Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed in full annually   

The policy was last reviewed and agreed by Terry Patterson Quality Manager on 7th August 2023

It is due for review in August 2024


Policy Statement

Malpractice consists of those acts which undermine the integrity and validity of assessment, the certification of qualifications and/or damage the authority of those responsible for conducting the assessment and certification. This refers to acts and omissions made by staff or learners involved with the assessment process. Maladministration: Any actions, neglect, default or other practice that compromises the accreditation or quality assurance process including the integrity of accredited qualifications, the validity of any certificates, or the reputation and credibility of the accreditation process

  1. Scope

This policy and procedure relates to Academy staff malpractice/maladministration and applies to all internal assessments, and internal and external examinations.  Where awarding bodies have their own published procedures these will take precedent over the Academy policy.

  1. Legislation

The Human Rights Act 1998 applies to the operation of this policy.

  1. Responsibilities

4.1       All staff have a responsibility to give full and active support for the policy by ensuring the policy is known understood and implemented.

  1. Actions to Implement and Develop Policy

5.1       Line Managers should, at the appropriate time, introduce new members of staff to this policy.

5.2       We use robust internal moderation/verification procedures.

5.3       Customer Service and Recruitment Team and tutors should use the induction period, or other appropriate time, to introduce learners to this policy.

  1. Definitions and Examples

6.1       Academy staff malpractice/maladministration: Any deliberate action by a member of staff that has the potential to undermine the integrity of the assessment process.

The following are examples of malpractice/maladministration by Academy staff; this list is not exhaustive and other examples of malpractice/maladministration may be considered by the Academy at its discretion.

6.1.1    Improper assistance to candidates.

6.1.2    Inventing or changing marks for internally assessed work (course work or portfolio evidence) where there is insufficient evidence of the candidates’ achievement to justify the marks given or assessment decisions made.

6.1.3    Fraudulent submissions that could lead to false claims for certificates.

6.1.4    Inappropriate retention of certificates.

6.1.5    Producing falsified witness statements, for example for evidence the learner has not generated.

6.1.6    Allowing evidence, which is known by the staff member not to be the learner’s own, to be included in a learner’s assignment/task/portfolio/coursework?

6.1.7    Facilitating and allowing impersonation.

6.1.8    Misusing the conditions for special learner requirements, for example where learners are permitted support, such as amanuensis, this is permissible up to the point where the support has the potential to influence the outcome of the assessment.

6.1.9    Failing to keep assessment/examination/test papers secure prior to the assessment/examination test.

6.1.10 Falsifying records/certificates, for example by alteration, substitution, or by fraud.

6.2       Learner malpractice: Any action by the learner that has the potential to undermine the integrity and validity of the assessment of the learner’s work.

The following are examples of malpractice/maladministration by learners; this list is not exhaustive and other instances of malpractice/maladministration may be considered by the Academy at its discretion:

6.2.1    Plagiarism of any nature; in which case reference should be made to the Plagiarism Policy

6.2.2    Collusion by working collaboratively with other learners to produce work that is submitted as individual learner work.

6.2.3    Copying (including the use of ICT to aid copying).

6.2.4    Deliberate destruction of another’s work.

6.2.5    Fabrication of results or evidence.

6.2.6    False declaration of authenticity in relation to the contents of a portfolio or coursework

6.2.7    Impersonation by pretending to be someone else in order to produce the work for another or arranging for another to take one’s place in an assessment/examination.

  1. Procedures used to deal with the above


7.1       Where the Academy discovers or suspects an individual, or individuals, of malpractice/maladministration it will conduct an investigation in a form commensurate with the nature of the malpractice/maladministration allegation.

7.2       Such an investigation will be initially undertaken by the Quality Manager who will interview all personnel linked to the allegation.

7.3       The Academy will make the individual(s) aware (preferably in writing) at the earliest opportunity of the nature of the alleged malpractice/maladministration and of possible consequences should malpractice/maladministration be proven.

7.4       The investigation will proceed through the following stages:

7.4.1    Preliminary investigation, conducted by the Quality Manager or her representative, into the allegation to determine whether a full investigation is necessary. If the allegation appears to have substance, then all assessments by this member of staff should be halted until the investigation is complete

7.4.2    Should it be determined that a full investigation is necessary it shall be conducted by an independent Investigation Officer appointed by the Head of Business Development and Production.

7.5       During the investigation the Academy will give the individual the opportunity to respond to the allegations made.

7.6       All stages of the investigation shall be documented by the person leading the investigation.

7.7       The individual will be informed of the avenues for appealing against any judgments made.

7.8       The Investigation Officer shall produce a report of their findings for the attention of the Head of Business Development and Production.

7.9      For cases of staff malpractice/maladministration, the Head of Business Development and Production.will decide whether to invoke the Staff Disciplinary Procedure.

7.10     For cases of learner assessment malpractice, reference should be made by the Investigation Officer to any other relevant policies. 

7.11     Where the Investigating Officer report indicates that the learner assessment is suspect or flawed, then the Head of Business Development and Production will consider the appropriate penalties.


  1. Monitoring and Evaluation

8.1       Internal monitoring/verification of assessment activity will include malpractice/maladministration checks.

8.2       Evidence of both assessment and internal verification/moderation must be available for auditing.

  1. Reporting Suspected Cases of Malpractice/Maladministration


9.1       The academy must issue a report to the awarding body or investigating body containing a statement of the facts, a detailed account of the circumstances of alleged malpractice/maladministration, and details of any investigations carried out by the centre into the suspected case of centre malpractice/maladministration

9.2       The academy must collect written statements from staff and candidates involved — these should be signed by the interviewee(s) and dated.

9.3      The academy must provide any work of the candidate(s) and internal assessment or verification records relevant to the investigation

9.4      The academy must provide details of any remedial action we have identified as necessary to ensure the integrity of our certifications now and in the future

9.5       The academy must keep records of malpractice/maladministration for a minimum of 10 years


  1. Candidate right to appeal

10.1    The candidate can appeal any form of malpractice/maladministration to The Quality Manager or Academy. If this proves insufficient they can appeal to a panel formed of governors and staff from Free2Learn.

10.2     The candidate can appeal against the centre to any of our awarding bodies including SQA, Pearson and City and Guilds or any External agency if they feel an act of Malpractice/maladministration has taken place.

10.3     Centre Malpractice/maladministration with assessment can be in any of the following cases. 

  • Managers or others exerting undue pressure on staff to pass candidates who have not met the requirements for an award
  • Deliberate falsification of records in order to claim certificates
  • excessive direction from assessors to candidates on how to meet national


  • Failure to assess internally assessed unit or course assessment work fairly,

consistently and in line with national standards

  • Failure to apply specified SQA assessment conditions in assessments, such

as limits on resources or time available to candidates to complete their


  • Misuse of assessments, including repeated re-assessment contrary to

requirements, or inappropriate adjustments to assessment decisions

  • Failure to apply appropriate processes to ensure fairness in the provision of

assessment arrangements

  • Insecure storage, transmission or use of assessment instruments, materials

and marking instructions, resulting in a breach of assessment security

  • Failure to comply with requirements for accurate and safe retention of

candidate evidence, assessment and internal verification records

  • Failure to comply with SQA’s procedures for managing and transferring

accurate candidate data

  • Failing to register candidates within a qualification’s accreditation period
  • Making late registrations to the awarding body for qualifications in their

lapsing period

  • Requesting late certification of learners after the certification end date
  • Observing malpractice/maladministration in either learners or staff, and failing to report it, is also malpractice and will be reported as required by all boards.

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