Definition of malpractice
- Malpractice is 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 and associated achievement.
- This policy 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 FIT Education and awarding organisations, 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 groups of learners.
Examples of malpractice
- The categories listed below are examples of centre and learner malpractice. Please note that these examples are not exhaustive and are only intended as guidance on our definition of malpractice:
Centre malpractice examples
- Failure to carry out internal assessment, internal moderation or internal verification in accordance with our requirements.
- Loss, theft of, or a breach of confidentiality in, any assessment materials.
- Collusion or permitting collusion in exams / assessments.
- Inappropriate assistance to learners by centre staff, such as unfairly helping a learner to pass a unit or qualification.
Learner malpractice examples
- The unauthorised use of inappropriate materials / equipment in assessment settings such as electronic / digital devices.
- Plagiarism by learners.
- Copying from another learner for formative or summative assessments.
- Impersonation - assuming the identity of another learner or having someone assume your identity during an assessment.
Definition of maladministration
- Maladministration is 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 FIT Education.
Examples of maladministration
- The categories listed below are examples of centre and learner Please note that these examples are not exhaustive and are only intended as guidance on our definition of malpractice:
Centre maladministration examples
- Persistent failure to adhere to our centre recognition and/or qualification requirements and/or associated actions assigned to the centre.
- Inaccurate claim for certificates.
- Failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/or forgery of evidence.
Learner maladministration examples
- Withholding of information, by deliberate act or omission from a learner which is required to assure acceptance onto a course.
- Failure to adhere to or to circumnavigate any policy or procedure as set out by FIT Education towards it learners and staff.
- Inaccurate completion of any FIT Education formal documentation.
Process for raising 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 Director at: firstname.lastname@example.org where the relevant malpractice/maladministration form shall be sent to you to complete for investigation.
- Upon receipt of a malpractice/maladministration form FIT Educations Director will acknowledge receipt within 2 working days and aim to resolve the allegation within 7 working days as per procedure below. However if this time scale is not achievable then an appropriate time scale shall be given.
- Following an investigation of the allegation, FIT Education will write to the informant with details of our investigation.
- If the area of malpractice or maladministration involves FIT Education then the informant may bypass us as a centre and report straight to the relevant awarding organisation, details of which can be received from a tutor/assessor or by email request; email@example.com
- All allegations must include (where possible):
- Centre’s name, address and
- Learner’s name and registration/learner number (If known).
- Centre personnel’s details (name, job role) if they are involved in the case.
- Details of the awarding organisation course/qualification or service affected.
- Nature of the suspected or actual malpractice and associated dates
- Details and outcome of any initial investigation carried out by FIT Education or external partners involved in the case, including any mitigating
- Where FIT Education has conducted an initial investigation prior to formally notifying the relevant awarding organisation, FIT Education will ensure that staff involved in the initial investigation are competent and have no personal interest in the outcome of the investigation.
- In all instances FIT Education will immediately notify the relevant awarding organisation if they suspect malpractice or maladministration has occurred as the awarding organisation 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 the relevant awarding organisation they will protect the identity of the ‘informant’ in accordance with their duty of confidentiality and/or any other legal
Confidentiality and whistle blowing
- It is the ‘informant’s’ right to declare if they wish to remain anonymous. However, it is always preferable to reveal your identity and contact details to FIT Education or the relevant awarding organisation, and if you are concerned about possible adverse consequences please inform FIT Education or the relevant awarding organisation, that you do not wish for us to divulge your identity. If it helps to reassure you on this point, FIT Education or the relevant awarding organisation, can confirm that we are not obliged (as recommended by the regulators) to disclose information If to do so would be a breach of confidentiality and/or any other legal duty.
- Whilst FIT Education and the relevant awarding organisation, are prepared to investigate issues which are reported anonymously FIT Education or the relevant awarding organisation, shall 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 we will investigate such complaints from whistle-blower in accordance with relevant whistle blowing legislation.
- To eradicate cases of malpractice / maladministration FIT Education will ensure:
- Staff will have clear roles and responsibilities.
- Learners are informed of their roles and responsibilities in terms of not doing anything that may be deemed a malpractice and jeopardise their potential achievements as set out in the learners code of conduct statement.
- All staff are aware of all policies and procedures and receive appropriate training.
- There is a documented internal Quality Assurance Policy 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.
- All assessment and internal verification activities are accurately recorded and carried out in accordance with the FIT Education internal quality assurance arrangements and in line with the FIT Education expectations as outlined in its qualification guides etc.
- All registration, assessment and certification records will be kept in a locked filing cabinet for up to 3 years after the learner has completed their course. Only authorised members of staff will have access to them, as in accordance with our Data Protection & Information Policy.
Malpractice / maladministration investigation procedure
- It is intended that the stages involve the following generic key activities; however, not all these may need to be implemented in every
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 and in accordance to this policy.
- FIT Educations Director will assign an investigating officer(s) and will stipulate and/or provide secure storage arrangements for all material associated with an investigation in case ofsubsequentlegal
- There may be occasions when a joint investigation occurs with the awarding organisation, with the roles of the two teams being clarified by the awarding organisation. FIT Education will ensure responsibility so that investigators are fully aware of the agreed roles and processes to follow during the
Stage 2 - Establishing the facts
- Investigators should review the evidence and associated documentation, including relevant awarding organisation guidance on the delivery of the qualifications and related quality assurance
- Issues to be determined are:
- What occurred (nature of malpractice/substance of the allegation)
- 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, FIT Education has taken
Stage 3 - Interviews
- Interviews should be thoroughly prepared, conducted appropriately and underpinned by clear records of the interviews.
- Interviews should include prepared questions and responses to questions which should be recorded.
- Interviewers may find it helpful to use the ‘PEACE’ technique:
- Plan and prepare
- Engage and explain
- Face-to-face interviews may be conducted by two people with one person primarily acting as the interviewer and the other as note-taker or if this is not possible an audio recording of the interview may be a suitable alternative.
- 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. Both parties should sign the account as a true record/reflection of what was discussed/stated/agreed.
Stage 4 - Other contacts
- In some cases, learners or employers may need to be contacted for facts and information. This may be done via face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, by post or 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. Again accounts should be signed for agreement with written records to be formatted as non-editable PDF.
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 FIT Education.
- 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 to be submitted to the Director of FIT Education for review to sign-off and to be shared with the awarding organisation and relevant parties.
Stage 8 - Actions
- Any resultant action plan is implemented and monitored appropriately and the relevant awarding organisation notified.
Publication and Communication
- This Malpractice & Maladministration Policy is published on Fit Educations website and upon request via email.
- The Policy is made available to all learners and staff from their induction period and is located within the relevant handbook.
- Comments or questions relating to the Malpractice & Maladministration Policy should be sent to the firstname.lastname@example.org