Malpractice and Maladministration Policy

Introduction

This policy relates to suspected or actual malpractice and maladministration on the part of Learners, Centre staff and anyone involved in the provision of qualifications.

BCE’s Responsibility

At BCE we take reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of any malpractice or maladministration in the development, delivery and award of qualifications which it makes available or proposes to make available.

BCE’s staff involved in the management, delivery, assessment and quality assurance of qualifications will be made fully aware of the:

  • Malpractice and Maladministration Policy
  • The need to report a suspected or actual malpractice/maladministration case

Definitions of Malpractice

Malpractice is any activity or practice which deliberately contravenes regulations and compromises the integrity of the assessment process or the validity of certificates.
Malpractice covers any deliberate actions, neglect, default or other practice that compromises, or could compromise the:

  • Assessment process
  • Integrity of a regulated qualification
  • Validity of a result or certificate
  • Reputation and credibility of the Awarding Organisation
  • Qualification or the wider qualification community

Malpractice may include a range of issues from the failure to maintain appropriate records or systems, to the deliberate falsification of records in order to claim certificates.
For the purpose of this policy this term also covers misconduct and forms of unnecessary discrimination or bias towards certain or groups of Learners.

Definition of Malpractice (Centre):

Malpractice is an activity or practice which deliberately contravenes procedures and regulations. It means that there are serious concerns about the integrity of the assessment or validity of certificates.

Examples of malpractice (centre):

  • Persistent failure to adhere to awarding body procedures
  • Contravention of examinations and inaccurate claims for certification
  • Falsification of documents Example of malpractice (learner):
  • Cheating of any nature by learners, including plagiarism
  • Deliberate misuse of an awarding body logo
  • Disobeying of examination regulations by leaner
  • Repeated maladministration

Definition of Maladministration:

Maladministration is any activity or practice that results in non-compliance with regulations, and requirements. This includes repeated mistakes due to poor administration e.g. inappropriate learner records.

  • Examples of maladministration:
  • Late registration of learners
  • Claiming certification for incorrect units.

Suspected malpractice or maladministration Reporting

Anyone who identifies or becomes aware of suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration at any time must immediately notify the Centre Management in writing/email and enclose any supporting evidence. All notifications must include (if possible):

  • Learner’s name
  • Details of the course/qualification affected or nature of the service affected
  • Nature of the suspected or actual malpractice/maladministration and associated dates
  • Details and outcome of any initial investigation, anybody else involved, including any mitigating circumstances

If BCE conducts an initial informal investigation prior to formally notifying the Awarding Organisation, BCE will make sure staff involved in the initial investigation are competent and have no personal interest in the outcome of the investigation. However, it is important to note that in all instances BCE will immediately notify the Awarding Organisation if they suspect malpractice or maladministration.

A person making an allegation of malpractice/maladministration may want to remain anonymous.

Although it is preferable to reveal your identity and contact details; if you are concerned about possible adverse consequences you may ask us not to divulge your identity.

While BCE are prepared to investigate issues reported anonymously, we will try to confirm an allegation by means of a separate investigation before taking up the matter with those to whom the allegation relates.

On completion of an investigation, BCE will produce a draft report for the parties concerned to check the factual accuracy. Any subsequent amendments will be agreed between the parties concerned and ourselves. The report will:

  • Identify where the breach, if any, occurred
  • Confirm the facts of the case
  • Identify who is responsible for the breach (if any)
  • Confirm an appropriate level of remedial action to be applied

BCE will make the final report available to the parties concerned and to the regulatory authorities and other external stakeholders as required.
If it was an independent/third party that notified BCE of the suspected or actual case of malpractice, we will also inform them of the outcome – normally within 10 working days of making our decision – in doing so we may withhold some details if to disclose such information would breach a duty of confidentiality or any other legal duty.

If the investigation confirms that malpractice or maladministration has taken place BCE will consider what action to take in order to:

  • Minimise the risk to the integrity of certification now and in the future
  • Maintain public confidence in the delivery and awarding of qualifications
  • Discourage others from carrying out similar instances of malpractice or maladministration
  • Ensure there has been no gain from compromising our standards
  • Amending aspects of our qualification assessment and/or monitoring arrangements and associated guidance to prevent the issue from reoccurring
  • Informing relevant third parties of our findings in case they need to take action in relation to BCE

Examples of malpractice

Examples of Centre and Learner malpractice include:

  • Denial of access to any authorised regulatory authorities to premises, records, information, Learners and staff
  • Deliberate failure to carry out internal assessment, moderation or quality assurance activities in accordance with the Awarding Organisations requirements
  • Intentionally withholding information from Awarding Organisation which is critical to maintaining the quality assurance and standards of our qualifications
  • Deliberate failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims or forgery of evidence
  • Deliberate failure to adhere to the Awarding Organisations Learner registration, submission of results and certification procedures
  • Fraudulent claim for certificates
  • Deliberate misuse of logo’s or misrepresentation of BCE’s relationship with Awarding Organisations or its recognition and approval status
  • Persistent instances of maladministration within the Centre
  • Deliberate failure to adhere to, or to circumnavigate, the requirements of the Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy
  • Creation of false records
  • Cash for certificates, e.g. selling certificates for cash
  • Extortion
  • Fraud
  • Deliberate contravention by staff and/or its Learners of the assessment arrangements the Awarding Organisation specify for our qualifications
  • False ID used at the registration stage
  • Impersonation of a Learner for an assessment
  • Selling assessment materials
  • A loss, theft of, or a breach of confidentiality in, any assessment materials
  • Unauthorised amending, copying or distributing of assessment papers/materials
  • Inappropriate assistance to Learners by Centre staff, e.g. helping them to pass a unit or qualification
  • Plagiarism by Learners or Centre staff
  • The unauthorised use of inappropriate materials/equipment in assessment settings, e.g. mobile phones
  • Collusion or permitting collusion during assessments
  • Copying from another Learner, including by using IT
  • Deliberate submission of false information to gain a qualification or unit

Note: This list is not exhaustive and is only intended as guidance

Examples of maladministration

Examples of Centre and Learner maladministration include:

  • Persistent failure to adhere to Awarding Organisation’s Learner registration, submission of results and certification procedures
  • Persistent failure to adhere to the Awarding Organisation’s Centre recognition and/or qualification requirements and/or associated actions assigned to the Centre
  • Unreasonable delays in responding to requests and/or communications from the Awarding Organisation
  • Inaccurate claim for certificates
  • Failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims or forgery of evidence
  • Withholding information, by deliberate act or omission, from the Awarding Organisation
  • Misuse of a logo or misrepresentation of a Centre’s relationship with an Awarding Organisation or its recognition and approval status
  • Failure to adhere to, or to circumnavigate, the requirements of the Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy

Definition of Plagiarism:

Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.

Examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying sections of work from a friend
  • Copy & pasting from internet or copying from a textbook, without citing the source

Action:

All suspected or alleged cases of malpractice, maladministration or plagiarism will be reported and investigated. If the investigation confirms the act has taken place, depending on the gravity and scope of incident, one or more of the following actions may be taken:

  • Disallowing all or part of a learner’s assessment evidence or marks

The learner’s certificates will not be issued or in the case where certificates have been issued, certificates will be invalid & withdrawn

  • No further registrations accepted for the learner

Staff would face disciplinary and retraining or in severe circumstance, employment terminated.