Please download the appropriate form by clicking below:

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[wptabtitle] ESFA Complaints Policy[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Introduction

This document sets out the ESFA complaints policy and procedure and is aimed at ESFA clients, including learners and all interested parties who are enrolled on or have taken a course or qualification or who encounter a direct or indirect service from ESFA.

Policy definitions

For clarity and to avoid confusion, the following definitions apply;

ESFA is the European Sports and Fitness Academy Limited, a Limited Company registered in England.

learners” are clients of ESFA undertaking training or attending an event or course at the ESFA Training facility in Spain.

ESFA staff” are persons employed on a full time or temporary basis, or contracted staff or service provider or training provider contracted by ESFA to tutor or provide any services to learners at the ESFA facility.

ESFA Management or Management” are the Directors of ESFA or persons employed or contracted to undertake a management role or service

regulatory authorities” includes any official regulatory body in Europe or the US such as OFQUAL or ACSM

certification body” are certification providers such as ACTIVE IQ or ACE.

ESFA Aim

ESFA strives to deliver a superior quality training experience to its clients and values the experiences of all  learners who undertake courses with ESFA.  ESFA’s aim is to exceed the expectations of all clients in everything we deliver.

 

ESFA is confident of providing a high quality service and would be extremely disappointed if this is not the

Case. Therefore, it is important that should anyone feel they have encountered a level of service that is below both theirs and ESFA’s expectations, their concerns are immediately raised so that they are immediately addressed and any necessary actions taken to rectify the reason for the complaint.

 

The Complaints Policy is also for use by ESFA staff to ensure they deal with all appeals in a consistent manner.

Scope

This policy covers complaints that learners, members of the public or ESFA staff may wish to make in relation to the courses, qualifications and associated services offered by ESFA.

 

It is not to be used to cover enquiries about services offered by ESFA or appeals in relation to decisions made by ESFA. These areas are covered by our Enquiries and Appeals Policy. Should a complaint be submitted which is in fact an enquiry or an appeal, the ESFA management will respond to inform the relevant party that the issue is being considered in accordance with the ESFA Enquiries and Appeals policy.

 

If the complaint is about the way an examination or assessment was delivered and conducted and it is suspected that malpractice may have occurred, then ESFA should be notified of the concern in accordance with the arrangements in the ESFA Malpractice Policy.

ESFA’s responsibility

ESFA will ensure through the staff induction process and ongoing staff training that all staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of delivering courses and issuing qualifications, and learners attending courses, are aware of the contents of the policy and that ESFA has a complaints handling procedure and appeals process in place to deal with complaints from learners about the services they receive from ESFA.

Review arrangements

ESFA will review the policy and its associated procedures annually as part of its 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.

 

To provide feedback or views please contact ESFA via the details provided at the end of this policy.

mpaints Policy

How to make a complaint

All ESFA staff and management have been trained to support its customers and they all like to help, so complainants should first try to sort out any problem at the earliest opportunity by speaking to the person who dealt with the complaint or problem initially.

 

If they cannot help or it is necessary to speak to someone else, the complainant should ask to speak to the Campus Director or Training manager.

 

If this is not possible, or if the complainant is not satisfied with the help provided by the manager, it will be necessary to send a written complaint, normally within one month of when the reason for complaint occurred, and address it to ESFA at the contact details outlined at the end of policy.

 

Learners and/or members of the public who wish to complain about a level of service provided by ESFA to a certification body should have exhausted ESFA’s own complaints process before bringing the complaint to the certification body. However, learners can make the complaint directly to the certification body in exceptional circumstances where they feel there was a significant breach by ESFA of its various procedures.

Required Details

The following information will be needed to deal efficiently with the complaint;

  • full name
  • course details
  • contact details including a daytime telephone and email address
  • a full description of the complaint (including the subject matter and dates and times if known);
  • any names of the people involved in or with the complaint so far
  • copies of any papers or letters connected with the complaint

Complaints through a certification body or regulatory authority

Where the complaint is made through a certification body or regulatory authority to notify ESFA about failures that have been discovered in the assessment process or other activities of another certification 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 ESFA training courses and procedures and the qualifications provided to learners.

Confidentiality and whistle blowing

Sometimes a complainant will wish to remain anonymous. However, it is always preferable if the complainant reveals their identity and provides contact details to ESFA, and if the concern is about possible adverse consequences then the complainant must inform ESFA that they do not wish for their identity to be divulged.

 

To reassure complainants on this point, ESFA can confirm that it is not obliged (as recommended by the regulatory authorities) to disclose information if to do so would be a breach of confidentiality and/or any other legal duty.

 

Whilst ESFA is prepared to investigate issues which are reported anonymously, ESFA will always try to confirm an allegation by means of a separate investigation before taking up the matter with those that the complaint/allegation relates. At all times ESFA will investigate such complaints from whistleblowers in accordance with relevant whistle blowing legislation.

What happens with the complaint?

ESFA will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 48 hours, letting the complainant know who is investigating their complaint and will make best endeavours to investigate the complaint within 5 working days. If the complaint is more complex, or involves people who are not available at the time, ESFA may extend this to 10 working days.  ESFA may contact the complainant within this period to seek further information or clarification (in some instances it might be necessary to recommend a meeting). At the end of the investigation ESFA will write/email to inform the complainant of the decision and appropriate action(s).

 

What happens if the complaint is upheld?

If any part of the complaint is upheld, ESFA will respond to the complainant accordingly, and give due consideration to how ESFA can improve its service and arrangements. For example, by reviewing ESFA procedures to assess the impact on its arrangements and assessment process (if relevant) or arranging for staff training. In extreme circumstances, internal disciplinary procedures may be exercised where the performance or behaviour of ESFA staff is deemed inappropriate.

 

In situations where a complaint has been successful, or where an investigation following notification from a certification body or regulatory authority indicates a failure in our processes, ESFA will give due consideration to the outcome and will, as appropriate, take 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 the complainant disagrees with the reply?

If the complainant disagrees with the decision the first point of call is the Campus Director.

If you are still unhappy with the decision taken by ESFA management in reviewing the complaint you can then take the matter through our appeal arrangements which are outlined in our Appeals Policy.

 

Contact ESFA

If you’ve any queries about the contents of the policy, please contact ESFA support team on:

 

Email us: info@esf-academy.com/new

In UK Telephone: + 44 (0) 203 468 2368

In Spain Telephone: +34 96 599 3274

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[wptabtitle] ESFA Equal Opportunities Policy[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Introduction

This policy is aimed at ESFA staff and learners, who are delivering/enrolled on or have taken an approved qualification from a certification body or unit at the ESFA training facility in Spain (or other training facilities used by ESFA from time to time to deliver training courses).

 

It sets out ESFA’s intention to deliver a service and range of qualifications that are fair, accessible and do not include any unnecessary barriers to entry.

 

Policy definitions

For clarity and to avoid confusion, the following definitions apply;

ESFA is the European Sports and Fitness Academy Limited, a Limited Company registered in England.

learners” are clients of ESFA undertaking training or attending an event or course at the ESFA Training facility in Spain.

ESFA staff” are persons employed on a full time or temporary basis, or contracted staff or service provider or training provider contracted by ESFA to tutor or provide any services to learners at the ESFA facility.

ESFA Management or Management” are the Directors of ESFA or persons employed or contracted to undertake a management role or service

regulatory authorities” includes any official regulatory body in Europe or the US such as OFQUAL or ACSM

certification body” are certification providers such as ACTIVE IQ or ACE

 

ESFA responsibility

ESFA will ensure through the staff induction process and ongoing staff training that all staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of ESFA, certification bodies issuing qualifications are aware of the contents of the policy.  ESFA will ensure that all learners are made aware of this policy and where to find it when they book a course as part of the course pack and again on the learners’ induction class.

Review arrangements

ESFA will review the policy annually and revise it as and when necessary in response to customer and learner feedback, changes in ESFA practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external agencies or changes in legislation both in the UK and Spain (Europe).

 

If you would like to provide feedback or your views please contact us via the details provided at the end of this policy.

 

Areas covered by the policy

ESFA Staff

ESFA commits to incorporating specific and appropriate duties in respect of implementing the equal opportunities policy into job descriptions and work objectives of all staff.

 

ESFA will provide equality training and guidance as appropriate to our staff; including as part of staffs’ induction training as well as further on-going courses as identified via our internal staff performance review arrangements.

 

Qualification Development

ESFA will ensure that there are no features in the delivery of courses and training that could disadvantage any groups of learners that share a particular characteristic or barriers to entry, other than those directly related to the purpose of the units or qualifications. The nature of any such features or barriers will be stated and the inclusion of the requirements that create the barrier justified in terms of why they are required for the particular unit and/or qualification.

 

ESFA Training Facility

ESFA will ensure its training facility enables learners to have equal access to training and assessment for qualifications irrespective of their sex, marital status, age, religion, colour, race, nationality, ethnic origin or disability. Assessment must similarly be undertaken without discrimination.

 

 

ESFA has in place a policy to ensure that such discrimination does not occur either directly, indirectly or as a result of pressure from other bodies. This policy applies to all satellite/associated venues and there are arrangements in place to monitor its application and effectiveness.

 

Equal opportunities and diversity policy

 

Where complaints relating to issues of inequality cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the training facility staff, learners will be made aware of their right to appeal to ESFA management via the arrangements outlined in our Enquiries and Appeals Policy.

 

Monitoring the success and relevance of ESFA arrangements

ESFA is committed to complying with all current and relevant legislation in the UK and Spain (Europe)  and, which at the time of writing includes, but is not limited to the Equality Act 2010 and Northern Ireland Equality Law.

 

As part of the learner registration and certification processes for qualifications and units ESFA may collect information on diversity, requests for special considerations, access arrangements and feedback from learners, facility staff, tutoring staff and other stakeholders.

 

All relevant issues identified that suggests that ESFA provision or services may have unnecessarily impacted on learners will be reported back to our Quality Assurance Director who will be responsible for ensuring that relevant staff introduce, as appropriate, amendments to provisions and/or services where necessary and in accordance with our documented procedures for developing and reviewing units and qualifications.

 

Details of ESFA ongoing reviews will be made available upon request and all policies and procedures can be downloaded from our web site: www.esf-academy.com/new.

 

Contact us

If you’ve any queries about the contents of the policy, please contact our support team on:

Email us: info@esf-academy.com/new

In UK Telephone: + 44 (0) 203 468 2368

In Spain Telephone: +34 96 599 3274

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[wptabtitle] ESFA Learner Appeal Policy[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Introduction

This policy is aimed at ESFA clients, including learners, who are enrolled on or have taken an Active IQ approved qualification or unit. It sets out the process you should follow when submitting appeals to us and the process we will follow when responding to appeals.

 

It is also for use by ESFA staff to ensure they deal with all appeals in a consistent manner.

 

Policy definitions

For clarity and to avoid confusion, the following definitions apply;

ESFA is the European Sports and Fitness Academy Limited, a Limited Company registered in England.

learners” are clients of ESFA undertaking training or attending an event or course at the ESFA Training facility in Spain.

ESFA staff” are persons employed on a full time or temporary basis, or contracted staff or service provider or training provider contracted by ESFA to tutor or provide any services to learners at the ESFA facility.

ESFA Management or Management” are the Directors of ESFA or persons employed or contracted to undertake a management role or service

regulatory authorities” includes any official regulatory body in Europe or the US such as OFQUAL or ACSM

certification body” are certification providers such as ACTIVE IQ or ACE.

ESFA’s Responsibility

ESFA will ensure through the staff induction process and ongoing staff training that all staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of ESFA, certification bodies issuing qualifications are aware of the contents of the policy.  ESFA will ensure that all learners are made aware of this policy and where to find it when they book a course as part of the course pack and again on the learners’ induction class. Learners will be also be advised of the appropriate certification body’s learners policies.

 

In addition, ESFA has internal appeal arrangements which learners can access if they wish to appeal against a decision taken by ESFA staff or management. If an individual wishes to appeal against a decision taken by an ESFA staff member, the learner must first of all go through the appeal process before bringing the matter to ESFA management, certification body or regulatory authority.

Review arrangements

ESFA will review the policy annually as part of ESFA self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary in response to ESFA staff and learner feedback or requests from, or good practice guidance issued by, the regulatory authorities (eg to align with any appeals and complaints process established by the regulatory authorities.).

 

If you would like to feedback any views please contact us via the details provided at the end of this policy.

Assessment Appeals to the Certification Body

In the event that a learner feels that an assessment is incorrect and ESFA procedures were not followed properly and fairly, then the learner may appeal to the appropriate certification body.

 

Certification Body assessment appeal fee

Active IQ will charge a nominal fee of £50 to cover the administration and personnel costs involved in investigating an appeal if the appeal is not upheld. In the case of group appeals, the fee per learner will be reduced, depending on the number of learners, and if the appeal is upheld, the fee waived. Where such appeals are partially upheld, the fee will be proportionately waived.

 

ACE may charge a nominal administration fee, details will be provided on request.

 

In the event that a certification body upholds a learner’s appeal, ESFA will pay all appeal costs and accept any decision made by the certification body with appeals related to learner assessment.

 

 

 

Areas covered by the policy

This policy covers:

  • Appeals from learners in relation to an assessment decision on the basis that ESFA did not apply procedures consistently or that procedures were not followed properly and fairly
  • Appeals from a learner in relation to an ESFA decision concerning a learner’s application to take a qualification for any certification body or additional module.
  • Appeals from learners concerning the contents of a learner’s course assessment report.
  • Appeals from learners relating to an ESFA decision to decline a learner’s request to make reasonable adjustments or give special considerations
  • Appeals from learners in relation to the application by ESFA of a sanction/action on a learner resulting from an investigation into bad behaviour such as disruptive behaviour, foul language, wilful damage or vandalism to property or decision to amend a learner/set of learners results following cheating or other forms of dishonesty obtaining satisfactory results
  • Appeals from learners relating to a decision made by ESFA following an investigation into a complaint about ESFA staff or the facilities.
  • Appeals from learners relating to a decision made by ESFA following an investigation into a complaint about a fellow learner or learners.
  • Appeals if it is believed that ESFA have not applied ESFA procedures consistently or those procedures were not followed properly, consistently and fairly.

 

Appeals policy

Process for raising an appeal

Learners have 20 working days from the date EFSA notified the learner of the decision he is appealing against in which to lodge an appeal against an ESFA decision – this includes assessment results; hence ESFA advises learners/staff to retain their course evidence until learners receive their results.

 

Anyone may appeal on behalf of learners with the written permission of the learner(s) concerned as grades/results can go down as well as up as a result of an investigation.

 

Learners who wish to appeal about their assessment results or about a related decision should either be supported by ESFA and should have exhausted the ESFA appeal process before appealing to a certification body.  In the latter case, the certification body will require evidence that the learner(s) has first appealed to ESFA. ESFA expect that learners will only appeal directly to the certification body in exceptional circumstances.

 

Learners should complete the Appeals form at the end of this policy, which is also available on ESFA website www.esf-academy.com/new or on request at the details stated in the ‘Contact us’ section of this policy.

 

Learners may also complete the Active IQ Appeals form which is available on Active IQ website www.activeiq.co.uk or on request at the details stated in the ‘Contact Active IQ’ section of this policy.

 

The appeal forms and process details for other certification bodies will be provided free of charge upon request by a learners wishing to lodge an appeal with other certification bodies.

 

Alternatively, you may submit to ESFA or the certification body your own report accompanied with documents and supporting evidence. Reports will require the following information:

  • ESFA facility name, address and contact details
  • ESFA registration number with the certification body
  • learner’s name and contact details
  • date(s) the learner received notification of an appeal decision
  • title and number of the Active IQ qualification affected or nature of service affected (if appropriate)
  • full nature of the appeal
  • contents and outcome of any investigation carried out by the learner or ESFA relating to the issue
  • date of the report and the appellant’s name, position and signature

 

Situations bought to ESFA attention by a certification body and other regulatory authorities

Where the certification body or regulators notify us of failures that have been discovered in the assessment process of another awarding organization, ESFA will review with the certification body or regulator whether or not a similar failure could affect ESFA own assessment, processes and arrangements.

 

Initial review of the dispute details

Wherever possible, ESFA will try to resolve disputes before they reach an appeal stage. ESFA will undertake an initial, informal assessment of all potential dispute information and write to the learner with details of ESFA decision. If ESFA is unable to resolve a dispute in this way the appeals process will be available for learners. In all instances we will ensure that the person carrying out this initial assessment will not have a personal interest in the dispute.

 

Formal appeal process

Upon receipt of all appeals, ESFA Quality Assurance Director will acknowledge receipt of the appeal within 48 hours and aim to respond fully to the appeal within 20 days. Please note that in some cases the review processes may take longer, for example, if a learner has returned home. In such instances, ESFA will contact all parties concerned to inform them of the likely revised timescale and determine best and most appropriate methods of communication between parties.

 

All appeal decisions will involve the following:

  • an individual from ESFA who has no personal interest in the decision being appealed
  • at least one decision maker who is not ESFA staff or be otherwise connected to ESFA organisation.
  • All individuals involved in the appeal decisions must have the relevant competence to make a decision in relation to the appeal.

 

Following the review of the appeal, ESFA will write to the appellant of details of ESFA decision to either:

  1. amend ESFA original decision in light of the new rationale/evidence being put forward which has been reviewed
  2. to confirm we stand by ESFA original decision and in doing so the rationale for this decision and request that you confirm, within 15 days, whether you now accept this decision or if wish to proceed to ESFA independent review appeals process.
  3. to confirm we stand by ESFA original decision and in doing so the rationale for this decision and request that you confirm, within 15 days, whether you now accept this decision or if wish to proceed to the certification body independent review appeals process.

 

Independent review appeals process

If you decided to proceed to the independent appeal stage we will arrange for an independent review to be carried out.

 

The independent reviewer must meet the following criteria:

  • they will not be ESFA staff or be otherwise connected to ESFA organisation.
  • they must have the relevant competence to make a decision in relation to the appeal and will not have a personal interest in the decision being appealed.

 

The Independent Reviewer will review all the evidence which took place in the above stages and review if ESFA procedures were applied fairly, appropriately and consistently in line with ESFA policy.

 

The independent review process may involve:

  • a discussion with the appellant or the learner and ESFA staff
  • a request for further information from the appellant, the learner or ESFA staff
  • a visit to the facility by authorised certification body personnel.

 

The Independent Reviewer’s decision is final in relation to how ESFA will consider such appeals and ESFA will advise the learner of outcome of the review within 20 days of receipt of the independent appeal. If the learner is still unhappy with the outcome at this stage they are entitled to raise the matter with the relevant qualification regulator.

 

 

Successful appeals and/or issues bought to ESFA attention by a certification body or regulatory body.

In situations where an appeal has been successful, or where an investigation following notification from a certification body or regulatory body indicates a failure in ESFA processes, ESFA will give due consideration to the outcome and will, as appropriate, take actions such as:

  • amend ESFA risk profile as appropriate
  • identify any other learners who have been affected correct or, where it cannot be corrected, mitigate as far as possible the effect of the failure (eg and amend the results for the learner(s) affected following an appropriate investigation)
  • review ESFA associated processes and policies to ensure that the ‘failure’ does not occur again or mitigate the situation as far as possible if the failure that occurred cannot be corrected.  ESFA will also cooperate with any follow-up investigations required by the certification body or regulatory body and if appropriate agree any remedial action with them.

 

Contact ESFA

If you’ve any queries about the contents of the policy, please contact ESFA support team on:

 

Email us: info@esf-academy.com/new

In UK Telephone: + 44 (0) 203 468 2368

In Spain Telephone: +34 96 599 3274

 

Contact Active IQ

If you wish to address any concerns with Active IQ, please contact Active IQ support team on:

E: info@activeiq.co.uk

T: +44(0)1480 467950

 

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[wptabtitle] ESFA Malpractice & Maladministration Policy[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Malpractice & Maladministration Guidance for Centres

Introduction

ESFA is committed to high standards and providing a quality experience to its clients.  To ensure ESFA works to the highest possible standards and to ensure that learners achieve the highest standards, ESFA has put in place procedures and policies to achieve this commitment.

Policy definitions

For clarity and to avoid confusion, the following definitions apply;

ESFA is the European Sports and Fitness Academy Limited, a Limited Company registered in England.

learners” are clients of ESFA undertaking training or attending an event or course at the ESFA Training facility in Spain.

ESFA staff” are persons employed on a full time or temporary basis, or contracted staff or service provider or training provider contracted by ESFA to tutor or provide any services to learners at the ESFA facility.

ESFA Management or Management” are the Directors of ESFA or persons employed or contracted to undertake a management role or service

regulatory authorities” includes any official regulatory body in Europe or the US such as OFQUAL or ACSM

certification body” are certification providers such as ACTIVE IQ or ACE.

ESFA has put in place procedures and policies to prevent and investigate malpractice and maladministration to address conditions set by regulatory authorities and certification bodies that enable ESFA to provide training courses.

 

ESFA recognises that it has a responsibility to ensure it has appropriate internal controls and audit trails.  Furthermore, ESFA accepts that these controls and audit trails should be made available for scrutiny by regulatory authorities and certification bodies if requested.

 

ESFA will ensure through the staff induction process and ongoing staff training that all staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of providing training and issuing qualifications are aware of the contents of the policy, and are fully aware of ESFA arrangements to prevent and investigate instances of malpractice and maladministration.

 

ESFA will ensure that all learners are made aware of this policy and are fully aware of ESFA arrangements to prevent and investigate instances of malpractice and maladministration.

Review arrangements

ESFA will review the policy annually as part of ESFA self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary in response to ESFA staff and learner feedback, changes in our practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external agencies, changes in legislation, or trends identified from previous allegations.

 

In addition, this policy may be updated in light of operational feedback to ensure ESFA procedures for dealing with suspected cases of malpractice and maladministration remain effective.

If you would like to feedback any views please contact us via the details provided at the end of this policy.

Process for making an allegation of malpractice or maladministration

Anybody who identifies or is made aware of suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration at any time must immediately notify the Campus Director or senior ESFA management. In doing so they should put them in writing/email and enclose appropriate supporting evidence.

All allegations must include (where possible):

 

  • learner’s name and learners student number
  • ESFA staff details (name, job role) if they are involved in the case
  • course code /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 the ESFA staff or anybody else involved in the case, including any mitigating circumstances

 

An ESFA Director who is competent and has no personal interest in the outcome of the investigation will conduct an initial investigation prior to formally notifying the certification body.

If the Director suspects malpractice or maladministration, in all instances ESFA will immediately notify the certification body they suspect malpractice or maladministration has occurred as the certification body has a responsibility to the regulatory authorities to ensure that all investigations are carried out rigorously and effectively.

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

 

Definition of Malpractice

Malpractice is essentially any activity or practice which deliberately contravenes regulations and compromises the integrity of the internal or external assessment process and/or the validity of certificates. It

covers any deliberate actions, neglect, default or other practice that compromises, or could compromise:

  • the assessment process;
  • the integrity of a regulated qualification;
  • the validity of a result or certificate;
  • the reputation and credibility of the certification body; or,
  • the qualification or the wider qualifications community.

 

Malpractice may include a range of issues from the failure to maintain appropriate records or systems, to the deliberate falsification of records in order to claim certificates.

Definition of Maladministration

Maladministration is essentially any activity or practice which results in non-compliance with administrative

regulations and requirements and includes the application of persistent mistakes or poor administration

within a centre (e.g. inappropriate learner records).

Examples of maladministration

The categories listed below are examples of training facility and learner maladministration. These examples are not exhaustive and are only intended as guidance on the definition of malpractice:

  • Persistent failure to adhere to the certification body learner registration and certification procedures.
  • Persistent failure to adhere to the certification body recognition and/or qualification requirements and/or associated actions assigned to ESFA
  • Late learner registrations (both infrequent and persistent) to the certification body
  • Unreasonable delays in responding to requests and/or communications from the certification body
  • Inaccurate claim for certificates
  • Failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/or forgery of evidence
  • Withholding of information, by deliberate act or omission, from the certification body which is required to assure the certification body of the ESFA’s ability to deliver qualifications appropriately
  • Misuse of the certification body logo and trademarks or misrepresentation of ESFA’s relationship with the certification body and/or its recognition and approval status with the certification body
  • Failure to adhere to, or to circumnavigate, the requirements of the certification body’s Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy.

Examples of malpractice

The categories listed below are examples of training facility and learner malpractice. These examples are not exhaustive and are only intended as guidance on the definition of malpractice:

  • Denial of access to premises, records, information, learners and staff to any authorised certification body representative and/or the regulatory authorities
  • Failure to carry out internal assessment, internal moderation or internal verification in accordance with the certification body requirements
  • Deliberate failure to adhere to the certification body learner registration and certification procedures.
  • Deliberate failure to continually adhere to the certification body training provider recognition and/or qualification approval requirements or actions assigned to ESFA
  • Deliberate failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/or forgery of evidence
  • Fraudulent claim(s) for certificates
  • The unauthorised use of inappropriate materials / equipment in assessment settings (e.g. mobile
  • phones)
  • Intentional withholding of information from the certification body which is critical to maintaining the rigour of quality assurance and standards of qualifications
  • Deliberate misuse of the certification body logo and trademarks or misrepresentation of ESFA’s relationship with the certification body and/or its recognition and approval status with the certification body
  • Collusion or permitting collusion in exams/assessments
  • Learners still working towards qualification after certification claims have been made
  • Persistent instances of maladministration within ESFA
  • Deliberate contravention by ESFA and/or its learners of the assessment arrangements the certification body specifies for its qualifications
  • A loss, theft of, or a breach of confidentiality in, any assessment materials
  • Plagiarism by learners/staff
  • Copying from another learner (including using ICT to do so).
  • Impersonation -assuming the identity of another learner or having someone assume your identity during an assessment.
  • Unauthorised amendment, copying or distributing of exam/assessment papers/materials
  • Inappropriate assistance to learners by ESFA staff (e.g. unfairly helping them to pass a unit or qualification)
  • Deliberate submission of false information to gain a qualification or unit
  • Deliberate failure to adhere to, or to circumnavigate, the requirements of our Reasonable Adjustments
  • and Special Considerations Policy.

ESFA’s responsibility for preventing malpractice and/or maladministration

ESFA has a responsibility to prevent instances of malpractice and maladministration, to establish and maintain, and at all times comply with, up-to-date written procedures for the investigation of suspected or alleged malpractice or maladministration.

To strengthening ESFA’s internal controls, the following procedures are in effect;

 

  • all staff are aware of ESFA policies and procedures and receive appropriate training/briefings on these
  • all staff have clear roles and responsibilities
  • there is a documented internal quality assurance procedure/methodology that is clearly in place and is subject to regular internal reviews
  • there are documented internal standardisation arrangements in place and evidence that these take place at least once a year (if not more)
  • learners are informed of their roles and responsibilities in terms of not doing anything that may be deemed malpractice and jeopardise their potential achievements
  • all assessment and internal verification activities are accurately recorded and carried out in accordance with their internal quality assurance arrangements and in line with ESFA expectations as outlined in the qualification guides, etc
  • all registration and certification records are subject to appropriate internal review before submission to ESFA

ESFA provides all staff with a manual that includes extracts from the regulatory authorities that may be relevant for some of the certification body qualifications and assessment arrangements. This can also be found within Appendix 1 at the end of this document.

 

 

Conducting a malpractice / maladministration investigation

ESFA will follow the following procedures to investigate instances of malpractice/maladministration. The stages involve generic key activities; however, not all these would be implemented in every case.

 

Stage 1: Briefing and record-keeping

Anyone involved in the conduct of an investigation should have a clear brief and understanding of their role.

All investigators must maintain an auditable record of every action during an investigation to demonstrate that they have acted appropriately.

The officer assigning the investigating officer(s) will stipulate and/or provide secure storage arrangements for all material associated with an investigation in case of subsequent legal challenge. There may be occasions when a joint investigation occurs with the certification body, with the roles of the two teams being clarified by the certification body.  It will be ESFA’s responsibility to ensure their investigators are fully aware of the agreed roles and processes to follow in the investigation.

 

Stage 2: Establishing the facts

Investigators should review the evidence and associated documentation, including relevant guidance from the certification body on the delivery of the qualifications and related quality assurance arrangements.

Issues to be determined:

  • what occurred (nature of malpractice/substance of the allegations)
  • why the incident occurred
  • who was involved in the incident
  • when it occurred
  • where it occurred – there may be more than one location
  • what action, if any, the ESFA has taken.

 

Stage 3: Interviews

Interviews should be thoroughly prepared, conducted appropriately and underpinned by clear records of the interviews. For example:

  1. Interviews should include prepared questions; responses should be recorded.
  2. Interviewers may find it helpful to use the ‘PEACE’ technique:
  • plan and prepare
  • engage and explain
  • account
  • closure
  • evaluation.

 

Face-to-face interviews should normally be conducted by two people with one person primarily acting as interviewer and the other as note-taker.

 

Those being interviewed should be informed that they may have another individual of their choosing present and that they do not have to answer questions. These arrangements aim to protect the rights of all individuals.

 

Stage 4: Other contacts

In some cases, learners or ESFA staff may need to be contacted for facts and information. This may be done via face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, by post or by email.

Whichever method is used, the investigator will have a set of prepared questions. The responses will be recorded in writing as part of confirmation of the evidence. Investigators should log the number of attempts made to contact an individual.

 

Stage 5: Documentary evidence

Wherever possible documentary evidence should be authenticated by reference to the author; this may include asking learners and others to confirm handwriting, dates and signatures.

 

Receipts should be given for any documentation removed from a centre.

 

Independent expert opinion may be obtained from subject specialists about a learner’s evidence and/or from a specialist organisation such as a forensic examiner, who may comment on the validity of documents.

 

Stage 6: Conclusions

Once the investigators have gathered and reviewed all relevant evidence, a decision is made on the outcome.

 

Stage 7: Reporting

A draft report is prepared and factual accuracy agreement obtained. The final report is submitted to the Internal Verifier for review and sign-off and shared with the certification body and relevant parties with ESFA.

 

Stage 8: Actions

Any resultant action plan is implemented and monitored appropriately and the certification body must then be notified.

 

Contact ESFA

For any queries about the contents of the policy, please contact ESFA support team on:

 

Email us: info@esf-academy.com/new

In UK Telephone: + 44 (0) 203 468 2368

In Spain Telephone: +34 96 599 3274

 

Contact Active IQ

To address any concerns with Active IQ, please contact Active IQ support team on:

E: info@activeiq.co.uk

T: +44(0)1480 467950

 

To to refer to Active IQ’s policy for Malpractice and Maladministration, please visit:

www.activeiq.co.uk/centres/guidance-for-centres

 

 

Appendix 1

 

The regulatory authority, OFQUAL recently published ‘a guide for teachers on authenticity’ and to assist centres in preventing plagiarism and cheating.

Active IQ has provided the following extracts that may be relevant for learners during examinations and submission of course work to successfully qualify for the certification body’s qualifications and certifications..

*Please note although the terminology is school/exam based the guidance equally applies to competence based qualifications, where students would be referred to as ‘learners’ and teachers referred to as ‘assessors’.

“Because teachers often ask students to work collaboratively this area can be confusing, and teachers should give students guidance about what is or is not acceptable in such circumstances”.

 

For example

  • students’ coursework should be in their own words unless they are quoting from a referenced source. If asked to explain what they mean by a certain phrase or paragraph they should be able to do so.
  • students should always acknowledge, by referencing, any words, ideas or concepts that were originally produced by another person and that they have incorporated into their work.
  • students should not let other people see their coursework. It is often considered good practice to share information. However in coursework this is not acceptable. It can lead to students being accused of collusion, which in turn could mean that students lose marks or have to undertake an additional piece of coursework. Even lending coursework to a friend, not knowing it may be copied, may also attract a penalty.
  • explain that there is nothing wrong with quoting from/paraphrasing other work but that they must credit such citation in an appropriate manner.

 

The following list is known examples of cheating:

  • buying a paper from an internet site (also known as an essay bank or a paper mill)
  • getting someone else to do the work for them
  • giving false information about a source used in coursework.

 

However students may not be aware that the following activities are also unacceptable and could be penalised:

  • copying sections of work from a friend
  • having a friend/family member dictate something to them (often this will occur because students know what they want to say but can’t find the words themselves)
  • copying and pasting from the internet without citing the source; copying directly from a textbook without citing the source
  • omitting quotation marks from quotations
  • paraphrasing without including reference to the source of the paraphrase.

 

Suggested ways to reduce plagiarism included:

  • asking students to provide an annotated bibliography. (Writing a sentence or two on how useful the source was can act as an aide memoire for students to cite where the information came from
  • make sure that the students know exactly what is required in their coursework. Teachers are able to provide general guidance on the drafting and development of coursework to students; however ‘detailed advice’ on possible improvements is not permitted.
  • where teachers have the ability to set a coursework task they change the topics/questions from year to year. This means that there is less likelihood that students will be able to ‘borrow’ an essay from someone who has already written on the same subject in previous years
  • students submit a signed declaration with any piece of assessed work proving that this work is their own.

 

 

  • internal verification where a teacher is also expected to verify that the student has produced authentic work  If a teacher is not confident that a piece of work is authentic they cannot sign the declaration of authenticity and the student will be awarded zero for the assessment. While teachers may sign the authenticity statement in good faith, awarding organisations may take action against an assessment centre if there is consistent evidence that work carried out by students is inauthentic.  Therefore it is essential that the teacher develops confidence in the authenticity of the student’s work prior to hand-in of the finished piece as it may be much more difficult to achieve this at the point of hand-in.

 

  • using the advanced search in a search engine and enclosing suspected phrases in quotation marks will ensure that the search engine returns pages with this particular sequence of words. Try to identify short phrases from the student’s work that you suspect may not be their own.

 

Areas to watch out for which may signal cheating:

  • where the writing style of a single piece of work varies this may indicate a student is using text from several different authors, each with their own unique writing style, without acknowledgement where a document exhibits a variety of different physical characteristics (such as changes in font styles and sizes, indentation and line spacing) this may also indicate that the work is not the student’s own and has been carelessly cut and pasted from a range of different sources without attribution.
  • it may look as if an introductory and/or concluding paragraph directly answers the question while in the main the body of the essay is made up of vague and unrelated waffle. If you are in any doubt, as in any case, ask the student about what they have written. If the work is their own then they should find it easy to justify their arguments, use of sources and their approach.

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