Maladministration and Malpractice Policy

Overview

This policy forms part of a suite of Pro Safety Management (PSM) policies, all of which are designed to:

  • protect learners who are registered with us
  • minimise the risk of an adverse effect occurring
  • help support all parties in risk management and risk minimisation
  • help ensure PSM comply with all relevant legislation and guidance
  • help improve and refine our products and services.

This policy supports compliance with PSM Terms and Conditions of Licence and the Supplementary Conditions of Licence. Non-adherence to our training policies may constitute maladministration, malpractice and/or a breach of the Terms and Conditions.

This policy should be read in conjunction with:

  • the Terms and Conditions of Licence and Supplementary Conditions of Licence (where applicable)
  • the PSM Sanctions policy
  • the PSM Appeals policy
  • the PSM Complaints policy.

This policy assists PSM by outlining the framework for investigating and dealing with potential or actual cases of maladministration and/or malpractice. This is important in situations which could result in a detrimental effect to the learner and/or could potentially compromise the integrity of PSM qualifications, systems, processes or programmes.

PSM expects to identify, minimise and manage risks within the business. And in support of both PSM Terms and Conditions of Licence and risk management processes, PSM must have robust written procedures in place to minimise the risk of maladministration and/or malpractice from occurring.

These procedures will include details of how PSM will investigate and deal with any alleged, suspected or proven cases of maladministration and/or malpractice.

PSM aims to work with learners to prevent incidents of maladministration and malpractice occurring, through supporting visits and documentation. PSM expects to do everything possible to assist in identifying and undertaking all necessary steps to minimise any risk of recurrence.

PSM must ensure learners and their own staff (including satellite, sub-contract centres and contractual staff) who are involved in the design, delivery, management, assessment and quality assurance of PSM products are aware of, and familiar with, the contents of the policy.

Defining and outlining maladministration and malpractice

Maladministration and malpractice may disadvantage learners and may negatively affect the integrity of awarding. Below is a brief overview as to what may constitute maladministration or malpractice.

Maladministration

Maladministration is any activity or practice which results in non-compliance with the contents of PSM’s Terms and Conditions of Licence; Supplementary Conditions of Licence (where applicable); PSM approval criteria; PSM qualification or assessment requirements and/or other regulations and procedures.

Where possible, PSM will work with the customers in preventing maladministration from occurring. However, PSM have adequate systems in place and adhere to these systems. Reoccurring instances may be considered as malpractice and PSM reserve the right to investigate as such.

Malpractice

Malpractice is any activity or practice that is unethical and/or illegal which compromises, or could compromise the integrity, reputation and/or the validity of the assessment process, the programme, certificates, PSM or the wider education sector. Malpractice could occur at a learner, staff and/or PSM level. Malpractice may be more likely than maladministration to have greater implications for PSM and/or learners. As such, PSM treat all cases of potential malpractice very seriously.

Risks and notifications

PSM will consider risks caused by, maladministration and malpractice which could result in an adverse effect, such as: prejudice to learners or potential learners or public confidence in qualifications.

Identifying possible maladministration or malpractice

Anyone can come across an issue that they think could constitute potential maladministration or malpractice.

PSM may identify cases of maladministration and/ or malpractice through routine quality assurance processes. Unless there is a reason for PSM not to do so, they will notify you when we receive an allegation of maladministration or malpractice.

PSM may receive allegations of maladministration and/or malpractice from a person who wishes to remain anonymous and/or does not disclose any contact details. If PSM are provided with enough information, they may still investigate the allegation.

Informing PSM

The customer or learner can contact us via phone and/or send a written report of the alleged maladministration or malpractice. Please note that calls may be recorded for training and quality purposes.

We will ask you for some basic information, e.g. the dates of the alleged or suspected maladministration or malpractice; PSM details; the people involved; the title and number of the programme affected and/or the details of the alleged or actual maladministration or malpractice. We will need to understand whether other learners, PSM and/or Awarding Organisations may have been affected by the incident, as we may be required to inform the Qualifications Regulators.

Investigation of potential maladministration or malpractice

In line with the Terms and Conditions of Licence, you must take all reasonable steps to prevent maladministration and malpractice. PSM has robust procedures outlining how cases of maladministration or malpractice will be investigated, PSM expects all investigations undertaken to be rigorous, effective, proportionate, transparent and risk-based.

PSM will immediately advise IOSH of any allegation(s) of maladministration and/or malpractice. Any investigation undertaken must be impartial, thorough and conducted by someone with sufficient seniority who is independent from the incident. It is important that evidence relating to investigations is preserved.

PSM will carry out an investigation

Our investigation may include one or more of the following approaches:

  • telephoning and/or visiting you to establish facts
  • reviewing or collecting information to help us with our investigation
  • arranging for PSM’s external contractors to carry out a visit (we may charge a fee for this visit)
  • carrying out interviews (either face-to-face or by telephone) with people relevant to the investigation
  • requesting in writing any further information as necessary.

We will aim to access and retain original evidence or information. If original records cannot be retained, we will photocopy the original and record the copy as authentic.

IOSH may ask PSM to carry out internal investigation and produce a report. If so, we will tell you what we need you to do.

PSM reserves the right at any time and during an investigation to:

  • suspend your qualification in question
  • and any other licence
  • withhold results for external assessments
  • withhold claims for learner certification
  • suspend your approval
  • take any other necessary, appropriate and proportionate action.

Communicating the outcomes and/or findings from the investigation(s)

PSM will review all documents relating to the investigation for points of factual accuracy within 10 working days of receipt.

PSM will produce a report outlining the outcome and/ or findings of the above investigation(s). We will make an informed decision in determining whether maladministration and/or malpractice has occurred and, if so, the appropriate action to be taken and/or sanction(s) to be imposed.

For further information, see the PSM Sanctions policy.

PSM will inform the customer or learner of the decision and any action PSM will take.

If an external party had notified PSM of the allegation, they will be informed of the outcome of the investigation, but not of any information which may unduly breach confidentiality.

What can happen because of the investigation(s)?

If PSM establishes that maladministration and/or malpractice has occurred or, on the balance of probabilities, is highly likely to have occurred, PSM will take proportionate action to protect the learner(s), product(s) and reputation. PSM refers to these actions as Sanctions. For further information, refer to the PSM Sanctions policy.

What PSM will do:

  • take all reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate the impact and effects of maladministration and/or malpractice
  • support PSM staff and, where requested, provide them with guidance on how best to investigate, deal with and prevent maladministration and/or malpractice.
  • provide the customer or learner with a report/summary on the outcome of the investigation
  • apply appropriate sanctions in line with the PSM Sanctions policy
  • work with the customer as appropriate, to ensure that maladministration and/or malpractice do not reoccur
  • inform other relevant third parties as appropriate
  • retain records and documentation during and after the completion of investigations in line with data protection legislation
  • disclose to our Awarding Organisation any matter that may require Mandatory Disclosure
  • access confidential information where necessary
  • invoke the right under PSM Terms and Conditions of Licence Supplementary Conditions of Licence (where applicable)
  • terminate the relationship if deemed necessary

Reviewing the policy

This policy will be reviewed regularly and may be revised in response to the findings of any review. PSM will also review the policy in the event of: an incident and the ‘lessons learned’ require us to review, in line with our risk management practices, a change in legislation or statutory guidance; changes in PSM’s practices; actions or guidance from our regulatory or external agencies; and/or in response to customer and stakeholder feedback.

Complaints and appeals

Complainants have the right to express their dissatisfaction regarding PSM actions, products or services. The PSM Complaints policy outlines when PSM will and will not accept a complaint, and when PSM’s decisions are final.

See the PSM Complaints policy for more information.