This policy is aimed at our customers, including learners, who are delivering/registered on INDI Skills qualifications or units within or outside the UK and who are involved in suspected or actual malpractice/maladministration. It is also for use by our colleagues to ensure they deal with all malpractice and maladministration investigations in a consistent manner.
INDI Skills will review the policy annually as part of our annual self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary in response to customer and learner feedback, changes in our practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external agencies, changes in legislation, or trends identified from previous allegations.
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 INDI Skills; 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.
For the purpose of this policy this term also covers misconduct and forms of unnecessary discrimination or bias towards certain or groups of learners.
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 or payments within a centre (e.g. inappropriate learner records).
Examples of Malpractice and Maladministration
The categories listed below are examples of centre and learner malpractice and maladministration. Please note that these examples are not exhaustive:
- Denial of access to premises, records, information, learners and staff to any authorised AoFAQ representative and/or the regulatory authorities
- Failure to carry out internal assessment, internal quality assurance in accordance with our requirements
- Deliberate failure to adhere to awarding organisation learner registration and certification procedures
- Deliberate or persistent failure to continually adhere to awarding organisation centre recognition and/or qualification approval criteria or actions assigned
- Deliberate failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/or forgery of evidence
- Persistent instances of maladministration within the centre
- Fraudulent claim for certificates
- The unauthorised use of inappropriate materials/equipment in assessment settings (e.g. mobile phones)
- Intentional withholding of information from us which is critical to maintaining the rigour of quality assurance and standards of qualifications
- Collusion or permitting collusion in exams/assessments
- Learners still working towards qualification after certification claims have been made
- Contravention by centres and learners of the assessment arrangements specified for the qualifications
- A loss, theft of, or a breach of confidentiality in any assessment materials
- Plagiarism by learners/staff
- Copying from another candidate (including using ICT to do so)
- 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)
- Submission of false information to gain a qualification or unit
- Deliberate failure to adhere to, or to circumnavigate, the requirements of Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations 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 awarding organisation. In doing so they should put the details in writing/email and enclose appropriate supporting evidence.
All allegations must include (where possible):
- centre’s name, address and number
- learner’s name and unique registration number
- centre/personnel’s details (name, job role) if they are involved in the case
- details of the 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 INDI Skills or anybody else involved in the case, including any mitigating circumstances
INDI Skills, must note that in all instances the relevant awarding organisation must be immediately notified if they suspect malpractice or maladministration has occurred as we have a responsibility to the awarding organisation and relevant regulatory authorities to ensure that all investigations are carried out rigorously and effectively.
In all cases of suspected malpractice and maladministration reported, INDI Skills will protect the identity of the ‘informant’ in accordance with our duty of confidentiality and/or any other legal duty.