COMPLAINTS POLICY

INTRODUCTION

This document sets out the FDE Training Services complaints policy and procedures and is aimed at our centres, learners and all interested parties who encounter a direct or indirect service from the awarding body.

Awarding Bodies value all the centres delivering our qualifications and the learners who undertake them and our aim every day is to meet or exceed the expectations of our customers.

We are confident of providing a high-quality service and would be extremely disappointed if this is not the case.

Therefore, it is important that, should you feel you have encountered a level of service that is below both your and our expectations you raise any concerns you may have with us immediately so that we may address them and learn any lessons from them.

SCOPE

This policy covers the procedures for complaints that learners, members of the public or centres may wish to make in relation to the qualifications and associated services offered by the awarding bodies.

This complaints policy is not to be used to cover appeals in relation to final decisions made by awarding bodies. These areas are covered by our Appeals Policy. Should a complaint be submitted which is in fact an enquiry or an appeal we will respond to inform the relevant party that the issue is being considered, where appropriate, in accordance with the approach outlined in our Customer Service Statement and Appeals policy (contained within the ISO Management Manual).

If you are unhappy about the way an assessment has been delivered and conducted and you suspect malpractice or maladministration may have occurred, you should send your concern to us in accordance with the arrangements in our Malpractice and Maladministration Policy (contained within the ISO Management Manual).

CENTRES’ RESPONSIBILITY

Centres should take all reasonable steps to ensure that their staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications, and their learners, are aware of the contents of this policy and that our centre has a complaint handling procedure and appeals process in place to deal with complaints from learners about the services they receive from our centre. If an individual is unhappy about a service or activity being delivered by our centre, it must first go through the centre’s complaints process before bringing the matter to the attention of the awarding Body or exercising the right of further escalation as detailed within this policy.

REVIEW ARRANGEMENTS

We will review this policy and its associated procedures as part of our annual self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary, in response to customer, learner or regulatory feedback (e.g., to align with any appeals and complaints process established by the regulators) and any trends that may emerge in the subject matter of complaints received.

HOW SHOULD I COMPLAIN?

All our staff are trained to help our customers and they want to help, so you should first try to sort out any problem at the earliest opportunity by speaking to a member of our Customer Service staff.

If they cannot help or you wish to speak to someone else, you can ask to speak to their manager.

If this is not possible or if you are not satisfied with the help that has been provided, please send a written complaint, normally within one month of the event you are complaining about and address it to us at the contact details outlined at the end of this policy document.

Learners and/or members of the public who wish to complain about a level of service provided by the centre at which they have taken a qualification should have exhausted their centre’s own complaints process before bringing the complaint to the Awarding Body.  Learners can make the complaint directly to the awarding body however, in exceptional circumstances, where they feel there was a significant breach of procedures by the centre.

IF I COMPLAIN, WHAT DETAILS DO I HAVE TO GIVE?

When you contact us, please give us your full name and contact details including a daytime telephone number along with:

  • a full description of your complaint (including the subject matter and dates and times if known).
  • any names of the people you have dealt with so far.
  • copies of any papers or letters to do with the complaint.

COMPLAINTS BOUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION BY THE REGULATORS

Where the regulators notify us about failures that have been discovered in the assessment process or other activities of another awarding body, these will be reviewed in the same manner as other external complaints in accordance with the procedures below to ascertain if the same issue could affect the qualifications.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND WHISTLE BLOWING

Sometimes a complainant will wish to remain anonymous. However, it is always preferable to reveal your identity and contact details to us, and if you are concerned about possible adverse consequences, please inform us that you do not wish us to divulge your identity. If it helps to reassure you on this point, we can confirm that we are not obliged to disclose information if to do so would be a breach of confidentiality and/or any other legal duty.

While we are prepared to investigate issues which are reported to us anonymously and/or by whistle-blowers we shall always try to confirm an allegation by means of a separate investigation before taking up the matter with those to whom the complaint/allegation relates.

FDE Training Services defines whistle-blowers as being current or ex members of staff (both permanent and contracted) or third-party suppliers of a centre and/or current or previous learners who disclose information about malpractice/wrongdoing or the covering up of malpractice/wrongdoing.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY COMPLAINT?

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 2 working days, letting you know who is investigating your complaint.

We aim to investigate the complaint within 5 working days. If your complaint is more complex or involves people who are not available at the time, we may have to extend this. However, we will endeavour to resolve all complaints within a maximum of 20 working days. We may contact you within this period to seek further information or clarification (in some instances we may recommend a meeting).  At the end of the investigation, we shall write/email to inform you of our decision.

SUCCESSFUL COMPLAINTS AND/OR ISSUES BOUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION

If any part of your complaint is upheld, we will of course respond to the complainant accordingly and give due consideration to how we can improve our service and arrangements. We may, for example, review our procedures to assess the impact of the complaint on our qualification development, delivery or awarding arrangements and assessment process as relevant, or arrange for staff training.

In situations where a complaint has been successful, or where an investigation following notification from the regulators indicates a failure in our processes, we will give due consideration to the outcome and will take appropriate actions such as:

(a)      identify any other learner who has been affected by that failure.

(b)      correct, or where it cannot be corrected, mitigate as far as possible the effect of the failure; and

(c)      ensure that the failure does not recur in the future.

WHAT IF I AM NOT HAPPY WITH THE REPLY?

If you are dissatisfied with the decision, you may request a further review of the complaint. This request should be made, in writing, to the awarding body – SQA. Details for SQA awarding body can be obtained from the centre co-ordinator.

RIGHT OF FURTHER ESCALATION (ONLY APPLICABLE FOR CANDIDATES UNDERTAKING REGULATED QUALIFICATIONS (E.G. SVQ)

If for any reason you are not satisfied with the response from the awarding body or believe that you have either not been provided with or unable to be provided with a satisfactory response, you can escalate the complaint to the qualification regulator e.g., SQA Accreditation.  Details for Accreditation authority can be obtained from the centre co-ordinator.

Stephen Forde

Managing Director

Issue Date: 05/01/2020                                           Review Date: 31/05/2023                                               Ref: FDE-POL-007