best-kept secret!

In 1984, at a training day run by QRS, she met Marilyn and for 32 years they worked as a team recruiting groups in Nottingham.

In 2013, Julie Fuller announced her idea for a Recruiter Accreditation scheme. Lynne volunteered to become involved; this eventually was taken over by the MRS and AQR and she has been on the working party from its inception. Lynne was the first independent recruiter to take the Recruiter Accreditation and managed to gain a Distinction.

In recognition of her work she was made a Certified Member by the MRS. Also a member of The Independent Consultants Group for many years, Lynne is a longstanding Committee member and runs their Knowledge Share events monthly.

Phyllis Macfarlane, FMRS has been involved in RAS pretty much from the beginning, when it was first brought to the MRS CPS Board. She has worked in market research throughout her career, managing GfK’s UK company from 2000-2009, then spending several years working on the GfK Verein’s University Cooperation Programme in Africa and Asia. During this time she was also twice Chair of the MRS, and served on the MRS Board, and could often be heard declaiming that ‘The future of research is qualitative!’
The main ‘drivers’ of her current work are improving data quality and education. Apart from the MRS her other interests are Better Statistics CIC, ESOMAR Foundation, the Archive of Market and Social Research (AMSR) and supporting small arts and education charities.

Rachael Penny has been a board member of The Association of Qualitative Research (AQR) since 2018 and involved with RAS since around 2020. She has helped with the development of the new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion module for the accreditation scheme and been involved in delivering RAS webinars on topics such as using social media and online methods for market research recruitment.

Rachael is a Director at Criteria Fieldwork where she has worked since 2007. Criteria is a dedicated qualitative UK fieldwork service provider, recruiting participants to take part in research covering all qual methodologies and sectors. Rachael is responsible for a team of project managers as well as account management. She regularly works on Government related research involving recruitment of a broad range of people, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds and more vulnerable participants such as individuals with health conditions and accessibility needs.

Penny Steele, FMRS is the Managing Director of Steele Fieldworks Ltd, a Qualitative recruitment agency Steele Fieldworks is an MRS Company Partner.

She has over 35 years’ experience of qualitative recruitment project management. Penny is the current Chairman of the IQCS Council and has responsibility for minimum fieldwork standards and their annual Quality Awards. She has held this role since 2005. Penny is also the IQCS representative on the Market Research Quality Standards Advisory Board and its role is to develop and maintain minimum standards for market, social and opinion research, data collection and data processing in the UK.

Penny has been involved with the MRS/AQR Recruiter Accreditation Scheme Working Party since it was set up and is personally accredited under the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme.

Since the first Operational Awards in 2015, Penny has chaired the MRS Operations Awards Judging panel. Previously, Penny has served on the AQR Committee, the MRS Accredited Interviewer Training Scheme and the Respondent Interviewer Interface committee.

Debrah is responsible for all MRS operations and leads the Society’s standards, policy and public affairs activities. Debrah graduated from Southampton University in the early 90’s with an honours degree in Geography.
She first worked in accountancy and then moved to the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) in 1994. After working in auditing and compliance for ABC, she joined the management of MRS in 1999 to establish a new Standards and Policy department.
Debrah is the co-author (with Peter Jackson) of the book, Quality in Market Research: from Theory to Practice and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Samantha has worked at MRS since 1991 in a variety of roles and Departments, including Conference & Events, Training and Qualifications.

She is now responsible for the delivery of all detailed operational and service development relating to both individual membership and MRS qualification programmes


As the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme enters its fourth year, Lisa Dixon at Taylor McKenzie reflects on the importance of only using RAS Accredited recruiters, and on how compliance with the scheme enables Taylor McKenzie to maintain high recruitment standards and build productive and successful working relationships:

At Taylor McKenzie our fieldwork team run over 400 projects a year. We organise research all over the world, with the majority of our projects happening in the UK.

When organising a project one of the first questions we ask is … Where would you like the participants to be from? When locations have been selected, we can choose an experienced local recruiter to help us find reliable, interesting & representative people to take part in the research.

Our great relationships with local recruiters are key to the success of our projects, a good recruiter is worth their weight in gold and we know the best in the industry. It all sounds pretty straightforward… But there can be occasions when, for example, the location is very rural, and not covered by anyone we know, or our trusted recruiter is on holiday or just too busy to help.

Using someone new at this point can be an exceptionally stressful process, with a tight turnaround time on most projects you might not be able to go through a full reference process and this is where RAS accreditation really comes into its own. With RAS you know that the recruiter will be striving to maintain high standards across their work, it’s a fantastic ‘shortcut’ for us and helps provide the starting point for a great new working relationship.

RAS ensures that all market research recruiters are working to the same high standards, as well as being up to date on the latest data protection guidelines, and the MRS code of conduct. The list of RAS accredited recruiters is easily accessible on the MRS website and it makes building new working relationships with recruiters a much more relaxing process.

Great research needs great participants and RAS accreditation is really starting to play an important and meaningful role in the industry. The accreditation allows our team at Taylor McKenzie Fieldwork to focus on making every project as straightforward as possible for everyone involved.

Lisa Dixon, Director, Taylor McKenzie Fieldwork
Taylor McKenzie are an External RAS Accredited Companies who use individual RAS Accredited Recruiters for their projects as part of compliance to the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme. You can find RAS Accredited Recruiters listed on our register here. You can find out more on compliance to the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme in our most recent webinar.


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