Maladministration and Malpractice Policy

Becky Adlington Training (BAT) is committed in its service provision to offer standards of the highest quality to all partners and stakeholders. Striving to continually achieve this benchmark assists in the maintenance of BAT quality assurance standards and ensures continued compliance with Ofqual’s General Conditions of Recognition.

Policy aim and purpose
The aim of this policy is to safeguard the integrity and credibility of BAT and Swim England Qualifications (SEQ) and RLSS (IQL) Qualifications to ensure the avoidance of malpractice and maladministration in every aspect of the delivery, development and assessment for those SEQ and IQL qualifications made available, or proposed to be made available, and provide a robust and transparent framework for the identification and management of malpractice and maladministration by:
• Establishing principles and standards to govern the actions of individuals connected to qualification assessment
• Establishing clear standards for dealing with malpractice and maladministration
• Reducing the possibility of malpractice and maladministration in every aspect of the qualification assessment
• Providing the means to identify and resolve malpractice and maladministration.
Definition of malpractice
Malpractice is defined as those deliberate or neglectful acts which undermine the integrity and validity of assessment, the certification of qualifications and/or compromise the credibility and authority of those responsible for conducting these processes. 
By way of example, these acts may include, but are not exhaustive of the following:
• Failure to adhere to SEQ/IQL qualification/centre eligibility criteria
• Denial of access to resources (premises, records, information, Learners and staff) by any authorised BAT, SEQ/IQL member of staff/representative and/or its qualification regulators, Ofqual
• Actions required by SEQ/IQL External Verifiers not being met within agreed timescales
• Failure to carry out delivery, internal assessment, internal moderation or internal verification in accordance with our own BAT requirements
• Failure to adhere to SEQ/IQL Learner registration and certification procedures
• Fraudulent claim for certificates
• Intentional withholding of information from SEQ or IQL which is critical to maintaining the rigor of quality assurance
• Forgery of evidence
• Plagiarism of any nature by Learners
• Breach of the assessment arrangements specified for SEQ or IQL accredited qualifications by BAT and Learners
• Breach of confidentiality
• Insecure storage of assessment materials 
• Unauthorised amendment, copying or distributing of pre completed assessment material
• Submission of false or inaccurate information to gain a qualification 
• Failure to adhere to the requirements of BAT and SEQ/IQL special considerations and reasonable adjustments policies. 
Definition of maladministration
Maladministration is defined as any activity or other practice which results in non-compliance with administrative regulations and requirements. By way of example, this may include, but is not exhaustive of the following:
• Bias
• Neglect
• Incompetence
• Rudeness
• Refusal to answer reasonable questions
• Knowingly giving advice which is misleading or inadequate
• Failure to monitor compliance with adequate procedures
• Disregard of guidance to be followed in the interest of equitable treatment
What sanctions may be applied
If malpractice or maladministration is proven by BAT, SEQ or IQL to have taken place by a Learner or BAT representative, the offender risks the application of sanction. See appendices for the types of malpractice that may incur the application of sanctions, individually or combined. In compliance with the General Conditions of Recognition, regulation B3.1 and the Regulatory Arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework, regulation 5.32, where any event has occurred or is likely to occur which could have an adverse effect and evidence is found that results or certificates may be invalid, the case will be reported to Ofqual.
Preventing malpractice and maladministration
BAT is required to have in place a policy that draws attention to and deals with the prevention, identification and management of malpractice or maladministration of SEQ and IQL qualifications. The procedures relating to centre approval and the delivery of SEQ and IQL regulated qualifications, coupled with quality assurance controls (External Verification and Centre Review), have been carefully designed to monitor a centre’s arrangements and their ability to competently deal with preventing and investigating any instances of malpractice or maladministration. Should BAT require assistance from SEQ or IQL at any time concerning how best to prevent, investigate, and deal with allegations of malpractice and maladministration, SEQ and IQL will provide support and advise as appropriate. 
To prevent and minimise the possibility of malpractice and maladministration occurring, SEQ has established a process, identified by three stages, for investigating alleged cases that have been raised.
BAT will utilise the same process for IQAL qualifications
• Stage 1: Notification of an alleged case of malpractice or maladministration
• Stage 2: Investigation of the allegation
• Stage 3: Management of confirmed cases of malpractice or maladministration.
On all occasions when information regarding an allegation is received by BAT, it will be treated as a potential case for malpractice or maladministration until an outcome has been derived by way of investigation. Where there are grounds to suspect malpractice or maladministration against BAT representative, that individual risks suspension of their duties and an investigation by BAT of professional misconduct. Where there are grounds to suspect malpractice or maladministration by BAT, the centre may be placed under sanction with the possibility of suspension in registrations and Learner certification, and if upheld, even removal of qualification and/or centre approval status. An investigation of professional misconduct may be conducted during which the issue of results will be suspended. Where there are grounds to suspect malpractice or maladministration against a Learner, that Learner risks failure of the unit(s), the invalidation of the qualification and an investigation of professional misconduct by BAT, during which the issue of results will be suspended.
Investigating and managing malpractice and maladministration
Stage 1: Notification of a suspected case of malpractice or maladministration
BAT representatives and Learners must be vigilant regarding the assessment of SEQ and IQL accredited qualifications when concerning malpractice or maladministration. BAT is responsible for any matters relating to the conduct of the Learner whilst undertaking the qualification. BAT will investigate the allegation in compliance with this published policy and procedure which is inclusive of:
• Investigation of the allegation of possible malpractice and/or maladministration
• Notification to the individual concerned, in writing, of the nature of the alleged malpractice and/or maladministration and of the possible consequences should the allegation be proven
• Provision of the opportunity for the individual concerned to respond, in writing, to the allegations made
• BAT must have a mechanism for handling an appeal against the decision and/or sanction (see appeals policy)
• Report all proven cases to SEQ or IQL at the earliest opportunity with details of the actions taken and the sanction applied.
Irregularities in internally assessed components of assessments discovered prior to the signing of declarations of authentication need not be reported to SEQ or IQL. BAT may instead decline to accept the work for assessment purposes. If an irregularity is discovered after the signing of declarations of authentication, full details of the case must be submitted to BAT at the earliest opportunity. The matter will then be treated as a formal case of suspected malpractice. Where there are reasonable grounds for suspected cases of malpractice or maladministration, BAT must be notified immediately. Notification of the suspected allegation must be submitted, in writing, through the Allegation Report Form (Appendix 5), accompanied by any supporting information for review. 
Information required for review is as follows:
• A detailed account of the circumstances surrounding the suspicions and allegations
• Details of any consequent actions/investigations carried out 
• Any extenuating circumstances (e.g. medical reports)
• Details of the procedure for informing staff/Learners of consequences of malpractice and maladministration
• Any unauthorised materials found during assessment
• Where applicable, statements signed and dated by any personnel involved (e.g. AC staff, Tutors/EV’s/IV’s
• Signed, dated statements by any Learner involved (where applicable).
Evidence, along with the completed Allegation Report Form (Appendix 5), should be sent by email to BAT’s key contact. 
Stage 2: Review and investigation of allegation
Once the Allegation Report Form (Appendix 5) has been received BAT will ensure all data required has been provided, acknowledge receipt (within 3 working days) and record the details within the Allegations Register. In all cases BAT will protect the identity of the ‘informant’ as required. Following this step, the Allegation Report Form (Appendix 5), along with any supporting information, will be provided to the key contact who will call upon an appropriately competent and unbiased review panel comprising of identified BAT personnel and, where appropriate, an independent member. 
The purpose of the review panel is to consider and assess all suspected cases and allegations of malpractice or maladministration, commence an effective investigation to establish whether or not the malpractice or maladministration suspicion or allegation has occurred, and take all reasonable steps to appropriately mitigate those cases of malpractice or maladministration identified. The review panel will provide feedback, appropriate action and resolve the investigation within 30 working days of receipt of the allegation. In some cases, the investigation may take longer; for example, if a Centre visit is required. In such instances, all concerned parties will be advised of the revised timescale. 
During the investigation, the review panel may:
• Request further information from the centre, BAT representative or Learner
• Conduct interviews (face to face or by telephone) with individuals involved in the investigation
• Arrange for a SEQ/IQL representative to carry out a Centre visit (Note: This will be chargeable with fees confirmed upon determination of the severity of the allegation).
Pending the outcome of the investigation, BAT and/or SEQ or IQL may:
• Refuse Learner registrations or entries
• Withhold the release of results or certificates
• Withhold assessment materials if the security of the assessment is considered compromised or at risk.
In serious cases of suspected or actual malpractice or maladministration, the local contact will be notified of the allegation under investigation and shall be instructed to conduct an investigation of the allegation in liaison with Centre personnel alongside the BAT investigations. Any party, directly or indirectly, connected to allegations are expected to fully cooperate with all pending investigations. If BAT representatives or Learners do not co-operate as required BAT will have no alternative but to permanently or temporarily remove satellite centre approval status, withdraw BAT representatives from their role or remove learners from the qualification. 
BAT reserves the right, at any time, during an investigation to suspend any claims for Learner certification submitted and also reserves the right to withhold a Learner’s result for the qualification(s) being pursued at the time of and during the investigation. Where applicable, BAT will inform SEQ and IQL of any investigation into allegations of serious malpractice or maladministration and will agree the appropriate course of remedial action with them. In exceptional cases, SEQ or IQL may take the lead in such investigations. In cases where certificates are deemed to be invalid, BAT will inform SEQ or IQL why they are invalid and any action to be taken for reassessment and/or certification. BAT will instruct satellite centres to notify those Learners affected of the action being taken with regards to malpractice or maladministration and that any certificates received concerning the investigation matter are invalid.
Stage 3: Management of confirmed cases of malpractice and maladministration
If the investigation confirms malpractice or maladministration has taken place, BAT will have to consider whether the integrity of its assessments and qualifications might be jeopardised and shall impose, proportionate to the severity and scope of the confirmed malpractice or maladministration, one or more sanctions, inclusive of, but not limited to, the following:
• Suspension of satellite centre status
• Suspension of approval to run a specific SE accredited qualification
• Suspension of Learner’s registration and/or certification service for one or more qualifications
• Increased level of internal verification sampling, as well as additional satellite centre review visits to invigilate or observe assessments
• Training for satellite centre staff and/or BAT representatives
• Informing any other awarding organisation associated with the satellite centre of the occurrence
• Disallowing all or part of the Learners internal assessment evidence
• Disallowing all or part of the Learners external assessment marks
• Not issuing the Learners certificate(s)
• Not accepting any further registrations for the affected Learner
• Disqualification of the Learner from the qualification.
The allegation will be recorded on the course incident tracker and will be monitored and reviewed in BAT monthly operations meetings. All confirmed cases of malpractice or maladministration will be reviewed through the centre review process. The process for investigating and managing malpractice or maladministration can be viewed in Appendix 4.
Failure to report malpractice and/or maladministration
In the event of failure to report suspected cases of malpractice or maladministration, withhold information and therefore impede a formal investigation, could result in the imposition of sanctions on satellite centres/BAT representatives or Learners. Failure to comply will prompt the withholding of results and in certain circumstances, certificates may become invalid and those already issued may be withdrawn as a result.
BAT has established procedures for satellite centres, BAT representatives and Learners who wish to consider appealing against penalties or sanctions resulting from malpractice or maladministration. Appeals against a decision made by BAT will only be accepted from the Key Contact (on behalf of the satellite centre or Learners) and from individual BAT representatives (in respect of a decision taken against them personally). Further information on appeals may be found in the Enquiries and Appeals Procedure.
Monitoring and review of the policy
This policy and its procedures will be reviewed annually, to ensure it remains fit for purpose and reflects the types of malpractice and maladministration that may arise, and how they are identified, prevented and managed.