QP015 Malpractice and Maladministration Policy and Procedure

Policy and Procedures for dealing with alleged or suspected Malpractice

Part A

1. General Scope

This document covers malpractice and maladministration for all activities in our company’s capacity as an Accredited Training Provider.

It sets out our policy and procedures for responding to allegations of malpractice and maladministration and for action where the allegations are upheld. 

It replaces all previous policies and procedures as from the operative date in July 2018.

This document is for use by the following:

Users of the company, including learners, who are registered on any of our approved qualifications or units within or outside the UK and who are involved in suspected or actual malpractice or maladministration or suspect that it may have occurred;

Our Training Staff to enable them to deal with all malpractice and maladministration investigations in a consistent manner.

2. Regulatory authorities

Every attempt has been made to ensure that the provisions of this document are consistent with the requirements of the regulatory authorities. Where the requirements of the regulatory authority are amended and require changes to this document, such changes will be made as soon as practicable.

3. Definitions

The following definition shall apply:

a. Malpractice

For the purposes of this policy it is defined as:

any deliberate activity, act, neglect, default or other practice by an individual (learner, assessor, our company employee, or any other individual involved in providing a qualification), or by our company, which, deliberately or wilfully contravenes or ignores the requirements of the regulatory authorities or deliberately or wilfully subverts or compromises the integrity, validity or reliability of any assessment process and/or the validity of any certificates.

For the purposes of this policy it also includes some forms of misconduct and unnecessary discrimination or bias towards certain or groups of learners.

In order to identify what may constitute Malpractice our company sees the below examples of actions that may constitute malpractice.  These are examples and our Company reserves the right to consider as malpractice other actions not listed but falling under the general definitions above.

i) Learners

Dishonesty in presenting work for assessment, including:-

• Introduction of unauthorised material, instruments or devices into the assessment room.
• Plagiarism, including the copying of work of another learner.
• Collusion between two or more learners.
• Deliberate destruction of another learner’s work for assessment.
• Behaving in such a way as to undermine the integrity of the assessment for themselves or others.
• Acting in a disruptive manner during an assessment.

ii) Centre employees

• Unfair discrimination in assessment (for example, on the grounds of age, sex, ethnicity, marital status etc).
• Deliberate or wilful failure to assess, in accordance with the assessment criteria or other assessment requirements, the agreed timetable for assessment and certification.
• Assisting or prompting learners with the production of answers.
• Obtaining unauthorised access to assessment material prior to or after assessment.
• Failure to abide by the conditions of supervision designed to ensure the security of assessment.

iii) Centres

• Failure to provide appropriate facilities for the security of assessment and of assessment records.
• Failure to keep externally set assessment papers secure prior to or after assessment.
• Failure to keep learner, computer or other files secure.
• Failure to provide assessment records of learners to the Awarding Organisation (the AO) or any person acting on behalf of the AO.
• Failure to register learners with the AO such that learners are prevented from obtaining the units or qualifications that they are taking.
• Denial of access to premises, records, information, learners and staff to any authorised AO representative and/or the regulatory authorities.
• Failure to carry out internal assessment, internal moderation or internal verification in accordance with the AO’s requirements.
• Deliberate and persistent failure to adhere to the AO’s Learner registration and certification procedures.
• Deliberate and persistent failure to adhere to the AO’s centre recognition and/or qualification approval requirements or actions assigned to the centre.
• Deliberate failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. for certification claims and/or forgery of evidence.
• Fraudulent claim for certificates.
• Permitting the unauthorised use of inappropriate materials or equipment in assessment settings (e.g. mobile phones).
• Intentional withholding of information from the AO which is critical to maintaining the rigour of quality assurance and standards of qualifications.
• Collusion or permitting collusion in exams or assessments.
• Persistent instances of maladministration within the centre.
• Deliberate contravention by the centre and/or its learners of the assessment arrangements the AO specifies for its qualifications.
• A loss, theft of, or a breach of confidentiality in, any assessment materials.
• Plagiarism by learners or staff.
• Unauthorised amendment, copying or distributing of exam/assessment papers/materials.
• Inappropriate assistance to learners by centre staff (e.g. unfairly helping them to pass a unit or qualification. (See also Conflict of Interest Policy).
• Deliberate submission of false information to gain a qualification or unit.
• Deliberate failure to adhere to, or to circumvent, the requirements of Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy.
• Failure to comply with the AO requirements on conflict of interest in assessment.

iv) Any persons (including acts by those listed above or by members of the public)

• Threats or inducements to any person involved in the assessment process intended to influence the outcomes of assessment.

b. Maladministration

For the purposes of this policy this is defined as:

‘Any administrative acts, neglect, default or other practice by the company (or by their employees) which fails to comply with the requirements of the regulatory authorities or which otherwise acts to the detriment of the interests of a learner’.

In order to identify what might constitute Maladministration our company sees the below examples of actions that may constitute maladministration.  These are examples and our company reserves the right to consider as maladministration other actions not listed but falling under the general definition of maladministration.

• Administrative fault, such as making a mistake or not following rules or procedures.
• Failure to comply with the AO’s procedures for registering learners.
• Delay in registering learners.
• Unreasonable delay in responding to requests for information or other communications from the AO.
• Incorrect action or failure to take any action.
• Failure to provide information to the AO when reasonably requested to do so.
• Inadequate record-keeping.
• Failure to investigate.
• Misleading or inaccurate statements.
• Providing inaccurate advice to learners.

4. Investigation and actions

In accordance with the requirements of the regulatory authority, all allegations of malpractice or maladministration must be investigated and our company will give all necessary assistance to the investigation team in an effort to resolve it as soon as possible. 

5. Responsibility

Overall responsibility for this policy and procedures rests with the Director of our company.

Our company will take all reasonable steps to ensure that its staff involved in the management, assessment, administration and quality assurance of the AO, and its learners, are fully aware of the contents of the policy and that it has arrangements in place to prevent and investigate instances of malpractice and maladministration.  

Our company accepts that a failure to report suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration, or a failure to have in place effective arrangements to prevent such cases, may lead to sanctions being imposed on the centre under the AO’s Sanctions policy.

Our company accepts that its compliance with this policy and how it takes reasonable steps to prevent and/or investigate instances of malpractice and maladministration will be reviewed by the AO periodically through its centre monitoring arrangements.

6. Monitoring and Review

This policy may be updated in light of operational feedback to ensure our arrangements for dealing with suspected cases of malpractice and maladministration remain effective.

Part B           

Procedures to be followed in cases of alleged or suspected malpractice or maladministration

1. Terminology

In all cases, and in order to avoid prejudicial language, until an investigation has been completed and the allegation or suspicion proved, our company and the AO will use the terms ‘alleged malpractice or maladministration’ or ‘suspected malpractice or maladministration’, as appropriate to the circumstances, in relation to the case in question.

2. Allegations of malpractice or maladministration

Allegations may be made by any person having knowledge of the assessment process, including learners, assessors, centre employees, the AO’s employees, and members of the public.  Allegations should normally be made in writing.  Where an allegation is made orally, the receiver of the allegation should attempt to obtain written confirmation from the person making the allegation, but if this is not possible should nevertheless make a written record.  In such cases, some care will need to be taken in considering the case.

Allegations may be made to our company, its employees, or the AO.  Where they are made to our company or its employees, details will be immediately forwarded to the AO.  

Anybody who identifies or is made aware of suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration at any time must immediately notify the AO.  In doing so they should normally put them in writing (which may include email) and enclose appropriate supporting evidence.

All allegations referred to the AO will include (where possible):

• Learner’s name and AO Registration number (where relevant).
• Details of the course or qualification affected or nature of the service affected.
• Nature of the suspected or actual malpractice and associated dates.
• Details and outcome of any initial investigation carried out by our company or anybody else involved in the case, including any mitigating circumstances.

In all cases of suspected malpractice and maladministration reported to the AO it will protect the identity of the ‘informant’ in accordance with its duty of confidentiality and/or any other legal duty.

3. Alleged or suspected malpractice by learners

a. Initial response

Where our company suspects a learner of malpractice or receives an allegation that a learner has committed malpractice, it will inform the AO immediately in writing.  

b. Procedures

Where our company conducts a preliminary investigation prior to formally notifying the AO, it will ensure that staff involved in the initial investigation are competent and have no personal interest in the outcome of the investigation.  However, in all instances our company will immediately notify the AO if it suspects that learner malpractice has occurred as the AO has a responsibility to the regulatory authorities to ensure that all investigations are carried out rigorously and effectively.

In conducting any preliminary investigation our company will undertake the following actions:

• Inform the learner in writing at the earliest opportunity of the nature of the alleged or suspected malpractice, of the procedures that will be followed, and the possible penalties if malpractice is proved
• Undertake an investigation of the allegation or suspicion
• Provide the learner with an opportunity to contest or refute the allegation or suspicion, either in writing, or at a hearing, or both
• Allow the learner to be accompanied by a friend at any hearing
• Make a decision based on the investigation and hearing
• Ensure that the person or persons conducting the investigation, any hearing, and making any decision are not the same as the person making the allegation or raising the suspicion, have sufficient professional standing and authority, and, if necessary have appropriate subject knowledge.
• Inform the AO if it is unable to meet the above requirements and seek advice on how to meet the requirements, if necessary by the involvement of persons external to the centre
• Inform the learner of the outcome in writing
• Where malpractice is proved, immediately inform the AO in writing
• Keep a full case record and make available such a record to the AO.

4. Alleged or suspected malpractice or maladministration by centre employees


a. Initial response

Where a centre employee is suspected of malpractice, or maladministration or is alleged (whether by another employee of the centre, a learner or a member of the public) to have committed malpractice or maladministration, our company will immediately inform the in writing.  

b. Centre investigation

Upon receipt of an allegation or suspicion, our company, as the employer of the employee concerned will:

Conduct an investigation:-

• to determine the outcome;
• to determine the appropriate penalty;
• to comply with the centre’s own employment and disciplinary procedures;
• to comply with appropriate employment legislation.

In conducting the investigation, our company will seek the advice of the AO and should consider any evidence that the may provide.  Subject to agreement between our company and the it may be considered appropriate for an AO member of staff to give evidence at any hearing called as part of the investigation.

Where the malpractice or maladministration appears to involve a criminal offence, our company and the AO should consult about whether it is appropriate for the centre to report the case to the police.

Notwithstanding the outcome of the investigation by our company into the actions of its employee, our company accepts that the AO have the right to undertake an investigation of our company, as the employer of the person concerned, in order fully to discharge the responsibilities to the regulatory authorities.  

Steven Morrison
Proactive Training Scotland Ltd.