What is Your Equal Opportunities Policy?
Duco Digital is committed to seeking equality of opportunity for all, irrespective of race, gender, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, age, class or disability. Duco Digital actively seeks to demonstrate this commitment by adopting policies, codes of practice and action plan to combat discrimination in any form. Staff and students are required to reflect their commitment to equality of opportunities and anti-discriminatory practices. Duco Digital will promote equality of opportunity for all students and staff by: o Demonstrating opposition to all forms of discrimination in every aspect of its operations o Identifying and removing practices and procedures which unfairly discriminate o Increasing awareness and positive attitudes at all levels in the organisation toward people experiencing discrimination o Creating a welcoming atmosphere for all students, staff and visitors o Monitoring all operations to ensure no form of discrimination or harassment is taking place o Provision will be made for Learners who require reasonable adjustments to be made by providing suitable assessment locations and technical aids where appropriate. Duco Digital is an equal opportunity employer and training provider and is committed to a policy of treating all its employees, job applicants and customers equally, irrespective of race, gender, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, age, class or disability. The Company will avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment and service delivery including recruitment and selection, promotion, transfer, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, other terms of employment, discipline, selection for redundancy and dismissal and training (service provision). It is the policy of the Company to take all reasonable steps to employ and promote employees on the basis of their abilities and qualifications without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sex and/or sexual orientation. In this policy, these are known as the ‘protected characteristics’. The Company will appoint, train, develop and promote on the basis of merit and ability alone. Employees have a duty to co-operate with the Company to ensure that this policy is effective to ensure equal opportunities and to prevent discrimination. Action under the Company’s disciplinary procedure will be taken against any employee who is found to have committed an act of improper or unlawful discrimination. Serious breaches of the equal opportunities policy will be treated as potential gross misconduct and could render the employee liable to summary dismissal. Employees should also bear in mind that they can be held personally liable for any act of unlawful discrimination. Employees must not harass, bully or intimidate other employees or customers for reasons related to one or more of the protected characteristics. Such behaviour will be treated as potential gross misconduct under the Company’s disciplinary procedure. Employees who commit serious acts of harassment may also be guilty of a criminal offence. The Company has a separate dignity at work policy which deals with these issues and sets out how complaints of this type will be dealt with. Employees should draw the attention of their line manager to suspected discriminatory acts or practices. Employees must not victimise or retaliate against an employee or customer who has made allegations or complaints of discrimination or who has provided information about such discrimination. Such behaviour will be treated as potential gross misconduct under the Company’s disciplinary procedure. Employees should support colleagues who suffer such treatment and are making a complaint. Direct discrimination Direct discrimination occurs when, because of one of the protected characteristics, a job applicant, employee or customer is treated less favourably than other job applicants, employees or customers are treated or would be treated. The treatment will still amount to direct discrimination even if it is based on the protected characteristic of a third party with whom the job applicant, employee or customer is associated and not on the job applicant’s, employee’s or customers own protected characteristic. In addition, it can include cases where it is perceived that a job applicant, employee or customer has a particular protected characteristic when in fact they do not. Discrimination after employment is also unlawful if it arises out of and is closely connected to the employment relationship, for example refusing to give a reference or providing an unfavourable reference for a reason related to one of the protected characteristics. The Company will take all reasonable steps to eliminate direct discrimination in all aspects of employment and service delivery. Indirect discrimination Indirect discrimination is the treatment that may be equal in the sense that it applies to all job applicants, employees or customers but which is discriminatory in its effect on, for example, one particular sex or racial group. Indirect discrimination occurs when there is applied to the job applicant, employee or customer a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) which is discriminatory in relation to a protected characteristic of the job applicant, employee or customer. A PCP is discriminatory in relation to a protected characteristic of the job applicant’s, employee’s or customer’s if: • It is applied, or would be applied, to persons with whom the job applicant, employee or customer does not share the protected characteristic, • The PCP puts, or would put, persons with whom the job applicant, employee or customer shares the protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage when compared with persons with whom the job applicant or employee does not share it, • It puts, or would put, the job applicant, employee or customer at that disadvantage, and • It cannot be shown by the Company to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The Company will take all reasonable steps to eliminate indirect discrimination in all aspects of employment and service provision. Victimisation Victimisation occurs when an employee or customer is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training opportunity or a promotion, because they have raised or supported a grievance or complaint of unlawful discrimination, or because they have issued employment tribunal proceedings for unlawful discrimination or they have given evidence in connection with unlawful discrimination proceedings brought by another employee. However, an employee or customer is not protected if they give false evidence or information or make a false allegation, and they do so in bad faith. Post-employment victimisation is also unlawful, for example refusing to give a reference or providing an unfavourable reference because the former employee has done one of the protected acts set out above. The Company will take all reasonable steps to eliminate victimisation in all aspects of employment and service provision. Sources of recruitment The recruitment process will be conducted in such a way as to result in the selection of the most suitable person for the job in respect of abilities and qualifications. The Company is committed to applying its equal opportunities policy at all stages of recruitment and selection. Advertisements Advertisements will aim to positively encourage applications from all suitably qualified people. When advertising job vacancies, to attract applications from all sections of the community, the Company will, as far as reasonably practicable: 1. Ensure advertisements are not confined to those areas or publications which would exclude or disproportionately reduce the numbers of applicants with a particular protected characteristic; 2. Avoid setting any unnecessary provisions or criteria which would exclude a higher proportion of people with a particular protected characteristic. Where vacancies may be filled by promotion or transfer, they will be published to all eligible employees in such a way that they do not restrict applications from employees with a particular protected characteristic. However, where, having regard to the nature and context of the work, having a particular protected characteristic is an occupational requirement and that occupational requirement is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, the Company will apply that requirement to the job role and this may, therefore, be specified in the advertisement. Selection methods The selection process will be carried out consistently for all jobs at all levels. The selection of new staff will be based on the job requirements and the individual's suitability and ability to do, or to train for, the job in question. Person specifications and job descriptions will be limited to those requirements that are necessary for the effective performance of the job. Candidates for employment, promotion or transfer will be assessed objectively against the requirements for the job. With disabled job applicants, the Company will have regard to its duty to make reasonable adjustments to work provisions, criteria or practices or to physical features of work premises or to provide auxiliary aids or services to ensure that the disabled person is not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled. Selection tests Any selection tests which are used will be limited to questions relating to the particular job and/or career requirements. The tests will measure the individual's actual or inherent ability to do or to train for the work or career. Thus, questions or exercises on matters which may be unfamiliar to applicants with a particular protected characteristic will not be included in the tests if they are unrelated to the requirements of the particular job. The tests which are used will be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they remain relevant and free from any unjustifiable bias, either in content or in the scoring mechanism.
Tell Me About Reasonable Adjustments
This policy relates directly to BCS (courses and examinations), so has been taken directly from BCS and adopted by Duco Digital for the purpose of such courses and examinations. For further info. please visit https://www.bcs.org. 1. Introduction BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT recognises that some candidates require alternative arrangements for their examinations. This may be the result of a disability, medical condition or for religious reasons. The majority of the document focuses on reasonable adjustments for candidates who have disabilities, but it also covers candidates who may require adjustments based on religious grounds or candidates whose first language is not English. The Equality Act 2010 (previously the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) aims to end discrimination which many disabled people face and it is now unlawful for Examination Institutes, among others, to discriminate against disabled people. It is recognised that our overseas partners may have other legal obligations in their particular country to ensure that there is no discrimination so it is expected that they will follow the applicable legislative and regulatory requirements in terms of disability. Examinations should be a fair test of an individual’s knowledge and what they are able to do. If someone has a disability or learning difficulty, the usual format of the examinations may not be suitable. Adjustments may need to be made for them. They allow an individual to show their ability and knowledge without being disadvantaged by the assessment format itself. This document provides information on who may be entitled to extra time and how to request it. We also hope that this document will increase an Accredited Training Organisation’s (ATO) knowledge and understanding about the Equality Act (or local equivalent), associated legislation such as the Data Protection Act (or local equivalent) and the opportunities that are available to accommodate candidates who may require reasonable adjustments when taking a Professional Certification with BCS. The information in this document can be used by our ATOs and candidates for guidance and we have endeavoured to ensure that the information is correct. 2. Reasonable Adjustments Policy Statement We seek to provide equal access to examinations for all candidates, ensuring that there are no unnecessary barriers and that any reasonable adjustments for candidates preserve the validity, reliability and integrity of the qualification. We will endeavour to accommodate the needs of candidates with a particular examination requirement, according to individual circumstances, ensuring such candidates are not disadvantaged in relation to other candidates and that certificates accurately reflect candidate attainment. We will give every consideration to requested extra time, ensuring that there are no unnecessary barriers to the examination and candidate attainment. However, all requests will be considered on the information received. Requests for extra time which do not meet the Reasonable Adjustments Policy will be declined. 3. Who is entitled to Reasonable Adjustments? The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as a physical or mental impairment which has substantial and long term adverse effect on a person’s ability to perform normal day to day activities. The following individuals will be considered for reasonable adjustments: ▪ a permanent physical impairment, e.g. cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis ▪ behavioural, emotional, social needs, e.g. chronic depression, autism ▪ a sensory impairment, e.g. hearing impairment, visual impairment ▪ specific cognitive difficulties, e.g. dyslexia, memory loss ▪ motor difficulties, e.g. hand/eye coordination, difficulty moving hands/arms It is expected that all non-UK ATOs are fully aware of what the equivalent legislation and adhere to it to ensure that candidates are provided appropriate reasonable adjustments. If there is not an option for you to take the examination in your native language you will be entitled to an extra 25%. (See Section 6.11 for further information). This list is not exhaustive and it should be noted that you may fall within more than one of the categories set out above. 4. What Reasonable Adjustments are considered acceptable? Applications for reasonable adjustments will be individually considered and decisions may vary according to the exact nature of your everyday needs and usual method of working. The reasonable adjustments offered by BCS may include: ▪ Allocation of extra time ▪ A bilingual paper dictionary whose purpose is the translation between the examination language and another national language (not allowed for on-line examinations via Pearson Vue or ProctorU) ▪ Large Print ▪ Alternative fonts – you can request a font of your choice to suit your particular needs ▪ Coloured Paper / you can request blue, green-yellow or pink to suit your particular needs ▪ Support of a personal assistant – see Section 6.1 for further information ▪ Rest / Time Breaks – See Section 6.2 for further information ▪ Support of a Sign Language interpreter – see Section 6.3 for further information ▪ Support of a scribe/amanuensis – see Section 6.4 for further information ▪ Use of assistive technology - see Section 6.5 for further information ▪ Support of a reader – see Section 6.6 for further information ▪ Use of appropriate examination locations – See Section 6.7 for further information ▪ Re-sits, in the case of temporary illness/injury – see Section 6.9 for further information. This is not an exhaustive list and other adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis. We will consider all requests in line with our Reasonable Adjustments Policy. 5. How much extra time is allowed? Extra time will be permitted, as appropriate to you, in line with this document ensuring you are not disadvantaged in relation to other candidates. The standard time extension for our examinations is 25% if you have a disability or are not able to take the exam in your official or native language. You cannot request any more than 25% extra time due to your language. Up to 100%, extra time can be provided due to a disability dependent on your particular needs if this is requested by an appropriate professional. All requests for extra time will be considered based on the information supplied; however; in consideration of the amount of extra time requested we must ensure that: ▪ The credibility of the qualification is maintained ▪ The validity, reliability and integrity of the examination is preserved ▪ You are not given or do not appear to be given an unfair advantage. 6. What assistance may I be entitled to? 6.1 Support of a Personal Assistant You can request the support of a personal assistant if you need someone to help with personal care/assistance during the examination. This help will be designed to maintain the effectiveness of the examination. Personal assistants cannot give factual help or offer any suggestions or advice which could be seen as giving you an unfair advantage. 6.2 Rest Breaks You can request a rest break if you suffer from fatigue, physical or mental disabilities or for religious obligations. The rest break will be part of your extra time request and you can take it any time during the examination. Women who are pregnant are also allowed to use the toilet although no extra time is awarded for pregnant women. It is important that you do not discuss the examination with any third party during any break period. 6.3 Support of a Sign Language Interpreter You can request a sign language interpreter if you are hard of hearing to undertake the role of conversing with others on your behalf. The interpreter can say a phrase or particular word as well as re-phrasing using sign language or by writing it down for you. They must not give factual help, offer any suggestions or advice which could be seen as giving you an unfair advantage. We would normally expect the candidate to source the interpreter although if this is not possible, BCS will make reasonable efforts to locate a suitable person. 6.4 Support of a scribe/amanuensis You can request a scribe if you have limitations with writing down the answers such as a physical or visual impairment or a specific learning difficulty. The scribe’s role will be someone who will write down your dictated answers to the questions. They must write down the answers exactly as they are dictated. They must not give factual help nor offer any suggestions or advice which could be seen as giving you an unfair advantage. 6.5 Use of laptop and adaptive technology (also known as assistive or access technology) You can request to use adaptive, assistive or access technology which enables you to access computer systems if you have particular needs. Where possible, we would expect you to use your own laptop and software. You will only be able to have access to the relevant programme or programmes and all equipment will be checked by the invigilator prior to the start of the examination. If you cannot use your own equipment BCS will make reasonable efforts to source the same or similar equipment. If BCS is unable to source suitable equipment, then we will advise you accordingly and you will be responsible for either sourcing suitable equipment or using what can be made available to us by BCS. The list below is indicative of the most common assistive technologies available, but should be used as a guideline only. Hardware ▪ Alternative keyboards and mice including: Braille labelled keyboards or home-row key indicators; Joysticks/trackerballs / mouse keys on the keyboard; Mouth Stick ▪ Braille Display ▪ Switches (alternative input to keyboard and mouse, used by candidates with physical disabilities) ▪ Large monitors ▪ Headphones and volume adjustment for use with voice output/input software packages. 6.6 Software ▪ Operating System Accessibility features such as sticky keys, filter keys, mouse speed adjustments ▪ Screen magnification software e.g. Dragon Software ▪ Screen reading software (supporting both users with visual impairment and dyslexic users) e.g. browsealoud.com, JAWS software or NVDA ▪ Input devices – eye/head operated pointing devices or on-screen keyboards. Support of a Reader You can request a reader if you have a visual impairment or specific learning difficulties which would benefit from the support of a reader. They will be able to read all or any part of the examination or your answers to you. They can only read the exact wording and must not give meanings of words, rephrase or interpret anything. They should only repeat instructions and questions on the paper when specifically requested to do so by you. They cannot advise you which questions to do, when to move on to the next question, or the order in which the questions should be answered. 6.7 Use of alternative examination locations You can request the use of alternative premises to take the examination if this benefits you due to a physical disability. Locations must comply with the requirements of the Equality Act, Health and Satisfy Regulations (or local equivalent) as well as disability access regulations and ATOs are also required to meet these standards when hosting an examination. 6.8 Alternative format of examination papers You can request changes to the font and/or font colour within reason for paper-based examinations. We can offer also offer different coloured paper; blue, green, yellow or pink for dyslexic candidates. Please note that these options are not available for candidates taking online examinations. 6.9 Temporary Illness / Injury Although a temporary illness or injury or indisposition would not be covered by the Equality Act (or local equivalent), we may still be able to accommodate candidates affected in such a way. You need to complete the Reasonable Adjustments Form and provide supporting evidence of the circumstances and we will try to accommodate your request. 6.10 Pregnancy You are entitled to go to the toilet if you are pregnant but you are not entitled to extra time unless there are other medical conditions that would allow you to request extra time. 6.11 Candidates taking an examination, not in your official or native language. If the examination is taken in a language that is not your native/official language, then you are entitled to use your own paper dictionary (whose purpose is the translation between the examination language and another national language) during the examination. Please advise your ATO at the time of course booking if you require extra time. If you are sitting an on-line examination, then you must complete and return the Extra Time Request form at least 3 working days before the examination. This is because we have to communicate with a third party to allow you the extra time. Extra time will not be allowed on the day if you have not requested this with BCS prior to the examination date and within the 3 working days. You will not be able to use a dictionary if you sit through an on-line Test Centre. Electronic dictionaries will not be allowed into the examination room. 6.12 Stammer / Stutter (Oral Examinations Only) You can request extra time for an oral examination if you have a stammer or stutter (not for a written examination). We will also try to allocate you the final interview slot of the day so that there are fewer time restrictions on you and the interviewers. Please let us know as early as possible so that the best time slot can be allocated to you. In exceptional circumstances, we may consider written responses to the interviewer questions. 6.13 Religious Obligations You can request a break or different time to start the examination if you need to do so for religious reasons. We will require a written request for this and the contact details for the appropriate religious authority (e.g. imam, minister, rabbi or priest). 6.14 Other Reasonable Adjustments The reasonable adjustment arrangements listed here are not intended to be comprehensive. Other reasonable adjustments will be considered in line with our Reasonable Adjustments Policy. 7. How do I apply for extra time due to a disability? Complete the Reasonable Adjustments Request Form (which is on the BCS website) and return it to email@example.com with your supporting documentary evidence at least 3 working days before your examination date. Failure to submit your request within 3 working days will result in your request being denied. We cannot accept requests on the day of the examination. 8. How do I apply for extra time because of my language? 8.1 Candidates taking a BCS Accredited Course and Examination You should advise your ATO that you require extra time and they will apply on your behalf. This request must be received by BCS as least 3 working days before your examination date. BCS cannot accept requests on the day of the examination. 8.2 Candidates taking a Public Examination You should advise BCS at least 3 working days before the examination day that you require extra time. BCS cannot accept requests on the day of the examination. You should complete the Extra Time Request form and return it to BCS at least 3 working days before your examination date. 8.3 Candidates taking an on-line examination You should complete the Extra Time Request form and return it to BCS at least 3 working days before your examination date. 9. What Documentary Evidence is required? You should provide BCS with documentary evidence which outlines the nature and severity of your disability. It should be from an appropriate independent professional. Disability Apply before the Documentary Evidence exam. Visually Impaired Candidate 50% Extra Time as well as assistive technology / scribe Appropriate professional providing a written, dated and signed statement OR Certificate of Registration as blind or partially sighted. Hearing Impaired Candidate 25% Extra Time as well as an Interpreter Appropriate professional providing a written, dated and signed statement Dyslexic Candidate 25% Extra Time as well as changes to the exam paper – such as background colour and font size. Appropriate professional providing a written, dated and signed statement OR Report from a Learning Support professional or educational psychologist. Other Medical Conditions Up to 25% Extra Time as well as assistive technology/scribe Appropriate professional providing a written, dated and signed statement. A letter from another awarding body approving reasonable adjustments would be considered valid documentary evidence. Please send us a copy of the evidence rather than the original. BCS will keep on record all Reasonable Adjustment Request forms and evidence for a period of 5 years after the examination. If you take another examination with us at a later date you will not need to resubmit the evidence, all you need do is quote your Reasonable Adjustments number and we will be able to authorise the extra time based on your previous application. If you prefer, you can request that we destroy all information once you have passed the examination. 10. Details of authorising specific reasonable adjustments We will consider each request in line with our Reasonable Adjustments Policy and you will be informed in writing of our decision. If we require further information or clarification, we may do this by telephone or email. 11. Disclosure and Confidentiality Information about your disability is deemed ‘sensitive personal data’ and therefore the BCS and your ATO, if appropriate, are required by law (under the Data Protection Act) to process the information ‘fairly and lawfully’. We will keep in confidence all correspondence and documentation received in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Your information will only be made available to those on a ‘need to know’ basis based on the Equality Act 2010. This will include BCS administrative staff and the invigilator of your exam.
What is Your Complaints Policy?
We take complaints about our products and services very seriously. Any complaint is thoroughly investigated and the person who has reported it is kept fully informed of progress. All complaints relating to our services are handled by Duco Digital and referred to other organisations as necessary. Any person or organisation has the right to complain to Duco Digital if they have concerns about a product or service they have been provided by Duco Digital or its partners. This document outlines the process which needs to be followed to lodge a complaint with Duco Digital. All complaints need to be submitted to us, in writing, and should contain the following information: -The reason(s) for the complaint. -The date and description of product or service. -Supporting documentation. -Any other pertinent information relating to the grounds for the complaint. Address: Duco Digital The Innovation Centre Kirkleatham Business Park Redcar TS10 5SH Email: firstname.lastname@example.org We will send you a formal acknowledgement of receipt within 5 working days of receiving the complaint and then commence a thorough investigation. You will be kept informed of progress throughout the investigation. Once the complaint has been resolved we will inform you in writing of the outcome of the investigation. The decision of Duco Digital is final (in relation to services). BCS courses In relation to BCS courses, if you are not satisfied with their response, then you have the right to escalate your complaint to BCS. Please do so by writing to BCS including any previous correspondence in relation to the complaint and send it to: Quality Assurance Team BCS Block D North Star House North Star Avenue Swindon Wiltshire SN2 1FA Or by email to email@example.com The BCS will send you a formal acknowledgement of receipt within 5 working days of receiving the complaint and then commence a thorough investigation. You will be kept informed of progress throughout the investigation. Once the complaint has been resolved we will inform you in writing of the outcome of the investigation. The decision of BCS is final.
Information About Malpractice
This policy relates directly to BCS (courses and examinations), so has been taken directly from BCS and adopted by Duco Digital for the purpose of such courses and examinations. For further info. please visit https://www.bcs.org. This document is intended for Centre Managers, Senior Leaders and others involved in managing the delivery of general and vocational qualifications which are certificated by BCS. It is important that your staff involved in the delivery of our qualifications are fully aware of the contents of this document and its possible implications on your Centre should you fail to comply with the requirements specified by BCS and the Regulators in relation to the delivery of our qualifications. BCS has a responsibility to the learners taking our qualifications and the Regulators to ensure that Centres deliver our qualifications in accordance with the requirements. To meet this responsibility, the performance of BCS Centres will be monitored by our Quality Assurance Team, including a bank of External Verifiers (EV’s). The document: • complies with Condition A8 – Malpractice and maladministration of the regulators’ General Conditions of Recognition and SQA Accreditation’s Regulatory Principles; • identifies the regulations under which tests and assessments operate; • defines malpractice in the context of tests and assessments; • sets out the rights and responsibilities of BCS, centre staff and learners in relation to such matters; • describes the procedures to be followed in cases where there is reason to suspect that the regulations have been broken. 1.1 Instances of Malpractice Instances of malpractice arise for a variety of reasons: • some incidents are intentional and aim to give an unfair advantage in a test or assessment; • some incidents arise due to ignorance of the regulations, carelessness or forgetfulness in applying the regulations; • some occur as a direct result of the force of circumstances which are beyond the control of those involved (e.g. a fire alarm sounds and the exam is disrupted). The individuals involved in malpractice are also varied. They may be: • learners; • teachers, trainers, assessors or others responsible for the conduct, the administration or the quality assurance of tests and assessments including test officers and invigilators; • assessment personnel such as examiners, assessors, moderators or internal and external verifiers; other third parties. Irrespective of the underlying cause or the people involved, all allegations of malpractice in relation to tests and assessments need to be investigated. This is to protect the integrity of the qualification and to be fair to the centre and all learners. Any suspected instances of malpractice need to be reported to BCS as soon as you are aware of an event and BCS will, in turn, report these to the appropriate Regulator(s). This document details the procedures for investigating and determining allegations of malpractice which in their fairness, thoroughness, impartiality and objectivity meet or exceed the requirements of the current law in relation to such matters. 2 Definitions Malpractice covers any deliberate action, 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 an awarding 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 to claim certificates. Failure by a centre to identify, notify, investigate and report to an awarding body all allegations of malpractice or suspected malpractice constitutes malpractice. Also, failure to act as required by an awarding body, as detailed in this document, or to cooperate with an awarding body’s investigation constitutes malpractice. Suspected malpractice for the purposes of this document suspected malpractice means all alleged or suspected incidents of malpractice. Centre staff malpractice ‘Centre staff malpractice’ means malpractice committed by: • a member of staff or contractor (whether employed under a contract of employment or a contract for services) at a centre; or • an individual appointed in another capacity by a centre such as an invigilator, reader, scribe or sign language interpreter. Examples of centre staff malpractice are set out in Appendix 2, Part 1. These examples are not an exhaustive list and as such do not limit the scope of the definitions set out in this document. Other instances of malpractice may be identified and considered by BCS at our discretion. Learner malpractice ‘Learner malpractice’ means malpractice by a learner during any test or assessment, including the preparation and authentication of any controlled assessments, coursework or non-test assessments and the writing of any test paper. Examples of learner malpractice are set out in Appendix 2, Part 2. These examples are not an exhaustive list and as such do not limit the scope of the definitions set out in this document. Maladministration is any activity, neglect, default or practice that results in the centre or learner not complying with the specified requirements for delivery of the qualifications as set out in the administrative regulations and requirements. It also includes the application of persistent mistakes or poor administration within a Centre (e.g. inappropriate learner records). 3 Awarding Body Responsibilities 3.1 The regulators’ General Conditions of Recognition state that BCS must: promptly notify the Regulator when it has cause to believe that any event has occurred or is likely to occur which could have an adverse effect; promptly notify the Regulator when there has been an incident of malpractice or maladministration, which could invalidate the award of a qualification which it makes available or could affect another awarding organisation; establish and maintain, and always comply with, up to date written procedures for the investigation of suspected or alleged malpractice or maladministration; and ensure that such investigations are carried out rigorously, effectively, and by persons of appropriate competence who have no personal interest in their outcome. 3.2 BCS will: oversee all investigations into suspected or alleged malpractice; withhold the issuing of results until the conclusion of the investigation, or permanently, where the outcome of the investigation warrants it; apply the sanctions and penalties listed in this document in cases of proven malpractice; if required, amend the test data that BCS hold. The case leader will notify the BCS Technical Team of the changes that are required; report the matter to the regulators and other BCS in accordance with the regulators’ General Conditions of Recognition; if required, arrange for the BCS Technical Team to contact the DfE to retract relevant performance points awarded. consider reporting the matter to the police if proven malpractice involved the committing of a criminal act; consider reporting the matter to other appropriate authorities where relevant, e.g. Funding Agencies. 3.3 BCS will normally authorise the Centre Manager, acting on behalf of BCS, to carry out the investigation or to collect evidence on its behalf. The Centre Manager will then report to BCS when the investigation has been completed. 3.4 The Centre Manager must: notify BCS at the earliest opportunity of all alleged, suspected or actual incidents of malpractice; ensure that if it is necessary to delegate an investigation to a senior member of centre staff, the senior member of centre staff chosen is independent and not connected to the department or learner involved in the suspected malpractice. This is to avoid conflicts of interest which can otherwise compromise the investigation; respond speedily and openly to all requests for an investigation into an allegation of malpractice. This will be in the best interests of centre staff, learners and any others involved; make available information as requested by an awarding body; co-operate and ensure their staff do so with an enquiry into an allegation of malpractice, whether the centre is directly involved in the case or not; inform staff members and learners of their individual responsibilities and rights as set out in these guidelines; pass on to the individuals concerned any warnings or notifications of penalties, and ensure compliance with any requests made by BCS because of a malpractice case. The individual will then report to BCS when the investigation has been completed. And as directed by BCS, all investigations resulting from an allegation of malpractice unless the investigation is being led by BCS or another party must: ensure that if it is necessary to delegate an investigation to a senior member of centre staff, the senior member of centre staff chosen is independent and not connected to the department or learner involved in the suspected malpractice. This is to avoid conflicts of interest which can otherwise compromise the investigation; • respond speedily and openly to all requests for an investigation into an allegation of malpractice. This will be in the best interests of centre staff, learners and any others involved; • make available information as requested by an awarding body; • co-operate and ensure their staff do so with an enquiry into an allegation of malpractice, whether the centre is directly involved in the case or not; • inform staff members and learners of their individual responsibilities and rights as set out in these guidelines; • pass on to the individuals concerned any warnings or notifications of penalties, and ensure compliance with any requests made by BCS because of a malpractice case. Centre Managers are reminded that a failure to comply with the requirements set in Section 3.4 may itself constitute malpractice. 3.4 BCS reserves the right to conduct any investigation where it feels it is the most appropriate course of action. Where allegations are made against the Centre Manager, or the management of the centre, BCS will decide how the investigation will be carried out. We may authorise another person, such as one of the following to carry out the investigation: the Chair of the Governing Body of the centre; or the Director of Education; or another suitably qualified individual such as an Ofsted Inspector or head of another school 4. Preventing Malpractice The Regulator requires that all Awarding Bodies are responsible for: • Taking all reasonable steps to prevent any malpractice or maladministration • Investigating or overseeing suspected or alleged malpractice or maladministration • Promptly taking all reasonable steps to prevent (or mitigate) any adverse effects • Keeping under review the arrangements put in place by Centres for preventing and investigating malpractice or maladministration • Taking steps to prevent malpractice or maladministration recurring • Taking appropriate and proportionate action against those who are responsible for the malpractice or maladministration • Applying appropriate sanctions • Reporting the incident to the Regulator • Informing Centres or other awarding bodies of the malpractice or maladministration as appropriate • Reporting the matter to the police if we believe that a criminal act has been committed. BCS is committed to working with our centres to prevent malpractice and maladministration. Whilst it is nearly impossible to completely remove the risk of maladministration or malpractice occurring within centres, the following list goes some way to strengthening a centre’s internal arrangements in this area: • Ensure all relevant staff are aware of our policies and procedures • Ensure all relevant staff receive appropriate training • Staff have clear roles and responsibilities • There is a documented internal quality assurance procedure that is subject to regular reviews • Assessment and internal verification activities are recorded and carried out in accordance with the procedures • Registration and certification records are subject to appropriate internal review • Regular data analysis review • Monthly Awarding Body meeting held • Monthly Continual Improvement Working Party meeting held 5. How BCS will deal with allegations of malpractice 5.1 phases. • Identification (Section 6) • The allegation (Section 7) • BCS’s response (Section 8) • Notifying the Regulator (Section 9) • The investigation (Section 10) • The report (Section 11) • The decision (Section 12) • Sanctions and penalties (Section 13) • Maintaining records (Section 14) • Alerting other Awarding Bodies (Section 15) • The appeal (Section 16) The handling of malpractice complaints and allegations involves the following Communications 5.2 BCS will normally communicate with the Centre Manager regarding allegations of malpractice, except when the Centre Manager or management of the centre is under investigation. In such cases, communications may be with another person nominated to investigate the matter by BCS, such as the Chair of Governors or Director of Education. Communications relating to the decisions taken by BCS in cases of malpractice will always be addressed to the Centre Manager, except when the Centre Manager or management is under investigation. When the Centre Manager or management is under investigation, communication will be with the Chair of Governors, Local Authority officials or other appropriate governance authorities, as deemed appropriate. 5.3 BCS may communicate directly with members of centre staff who have been accused of malpractice if the circumstances warrant this, e.g. the staff member is no longer employed or engaged by the centre. The Centre Manager must facilitate communications between BCS and the individual concerned. 5.4 BCS may choose to communicate with a learner directly if the circumstances of the case require us to. (For example, if there is a contradiction in the evidence provided by the learner and the centre, or the centre is suspected of non- compliance with the regulations.) In such cases BCS may choose to advise the Centre Manager that it proposes to contact the learner directly. A Centre Manager, once advised by BCS, should not ordinarily communicate further with the learner. 5.5 BCS reserves the right to share information relevant to malpractice investigations with third parties, for example other BCS, the regulators and the police and/or other bodies. 6 Identification There will be several ways to identify malpractice and suspected malpractice such as: • At centre level through on-going quality assurance activity and monitoring e.g. internal verification activity • At centre level through intelligence, complaints or feedback • At Awarding Body level through scheduled quality assurance activity and monitoring • At Awarding Body level through intelligence, complaints or feedback 7 The Allegation • At Awarding Body level through information from other organisations • At Regulator level through intelligence, complaints or feedback The Allegation Suspected malpractice identified by examiners, moderators or external verifiers 7.1 Examiners, moderators and external verifiers who suspect malpractice must notify BCS immediately. It is not necessary to inform the Centre Manager of this report as details of the allegation will be communicated by BCS. A full account of the incident must be submitted together with supporting evidence. Suspected malpractice identified by a centre. 7.2 Where suspected malpractice is identified by a centre, the Centre Manager must submit full details of the case at the earliest opportunity to BCS. Malpractice reported by others 7.3 Allegations of malpractice are sometimes reported to BCS by employers, centre staff, regulators, funding agencies, learners, other BCS and members of the public. Sometimes these reports are anonymous. Where requested, BCS will not disclose the identity of individuals reporting cases of suspected malpractice, unless legally obliged to do so. Employees/workers making allegations of malpractice within centres may be protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, if: • the disclosure amounts to a “protected disclosure” (as set out in the relevant legislation); • the employee/worker is raising a genuine concern in relation to malpractice; and • the disclosure is made in compliance with the guidelines set out in the legislation and/or the centre’s own Whistleblowing Policy. For the avoidance of doubt, BCS is not identified in the legislation as a body to whom protected disclosures can be made. Ofqual, however, is described in the legislation as a body to whom protected disclosures can be made. 7.4 BCS is aware that the reporting of malpractice by a member of staff or a learner can create a difficult environment for that staff member or learner. Accordingly, BCS will try to protect the identity of an informant if this is asked for at the time the information is given. 7.5 If the information is provided over the telephone, the informant will usually be asked to confirm the allegation in writing. 7.5 When BCS receives an allegation from someone other than the Centre Manager (including anonymous reports), BCS will evaluate the allegation in the light of any available information to see if there is cause to investigate. 8 BCS’s response to an allegation of malpractice. 8.1 In the case of notifications of suspected malpractice BCS will consider the information provided and decide to: take no further action; bring the matter to the attention of the Centre Manager, or another suitably qualified individual, asking them to investigate the alleged malpractice and produce a written report of the outcome to BCS investigate the matter directly especially where there is an allegation of fraud or serious threat to the integrity of certification or where the centre does not have the capacity to conduct an unbiased investigation. BCS will notify the relevant regulator as soon as it receives sufficient evidence potential breach of security. Any other Awarding Bodies which have approved centre, may also be informed as well as other relevant third parties such as the police. 8.3 Regardless of whether the allegation of malpractice is proven or not, to ensure the integrity of, and public confidence in, future tests, BCS may undertake additional inspections and/or monitoring, and/or require additional actions. 9 Notifying the Regulators BCS will notify the Regulator promptly in accordance with our Notification of Adverse Effect procedure. 10 The Investigation BCS may decide to: • Instruct the centre to investigate; or • Conduct the investigation itself; or • Nominate a third party to carry out the investigation in our behalf Investigations carried out by the Centre Manager/Appointed Investigator 10.1 It will normally be expected that investigations into allegations of malpractice will be carried out by the Centre Manager. The Centre Manager must deal with the investigation promptly and in accordance with the guidelines and deadlines set by BCS. BCS will provide relevant guidance and support as necessary. 10.2 Those responsible for investigating should seek evidence from which the full facts and circumstances of any alleged malpractice can be established. It should not be assumed that because an allegation has been made, it is true. The fundamental principle of an investigation is to conduct it in a fair, reasonable and legal manner ensuring that all relevant information is considered without bias and as quickly as possible. 10.3 The Centre Manager should consider that both staff and learners can be responsible for malpractice. If the investigation is delegated to another senior member of centre staff, the Centre Manager retains overall responsibility for the investigation. In selecting a suitable senior member of centre staff the Centre Manager must take all reasonable steps to avoid a conflict of interest. Where a conflict of interest may be seen to arise, investigations into suspected malpractice should not be delegated to the manager of the section, team or department involved in the suspected malpractice. In the event of any concerns regarding conflicts of interest or the suitability of the potential investigator, the Centre Manager must contact BCS as soon as possible to discuss the matter. 10.4 If a centre is reporting the suspected malpractice, BCS recommend that, as a minimum, the centre provides the accused individual(s) with the information used to notify us of the malpractice. Reference should also be made to Section 7.14 which deals with the rights of the accused individuals. 10.5 Where the person conducting the investigation deems it necessary to interview a learner or member of staff about an alleged malpractice, the interviews must be conducted in accordance with the centre’s own policy for conducting disciplinary enquiries. 10.6 The involvement of legal advisors is not necessary, at least where there is no allegation of criminal behaviour. However, if any party wishes to be accompanied, for example by a solicitor or trade union official, the other parties must be informed beforehand to give them the opportunity to be similarly supported. The person accompanying the interviewee should not take an active part in the interview, he/she is not to answer questions on the interviewee’s behalf. BCS will not be liable for any professional fees incurred. The Centre Manager is required to make available an appropriate venue for such interviews. Interviews may also be conducted over the telephone. Individuals involved may be requested to provide a written statement. Persons investigating should refer to Appendix 2. Investigations carried out by BCS 10.7 BCS reserves the right to conduct any investigation where it feels that it is the most appropriate course of action at any stage. The decision making as to who investigates always rests with BCS. BCS will not normally withhold from the Centre Manager any evidence or material obtained or created during an investigation into an allegation of malpractice. However, we may do so where this would involve disclosing the identity of an informant who has asked for his/her identity to remain confidential. In such cases, BCS will provide the evidence and material and will withhold information that would reveal the person’s identity, and will explain why the withheld information cannot be provided. 10.8 If investigations reveal that learners had prior knowledge of the content of a test or assessment, BCS will establish whether information could have been divulged to learners at other centres or to other unauthorised persons. 10.9 Sometimes it is necessary for BCS to interview a learner during an investigation. If the learner is a minor or a vulnerable adult, and if the interview is to be conducted face to face, BCS undertake to do this only in the presence of an appropriate adult who is impartial to the investigation such as the learner’s parent/carer, the Centre Manager, or other senior member of staff, or the learner’s parent/carer or with the permission of the Centre Manager or parent/carer. 10.10 Interviews may also be conducted over the telephone. 10.11 When it is necessary for a member of BCS staff to conduct an interview with a staff member, the member of staff being interviewed may be accompanied by a friend or advisor who is impartial to the investigation (who may be a representative of a teacher association or other association). 10.12 If the individual being interviewed wishes to be accompanied by a legal advisor, the other parties must be informed beforehand to give them the opportunity to be similarly supported. The Centre Manager will be required to make available an appropriate venue for such interviews. The person accompanying the interviewee should not take an active part in the interview, he/she is not to answer questions on the interviewee’s behalf. BCS will not be responsible for any fees incurred because of third party involvement. 10.13 The individual being interviewed may also be requested to provide a written statement. Objectives of investigations Investigations into malpractice and suspected malpractice should aim to: • Establish the facts relating to allegations/complaints to determine whether any irregularities have occurred. It is important to remember that just because an allegation has been made it should not be assumed that malpractice has occurred • Establish the facts, circumstances and scale of the alleged malpractice. In considering the scale of the malpractice, it is important that the investigation is not too narrowly focused and considers the broader impact the malpractice could have on the centre, learners or qualifications • Identify the cause of the irregularities and those involved • Identify and, if necessary, take actions to minimise the risk to current learners and requests for certification • Evaluate any actions already taken by the centre • Determine whether any remedial actions are required to reduce the risk to current learners and to preserve the integrity of the qualification • Ascertain whether any action is required in respect of certificates already issued • Obtain evidence to support the investigation • Identify any patterns or trends • Identify any changes to centre policy or procedure or Awarding Body policies or procedures During the investigation - Rights of the accused individuals 10.14 When, in the view of the investigator, there is sufficient evidence to implicate an individual in malpractice, that individual (a learner or a member of staff) accused of malpractice must: • be informed (preferably in writing) of the allegation made against him or her; • know the possible consequences should malpractice be proven; • can consider their response to the allegations (if required); • have an opportunity to submit a written statement; • be informed that he/she will have the opportunity to read the submission and make an additional statement in response, should the case be put to the Malpractice Committee; • have an opportunity to seek advice (as necessary) and to provide a supplementary statement (if required); • be informed of the applicable appeals procedure, (see paragraph 15.1) should a decision be made against him or her; • be informed of the possibility that information relating to a serious case of malpractice may be shared with other BCS, the regulators, the Police and/or other bodies as appropriate. 10.15 Responsibility for informing the accused individual rests with the Centre Manager. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary for the Centre Manager to exercise discretion, in the light of all the circumstances of the case, as to the timing and how an allegation of malpractice and the supporting evidence is presented to the individual(s) involved. 10.16 Full details of BCS’s appeals procedure are available in the ACF. (See Section 18.) 10.17 Confidentiality – by their very nature investigations usually necessitate access to information that is confidential to a centre or individual. All material collected as part of the investigation must be kept secure and not normally disclosed to third parties (other than the regulators, or the police where appropriate). 10.18 Retention and storage of evidence and records – all relevant documents and evidence must be retained for a minimum of one year following the conclusion of the investigation. 10.19 Decisions and action plans – all conclusions and decisions should be based on evidence. A course of proposed actions should be identified, agreed between the centre and BCS, implemented and monitored to the point of completion. The actions should address the improvements that are required to the centre’s policies or procedures as well as any actions related to staff or other resources. 10.20 Sanctions applied to centres should be commensurate with the level of non- compliance identified (and evidenced) during the investigation and in line with the BCS policy. 11 The Report 11.1 Where the investigation into the alleged malpractice has been carried out by the centre, the Centre Manager or their nominee must submit a full written report of the case to BCS. 11.2 The report should be accompanied by the following documentation, as appropriate: • a statement of the facts, a detailed account of the circumstances of the alleged malpractice, and details of any investigations carried out by the centre; • the evidence relevant to the allegation, such as written statement(s) from the invigilator(s), assessor, internal verifier(s) or other staff who are involved; • written statement(s) from the learner(s); • any exculpatory evidence and/or mitigating factors; • information about the centre’s procedures for advising learners and centre staff of BCS’ regulations; • seating plans showing the exact position of learners in the test room; • unauthorised material found in the test room; • any work of the learner and any associated material (e.g. source material for coursework) which is relevant to the investigation. 11.3 BCS will decide based on the report, and any supporting documentation, whether there is evidence of malpractice and if any further investigation is required. The Centre Manager will be informed accordingly. 12 The Decision The Malpractice Committee 12.1 To determine the outcomes in cases of alleged malpractice BCS will normally convene the Malpractice Committee composed of internal and/or external members experienced in test and assessment procedures. Alternatively, this function may be allocated to a named member or members of staff. The Committee may also be assisted by another member of staff who has not been directly involved in the investigation. 12.2 The following applies to the activities of the Malpractice Committee (or to the personnel acting in this capacity): The work of the Malpractice Committee is confidential. Members of the Malpractice Committee are required to identify any case of which they have personal knowledge or might be said to have some interest which could lead to an inference that the Committee had been biased. Any member with a close personal interest will take no part in the discussion of the case and will not be present when the Malpractice Committee discusses the matter. Accused individuals, Centre Manager or their representatives are not entitled to be present at meetings of the Malpractice Committee. 12.3 The key principle underpinning the composition of the Malpractice Committee is that it is independent of those who have conducted the investigation. 12.4 BCS staff who have directly investigated the case will play no role in the decision-making process. 12.5 No-one who declares an interest in the outcome of the case will be present in the room when the case is considered. 12.6 The person against whom the allegation has been made will be given the opportunity to make a written statement to the Malpractice Committee considering the material provided. Making the decision 12.7 In deciding on any report, the Malpractice Committee will establish that correct procedures have been followed in the investigation of the case and that all individuals involved have been given the opportunity to make a written statement. 12.8 If satisfied, the Malpractice Committee will then seek to determine: • Identify the regulatory criteria which is alleged to have been compromised • Consider the facts of the case • Decide on the facts whether malpractice is occurred • Establish who is responsible if criteria have been compromised • Consider any points of mitigation 12.9 If the Malpractice Committee is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence that malpractice has occurred, the Committee will then determine: • appropriate measures to be taken to protect the integrity of the test or assessment and to prevent future breaches; • the nature of any sanction or penalty to be applied. 12.10 Each case of suspected malpractice will be considered and judged on an individual basis in the light of all information available. Where there is an established, clearly evidenced, repeated pattern of behaviour this may be taken into consideration when determining whether a sanction should be applied. The Malpractice Committee will seek to make decisions unanimously, but if necessary may decide by a majority. 12.11 The Malpractice Committee must be satisfied from the evidence before it that on the balance of probabilities the alleged malpractice occurred (i.e. that it is more likely than not). It is possible that the evidence in some cases may be inconclusive, but BCS may decline to accept the work of the learners to protect the integrity of the qualification for the majority. 12.12 In situations where a case is deferred because the Committee requires further information to decide, the deferral and the nature of the request will be shared with the investigation team and Centre Manager. 12.13 In straightforward cases where the evidence is not contested or in doubt, BCS may invoke a summary procedure. Sanctions may be applied and notified to an individual or centre following consideration of the case by an awarding body member of staff. Sanctions and penalties applied under this summary procedure are subject to appeal, as are all other sanctions and penalties resulting from cases of malpractice. Please see BCS’ appeals process 13 Sanctions and Penalties 13.1 BCS has a range of sanctions that can be imposed on a Centre, where malpractice has been proven, depending on the seriousness of the situation, the level and track-record of the Centre’s non-compliance and the risk to the interests of learners and the integrity of the qualifications and units and/or affects the public confidence in BCS qualifications. Our aim to ensure that the application of sanctions is a last resort and through our approach to Centre support and management, and the creation of appropriate action plans, we will work with Centres to prevent situations arising that would warrant a sanction being imposed. 13.2 BCS impose sanctions and penalties on individuals and on centres responsible for malpractice to: • minimise the risk to the integrity of tests and assessments, both in the present and in the future; • maintain the confidence of the public in the delivery and awarding of qualifications; • ensure as a minimum that there is nothing to gain from breaking the regulations; • deter others from doing likewise. 13.3 BCS will normally impose sanctions and penalties on individuals found guilty of malpractice. These will usually be the learner(s) or the responsible member(s) of staff. However, when malpractice is judged to be the result of a serious management failure within a department or the whole centre, BCS may apply sanctions against the whole department or centre. In these cases, BCS may make special arrangements to safeguard the interests of learners who might otherwise be adversely affected. 13.4 BCS will endeavour to protect learners who, through no fault of their own, are caught up in a malpractice incident. It should, however, be accepted that there may be instances where the work submitted for assessment does not represent the efforts of the individual learners and it may not be possible to give those learners a result or permit a result to be retained. When considering the action to be taken, BCS will balance responsibilities towards the rest of the cohort and the individuals caught up in the malpractice incident. Results and/or performance points may also not be issued or may be revoked in cases where malpractice has occurred but it was not established clearly who was to blame. 13.5 In cases where it is not reasonable or possible to determine responsibility for malpractice, and where it is clear that the integrity of the test or assessment has been impaired in respect of an individual or individuals, BCS may decide not to accept the work submitted or undertaken for assessment or may decide it would be unsafe to make awards or permit awards to be retained. In these cases, the learner(s) may re- take, where available, the test/assessment at the next opportunity or, where the qualification permits, provide additional proof of competence. 13.6 BCS has agreed that sanctions and penalties will be chosen from a defined range, to reflect the circumstances of each case and any mitigating factors. The agreed level of sanction or penalty for an offence is set out in Appendices 3 and 4. 13.7 BCS reserves the right to apply sanctions and penalties flexibly, outside of the defined ranges, if mitigating or aggravating circumstances are found to exist. 13.8 As no assumptions can be made about the intentions underlying an individual’s actions, sanctions and penalties will be based only on the evidence available. 13.9 All sanctions and penalties must be justifiable and reasonable in their scale, and consistent in their application. 13.10 If the test is one of a series, sanctions and penalties will only apply to the series in which the offence has been committed and possible future series. (If evidence comes to light some considerable time after the offence, a sanction or penalty may still be applied to the series in which the offence was committed and later series). 13.11 If assessment is continuous, sanctions and penalties will be applied to the submission in which the malpractice occurred and may impact upon future submissions. 13.12 For consistency of approach in the application of sanctions and penalties, BCS will not consider the consequential effects (for example on university or job applications) of any sanction or penalty which might arise from circumstances of the individual. 13.13 A permanent record will be kept of the effect of any sanctions or penalties on an individual’s results. All other information relating to specific instances of malpractice or irregularities will be destroyed after seven years. 13.14 The Centre Manager should inform those individuals found guilty of malpractice that information may be passed onto other BCS and/or other appropriate authorities. This information will typically be the names and offences of those found guilty of breaching the published regulations. 14 Sanctions and Penalties – Centre Staff 14.1 In cases of centre staff malpractice, the primary role of BCS is to consider whether the integrity of its tests and assessments have been placed in jeopardy. BCS will consider whether that integrity might be jeopardised if an individual found to have committed malpractice were to be involved in the future conduct, supervision or administration of BCS's tests or assessments. 14.2 It is not the role of BCS to be involved in any matter affecting the member of staff’s or contractor’s contractual relationship with his/her employer or engager. BCS recognise that employers may take a different view of an allegation to that determined by BCS or its Malpractice Committee. An employer may wish to finalise its decision after BCS or its Malpractice Committee has reached its conclusion. 14.3 In determining the appropriate sanction or penalty, BCS will consider factors including: • the potential risk to the integrity of the test or assessment; • the potential adverse impact on learners; • the number of learners and/or centres affected; and • the potential risk to those relying on the qualification (e.g. employers or members of the public). BCS may consider, at its discretion, mitigating factors supported by appropriate evidence. Ignorance of the regulations will not, by itself, be considered a mitigating factor. Where a member of staff or contractor has been found guilty of malpractice, BCS may impose one or more of the following remedial actions, sanctions or penalties: 1 Written warning Issue the member of staff with a written warning that if the offence is repeated within a set period, further measures will be applied. 2 Training Require the member of staff, as a condition of future involvement in its tests and/or assessments, to undertake specific training or mentoring within a particular period of time and a review process at the end of the training. 3 Special conditions Impose special conditions on the future involvement in its tests and/or assessments by the member of staff, whether this involves the internal assessment, the conduct, supervision or administration of its tests and assessments. 4 Suspension Bar the member of staff from all involvement in the delivery or administration of its tests for a set period. Other BCS and the regulators may be informed when a suspension is imposed. 14.4 These sanctions will be notified to the Centre Manager who will be required to ensure that they are carried out. 14.5 BCS may, at its discretion, ask for monitoring activity to be undertaken, or a plan devised to provide assurance that sanctions against centre staff are being appropriately applied. Such requirements are distinct and separate from the sanctions described in Section 15. 15 Sanctions and Penalties - Centres 15.1 BCS will determine the application of a sanction according to the evidence presented, the nature and circumstances of the malpractice, and the type of qualification involved. Not all the sanctions are applicable to every type of qualification or circumstance. 15.2 These penalties may be applied individually or in combination. The table in Appendix 3 shows how the sanctions might be applied. 15.3 BCS may, at their discretion, impose the following remedial actions, sanctions against centres. 1 Written warning A letter to the Centre Manager advising of the breach (including the report) and advising of the further action that may be taken (including the application of penalties and special conditions) should there be a recurrence of this breach or subsequent breaches at the centre. 2 Review and Report (Action Plans) The Centre Manager will be required to review the centre’s procedures for the conduct or administration of a test/assessment or all tests/assessments in general. The Centre Manager will additionally be required to report back to BCS on improvements implemented by a set date. Alternatively, an action plan will be agreed between BCS and the centre and will need to be implemented as a condition of continuing to accept entries or registrations from the centre. 3 Approval of specific assessment tasks The approval by BCS of specific assessment tasks in situations where these are normally left to the discretion of the centre. 4 Additional monitoring or inspection BCS may increase, at the centre’s expense, the normal level of monitoring that takes place in relation to the qualification(s). Alternatively, BCS may be notified of the breach of regulations and may randomly, without prior warning, inspect the centre over and above the normal schedule for inspections 5 Restrictions on tests For a specified period, a centre will be placed on test stop. These measures may be applied for selected qualifications or all qualifications. 6 Independent invigilators The appointment for a specified period, at the centre’s expense, of independent invigilators to ensure the conduct of tests is in accordance with the published regulations. 7 Suspension of learner registrations or entries BCS may, for a period, or until a specific matter has been rectified, refuse to accept learner entries or registrations from a centre. This may be applied for selected subjects/occupational areas or all subjects/occupational areas. 8 Suspension of certification BCS may, for a period, or until a specific matter has been rectified, refuse to issue certificates to learners from a centre. 9 Withdrawal of approval for a specific qualification(s) BCS may withdraw the approval of a centre to offer one or more qualifications issued by that awarding body. 10 Withdrawal of centre recognition BCS may withdraw recognition or approval for the centre. This means as a result that the centre will not be able to deliver or offer students the respective awarding body’s qualifications. The regulators, BCS and other appropriate authorities will be informed of this action. At the time of withdrawal of centre recognition, where determined by BCS, a centre may be informed of the earliest date if can re-apply for registration and any measures it will need to take prior to this application. Centres which have had centre recognition withdrawn should not assume that re-approval will be treated as a formality. 15.4 Any expense incurred in ensuring compliance with the penalties and/or special conditions must be borne by the centre. 15.5 If the Centre Manager leaves whilst the centre is subject to any sanctions or special measures, BCS will, if approached to do so, review the need for the continuation of these measures with the new Centre Manager. 16 Sanctions and Penalties - Learners 16.1 BCS will determine the application of a sanction or penalty according to the evidence presented, the nature and circumstances of the malpractice, and the type of qualification involved. Not all the sanctions and penalties are appropriate to every type of qualification or circumstance. 16.2 These penalties may be applied individually or in combination. The table in Appendix 3 shows how the sanctions and penalties might be applied. 16.3 BCS may, at our discretion, impose the following sanctions against learners. 1 Warning The learner is issued with a warning that if the offence is repeated within a set period, further specified sanctions will be applied. 2 Disqualification from a unit The learner is disqualified from the unit. This penalty is only available if the qualification is unitised. The effect of this penalty is to prevent the learner aggregating or requesting certification in that series if the learner has applied for it. 3 Disqualification from a whole qualification The learner is disqualified from the whole qualification taken in that series or academic year. This penalty can be applied to unitised qualifications only if the learner has requested aggregation. Any units banked in a previous series are retained, but the units taken in the present series and the aggregation opportunity are lost. If a learner has not requested aggregation the option is penalty 6. It may also be used with linear qualifications. 4 Learner debarral The learner is barred from entering for one or more tests for a set period. This penalty is applied in conjunction with any of the other penalties above if the circumstances warrant it. 16.4 Unless a penalty is accompanied by a bar on future entry, all learners penalised by loss disqualification, may re-take the qualification affected if the specification permits this. 17 Communicating Decisions 17.1 Once a decision has been made, it will be communicated in writing to the Centre Manager as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the Centre Manager to communicate the decision to the individuals concerned and to pass on warnings in cases where this is indicated. 17.2 Most cases of malpractice are confidential between the individual centre, the individual who engaged in the malpractice and BCS. However, in cases of serious malpractice, where the threat to the integrity of the test or assessment is such as to outweigh a duty of confidentiality, it will normally be necessary for information to be exchanged amongst: • the regulators; • other Awarding Bodies; and • other centres where the malpractice may affect the delivery of an awarding body’s qualification. 14.3 BCS will report cases of centre staff malpractice to the regulators if the circumstances of the case are likely to meet the definition of an Adverse Effect as defined in Condition B3.2 of the General Conditions of Recognition. This will include details of the action taken by the Centre Manager, the governing body or the responsible employer. Other BCS and other appropriate authorities will also be informed. 14.5 It is the responsibility of the Centre Manager to inform the accused individual that BCS may share information with third parties. 18 Appeals 18.1 Learner appeals against malpractice decisions It is the responsibility of centres to advise learners they have the right to appeal a decision where a case of malpractice has been upheld. Learners should be aware of the centre’s internal appeals process, and that this includes the right to appeal to BCS after the centre’s appeals process has been exhausted. Candidates have the right to appeal where: • the centre has conducted its own investigation and the learner disagrees with the outcome • BCS has asked the centre to conduct its own investigation and the learner disagrees with the outcome • BCS has conducted its own investigation and the learner disagrees with the outcome 18.2 Centre appeals against malpractice decisions If a centre disagrees with a decision, it can appeal. An appeal against a malpractice decision will usually be required, in writing, from the Centre Manager requesting a review of the decision. The appeal should include a written account as to why you think the BCS decision is wrong. BCS will respond to all appeals in line with our Appeals Policy which is located on the ACF. In the case where the Centre Manager believes there has been maladministration by BCS then they have the right to raise this matter directly with the appropriate Regulator. 19 Maintaining Records In investigating, centres are required to retain documentation for one year following the conclusion of the investigation. In an investigation involving a criminal prosecution or civil claim, records should be retained for one year after the case and any appeal has been heard. Records should include: • A report containing a statement of the facts, a detailed account of the circumstances of alleged malpractice, and details of any investigations carried out by the centre into the suspected case of malpractice. • Written statements from the centre staff and learners involved. • Any work of the learner and internal assessment or verification records relevant to the investigation. • Details of any remedial actions action to ensure the integrity of the certification now and in the future. 20 Alerting other Awarding Bodies BCS will alert other awarding bodies of cases of malpractice where these cases are likely to impact on other awarding bodies. This will usually be appropriate where: • The centre where the malpractice has occurred is also approved with another awarding body (for the same or different qualifications) and the malpractice could potentially impact on the activities undertaken by that awarding body. • The centre where the malpractice has occurred may move their operations to another awarding body in an attempt to avoid sanctions and continue sub-standard practices. • The centre where the malpractice has occurred has indicated they are seeking approval with another awarding body (for the same or different qualifications). It is often difficult to know which awarding bodies to notify as we are not privy to what other awarding body the centre works with. There is also a challenge with knowing how much information to provide and the possible legal ramifications. Typically, BCS will provide factual information once the malpractice has been proven following the conclusion of the investigation. It is up to the receiving awarding body to decide what action to take as a result of the information received and BCS is not required to propose any action that the other awarding bodies are required to take. 21 Review and Monitoring The Malpractice and Maladministration Policy and Procedure will be reviewed, as a minimum, on an annual basis in line with departmental quality standards and regulatory criteria. BCS will check centre compliance with this policy to ensure reasonable steps are taken to detect, prevent and/or investigate instances of malpractice or maladministration. In addition, this document may be updated in light of operational feedback to ensure our arrangements for dealing with suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration remain effective. 22 Disclaimer This document has been provided by BCS to help illustrate a possible approach to suspected malpractice and maladministration. It is not intended to be prescriptive nor indicate that this is the only approach acceptable to BCS, nor is it intended to imply that using it will guarantee compliance with the BCS requirements as it is each centre’s responsibility to ensure they have in place appropriate internal controls and audit trails and whilst this document may suggest a way of undertaking certain activities, its use alone will not automatically confirm compliance. Centres may decide to use this document and its contents to assist them with the delivery of BCS qualifications and/or tailor it to reflect internal procedures and operational needs.
Information About Quality Assurance
The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that Duco Digital drives future improvements of the company in order to maintain and achieve key performance indicators as well as partner organisational standards (including BCS). This procedure applies to Duco Digital and all employees. The quality procedure refers to: Analysis of data of all groups of learners and targeting underperformance. Learner feedback Quality improvement planning Sampling of the customer experience Observation of the learners’ journey Coaching and Mentoring Exchanging good practice internally and externally Feedback from learners, employers, sub-contractors and staff Internal and external comparisons of performance data. Here at Duco Digital, we are committed to assuring the quality of our provision, the drive always is to enhance our services to our customers and learners, to set high expectations and do all we can to reach them. Duco Digital is committed to Quality Assurance and believes it is an integral part of our processes. Duco Digital is focused on learners are their development, with the provision of relevant and flexible quality training programmes and assessment to suit their needs and lifestyles. All staff involved in the administration and/or assessment of qualifications will have undergone relevant training to their role. Information from the awarding body is disseminated to all members of staff involved in the delivery of qualifications. The organisation’s policy for Equal Opportunities is followed and monitored.
What is Your Appeals Policy?
This policy relates directly to BCS (courses and examinations), so has been taken directly from BCS and adopted by Duco Digital for the purpose of such courses and examinations. For further info. please visit https://www.bcs.org Introduction BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT recognises that there may be circumstances whereby you may wish to have your accreditation/re- accreditation/audit decision re-appraised and this document sets out the processes for appealing against decisions made by BCS. The purpose of an appeal is to request a formal review of a decision in the light of an alleged material defect in the way in which the original decision was made. This procedure should not be used to bring complaints related to the accreditation reviewers or auditors. These must be raised at the time that they occurred to the Accreditation Team. When Can I Appeal? You should only appeal when you have received the official notification of the outcome of your accreditation (Stage 1 or 2), re-accreditation or audit application. You should complete the Appeals Form below and return it to the Compliance Department no later than 20 working days from notification of the decision. How do I Appeal? The submission is considered by the Head of Compliance who will decide if there is a case for appeal. If so, they then review the submitted documentation. This documentation will include the Appeals Pro Forma and any other relevant information. The documentation should be completed by the Course Director. You will be notified of the outcome of the appeal in writing within 10 working days. The decision is final. Please send the completed form with attachments to: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT Compliance Department Block D North Star House North Star Avenue Swindon Wiltshire SN2 1FA Tel: + 44 (0)1793 417 417 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Appeals Form ATO Name: Course Director Name: Full Address Email Address: Telephone Number: We will send all correspondence to the above address so please ensure that you notify us promptly of any changes to your address. Grounds of Appeal (Please circle relevant issue) -Appeal of decision of Stage One (Application) -Appeal of Audit decision -Appeal of Tutor Application decision -Appeal of Review and Initial Audit decision -Appeal of decision of Surveillance visit -Other (please give full details below) Further Explanation for your Grounds of Appeal Please provide explanation for your Grounds of Appeal below, attach separate sheets if necessary. Documentation Attached I attach the following documentation with my appeal pro forma Documentation (Please specify) Declaration I declare that to the best of my knowledge all of the information I have supplied or attached with this form is true, accurate and complete. I give my consent for this information to be circulated to relevant members of staff on a need-to-know basis for the purpose of investigating my appeal. Signature of Appellant Date