Malpractice and Maladministration Policy

Introduction

This policy has been created to enable FDE Training, known as ‘The Company ’, within this document, to establish, maintain and comply with Awarding Body criteria and conditions, but also to allow effective detection, reporting and investigation into any malpractice or maladministration.

Scope

This policy is aimed at

  • Learners who are registered on or have taken The Company’s approved qualifications or units.
  • The Company staff and consultants involved in the development, delivery and award of The Company qualifications and accredited courses

It sets out the steps The Company’s learners, or other personnel will follow when reporting suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration and The Company’s responsibilities in dealing with such cases. It also sets out the steps to follow when reviewing the cases.

Responsibilities

Centre’s responsibility

It is important that at induction and update training the staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of The Company qualifications and accredited courses are fully informed of the contents of the policy. It is also imperative that Learners understand and are aware of the contents of this policy.

Review and amendments

When occurrences of malpractice or maladministration are identified internal processes and procedures will be reviewed and amended as appropriate on the outcome of the investigation, to ensure that the occurrence is not repeated.

The Policy will be reviewed annually and revised as and when necessary, in response to centre and learner feedback, changes in our practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external awarding Bodies or changes in legislation.

Policy Statement

The Company DOES NOT tolerate any forms of malpractice or maladministration, including plagiarism and seeks to ensure the avoidance in every aspect of the assessment process, to undertake careful review of any reports of malpractice /maladministration and to take robust action to resolve any proven cases.

This policy covers malpractice by learners, centre staff or others involved in the provision and assessment of a qualification or its units, and maladministration on the part of The Company or any other party involved in the assessment process.

The Company will conduct a full investigation into any instances of alleged or suspected malpractice and will take such action with respect to the individuals concerned as seems to it to be necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the qualifications concerned and to safeguard the interests of learners.

In all matters related to malpractice, The Company will act fairly and without prejudice to all parties involved.

Definition

Malpractice

 Is essentially defined as “The act or an instance of improper or unethical practice” i.e., the deliberate falsification of records in order to obtain certificates. Any deliberate activity, neglect, default or other practice that attempts or may compromise the integrity or validity of the assessment process or certification process will be defined as malpractice.

The following are examples of malpractice by Company staff. The list is not exhaustive and other instances of malpractice may be considered by The Company at their discretion:

  • Falsifying, altering or amending any documents or materials issued by the Awarding Body
  • Manufacturing, producing and/or issuing any documents or materials which purport to be official documents
  • Intentionally registering a Learner under a false name and/or date of birth
  • Replacing a Learner genuinely registered by another person who is not that Learner
  • Deliberately harassing a Learner during or immediately before an examination
  • Claiming certificates for Learners that have not personally completed the course and passed assessment criteria
  • Claiming funding for Learners that do not exist
  • Impersonating a learner
  • Failing to keep any Awarding Body mark schemes secure
  • Alteration of any Awarding Body mark schemes
  • Alteration of Awarding Body assessment and grading criteria
  • Assisting learners in the production of work for assessment, where the support has the potential to influence the outcomes of assessment, for example where the assistance involves Centre staff producing work for the learner
  • Producing falsified witness statements, for example for evidence the learner has not generated
  • Allowing evidence, which is known by the staff member or learner, not to be the learner’s own, to be

Included in a learner’s assignment/task/portfolio/ coursework facilitating and allowing impersonation

  • Misusing the conditions for special learner requirements, for example where learners are permitted support, such as an amanuensis, this is permissible up to the point where the support has the potential to influence the outcome of the assessment
  • Failing to keep learner computer files secure
  • Falsifying records/certificates, for example by alteration, substitution, or by fraud
  • Fraudulent certificate claims, that is claiming for a certificate prior to the learner completing all the requirements of assessment
  • Failing to keep assessment/examination/test papers secure prior to the assessment/examination/test
  • Obtaining unauthorised access to assessment/examination/test material prior to an

Assessment / Examination / Test.

  • Failure by any responsible person to ensure that Learners receive any official documents

Or materials issued by the Centre in respect of examination results in a timely manner; or

Withholding such documents or materials without good reason

  • For the purpose of this policy this term also covers misconduct.

The following are examples of malpractice by learners

  • Falsifying, altering or amending any documents or materials issued by the Awarding Body
  • Manufacturing, producing and/or issuing any documents or materials which purport to be official documents

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as ‘taking someone else’s work or ideas and trying to pass them off as your own’.  This can take various forms, including, but not limited to:

  • Including part of someone else’s work in your won without using quotation marks and identifying the source, this includes cutting and pasting information from the Internet.
  • Copying, rewording or summarising someone else’s work and including it as your own without acknowledging the source.
  • Not labelling diagrams/illustrations that you have used

Collusion

Collusion involves two people working together on a task that should have been done by the learner alone, this could be;

  • Two learners working together on their respective task.
  • A line manager acting as a mentor for a learner working towards their qualification
  • The assessor providing too much support and disempowering the learner.

While we absolutely encourage the excellent support that the learners can give to each other and the crucial support that the learners get from their line manager, there is a very definite difference between providing support and disempowering the learner.

Maladministration

Is essentially defined as “To administer or manage inefficiently or dishonestly.” Any activity, neglect or default or other practice that results in the non-compliance of the specified requirements for delivery of the qualifications as set out in the relevant codes of practice.

The following are examples of maladministration by Centre staff. The list is not exhaustive and other instances may be considered by The Company at their discretion:

  • Delay
  • Incorrect action or failure to take any action
  • Failure to follow procedures or the law
  • Misleading or inaccurate statements
  • Maladministration is any inefficient, incorrect or improper instance of managing, administering or co-ordinating procedures or systems which leads to an outcome other than that which was desired, and which (in the context of this policy) affects or undermines the integrity of any assessment or qualification.
  • Entering incorrect details on a database or records system errors in recording and / or transmitting data
  • Sending information, documents and / or materials to a person other than the intended recipient

Prevention

The Company will take all available and reasonable steps to prevent the occurrences of malpractice and maladministration through the effective detection of irregularities and the reporting and investigation into any instances.

These steps include:

  • Learners will undergo an induction which will inform learners of The Company policy on malpractice and the penalties for attempted and actual incidents of malpractice, and they will be provided with a copy of the policy in the learner handbook.
  • Showing learners, the appropriate formats to record cited texts and other materials or information sources including websites. Learners should not be discouraged from conducting research; indeed, evidence of relevant research often contributes to the achievement; however, the submitted work must show evidence that the learner has interpreted and synthesised appropriate information and has acknowledged any sources used.

Reporting

Anybody who identifies or is made aware of suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration at any time must immediately report their findings to The Company where the Director will promptly take any steps which seem to him/her to be appropriate to prevent any adverse effect to which the suspected malpractice / maladministration may give rise and where any such Adverse Effect occurs, mitigate it as far as possible and correct it. At this stage the Director will inform ECITB of the incident and keep them informed of the progress accordingly.

In doing so they should put them in writing/email and enclose supporting evidence with the form including (where relevant):

  • Centre’s name, address and number.
    • Learner’s name.
    • Title and number of the qualification / accredited course affected, or nature of the service affected.
    • Date(s) suspected or actual malpractice occurred.
    • Full nature of the suspected or actual malpractice.
    • Written statements from those involved in the case e.g., witness statements.
    • Date of the report and the informant’s name, position and signature.
  • If malpractice is discovered by an Awarding Body representative (e.g., EV, EE, examiner, moderator, etc.) or has been reported directly to the Awarding Body by a third party, the relevant Awarding Body will investigate taking into account the nature of the malpractice allegation. Such an investigation will require the full support of the Managing Director and all personnel linked to the allegation.
  • Where it appears that the suspected malpractice / maladministration may involve another Awarding Organisation, the Director will inform that Awarding Organisation as appropriate.
  • In suspected cases of malpractice that involve an Awarding Body representative (e.g., EV, EE, etc); the relevant Awarding Body will investigate appropriate to the nature of the allegation.
  • For accredited courses and NVQ qualifications, any alleged incident of malpractice brought

To the awarding body’s attention after the issue of certificates will result in a full investigation by the awarding body. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, certificates may be recalled and declared invalid.

  • Where the suspected malpractice / maladministration involves the awarding of regulated

Qualifications, the regulatory authorities will be informed as appropriate and according to any such requirements laid down by them. Due regard will be given to any requests or directives issued by the regulatory authorities to carry out courses of action in relation to any case of suspected malpractice / maladministration.

  • Where in the opinion of the Director the case of suspected malpractice / maladministration is such as to suggest that a criminal act may have been committed, the appropriate law enforcement agencies will be informed, and due procedures followed as required by those agencies.
  • We must investigate all cases of maladministration in liaison with the parties concerned. If an investigation results in evidence of maladministration, we will unfortunately have to impose the appropriate sanction and take the necessary steps to ensure that the learners’ interests are protected as far as is reasonably possible. This may include making arrangements for re-assessment or certification, as appropriate.

Dealing with malpractice and maladministration

  • It is the responsibility of the Director to carry out an investigation into allegations of malpractice. Investigations into alleged malpractice against the Director will be carried out by an appointed nominee. The alleged incident must be reported to the Awarding Body at the earliest opportunity.
  • The Company will ensure that staff leading the investigation are independent of the staff/learners/function being investigated.
  • In all cases The Company will protect the identity of the ‘informant’ as required.
  • The Company personnel who have had previous involvement in the matter do not participate in the review process.
  • The Company aims to action and resolve all stages of the investigation within 20 working days of receipt of the allegation. Please note that in some cases the investigation may take longer; for example, if a centre visit is required. In such instances, we’ll advise all parties concerned of the likely revised timescale.
  • The investigation may involve:
    • A request for further information from The Company or The Company’s personnel.
    • Interviews (face to face or by telephone) with personnel involved in the investigation.
  • If The Company discovers or suspects anyone of malpractice, The Company must make the individual fully aware (preferably in writing) at the earliest opportunity of the nature of the alleged malpractice and of the possible consequences should malpractice be proven
  • If The Company is alleging an individual may have been involved in act of malpractice, must give the individual the opportunity to respond (preferably in writing) to the allegations made.  must also inform such individuals of the avenues for appealing should a judgment be made against them.
  • Assessors/Trainers will be investigated according to the procedures laid down in the Awarding Bodies Code of Conduct / Terms and Conditions.
  • Employees of will be investigated according to the disciplinary procedures laid down in the Employee Handbook.
  • Failure on the part of any person connected with (whether Applicant, Trainer, Examiner, Employee, etc.) to co-operate with any investigation into malpractice or maladministration may lead to appropriate action being taken against that person.

It may be necessary during this process to notify the funding authorities and for the Awarding Body to share information with other Awarding Bodies. The Awarding Body may have to notify the police in some cases of malpractice.

Outcomes

On conclusion of a malpractice / maladministration investigation, The Company will propose one or more of the following courses of action.

  • Trainers/Assessors/members of staff may be subject to disciplinary proceedings as per the Awarding Body Code of Conduct
  • Employees may have their contract suspended or terminated.
  • Contracted personnel found guilty of malpractice may have their Engagement revoked.
  • The Company reserves the right in all cases to publish the names of those found guilty of malpractice.
  • The Director will ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent the malpractice or maladministration from recurring.

Penalties and sanctions applied by Awarding Bodies

 Where malpractice against a Centre/member of staff/learner is proven, the awarding body will have to consider whether the integrity of its assessments/examinations/tests might be jeopardised if /member of staff/learner in question were to be involved in future assessments/examinations/tests.

Appeals

Appeals to against outcomes arising from malpractice need to be made only to the Director by learners and/or members of staff.

Individual members of Centre staff may appeal to the Awarding Body in respect of decisions taken against them personally.

Right of Appeal

Any appeal against the outcome of a malpractice investigation should be made according to The Company’s policy and procedures for complaints.

Stephen Forde

Managing Director

Issue Date: 05/01/2020                                           Review Date: 31/05/2023                                               Ref: FDE-POL-015