Policy Ref GP3
Date of Issue 01/11/2019
Next Scheduled Review 01/08/2020
Policy Owner Head of Quality and Compliance
Contact Email quality@tquk.org
Contact Phone Number 03333583344
Approved by Senior Management Team
Policy Relates to: Awarding Provision, End-Point Assessment Provision, Endorsed Provision, Corporate
Policy is for the use of: TQUK Employees, Third Parties, Recognised Centres, Training Providers, Learners, Apprentices
Should be read in conjunction with: Appeals Policy, Malpractice and Maladministration Policy

Introduction

This document explains Training Qualification UK’s complaints procedures and is provided for Recognised Centres, Training Providers, Learners, Apprentices and all interested parties who encounter a direct or indirect service from Training Qualifications UK. TQUK value all our partners and our aim, every day is to exceed the expectations of our customers.

If a Recognised Centre, Training Provider, Learner or Apprentice feels that they have encountered a level of service that is below their expectations, that concern should be raised with TQUK immediately. We view complaints as a learning tool, and are committed to addressing any concerns raised and learning from mistakes we make.

TQUK Internal Responsibility

The Quality Assurance Department is responsible for the maintenance and compliance of this policy.  If the Head of Quality and Compliance is absent, the Responsible Officer will appoint another member of the Senior Managament Team to ensure all TQUK’s actions and activities are in line with the content of this policy.

Review arrangements

We will review this policy annually as part of our self-evaluation process and revise it as and when necessary in response to feedback or requests. We may also update this policy as part of good practice guidance issued by the regulatory authorities (e.g. to align with any complaints processes established by the regulatory authorities such as Ofqual).

The annual review of this policy will be undertaken by the Quality Assurance Department approximately  four weeks prior to the submission of TQUK’s Statement of Compliance to Ofqual. Any amendments or updates to this policy will be approved by TQUK’s Senior Management Team.

If you have any points or feedback regarding this policy, please contact us via the details provided at the start of this policy.

Scope

This policy covers complaints from individual or organisation made in relation to the qualifications and associated services offered by TQUK.

It is not to be used to cover enquiries about services offered by TQUK or appeals in relation to decisions made by TQUK which is covered by TQUK’s Appeals Policy. Should a complaint be submitted, which is in fact an appeal, TQUK will respond to inform the relevant party that the issue is being considered in accordance with TQUK’s Appeals Policy.

If an individual is unhappy about the way an examination or assessment was delivered or conducted, and they suspect malpractice may have occurred, they must inform TQUK. This will be investigated in accordance with TQUK’s Malpractice/Maladministration Policy.

Recognised Centre Responsibility

TQUK suggest that centre staff members involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of TQUK qualifications, and learners, are made aware of the contents of this policy. A Recognised Centre must have a complaints handling procedure and appeals process in place.

How should I complain? 

All TQUK staff members have been trained to help customers. If a centre, learner or customer has a complaint, they should first try to sort out any problem at the earliest opportunity, by speaking to a staff member of TQUK. If preferred, a centre, learner or customer can request to speak to a TQUK Manager.

If this is not possible, or if the help provided by the Manager is not satisfactory, please send a written complaint, (we would normally expect this to be within two weeks of the event taking place that they complaint is regarding), and address it to the Quality Assurance Department using the contact details outlined at the start of this policy.

Anyone wishing to make a complaint against a Recognised Centre must first exhaust the complaints procedure with the specific centre. If all channels have been explored, learners can make a direct complaint to the Quality Assurance Department at TQUK.

If I complain what details do I have to give?

TQUK will request the complainant’s full name and contact details including a daytime telephone number along with:

  • a full description of your complaint (including the subject matter and dates and times if known)
  • any names of the people you have dealt with so far
  • copies of any papers, email, letters or documents relevant to the complaint

Complaints brought to our attention by the regulators

Where the regulators notify TQUK about failures that have been discovered in the assessment process or other activities of another awarding organisation, these will be reviewed in the same manner as other external complaints in accordance with the procedures below, to ascertain if the same issue could affect TQUK qualifications.

Confidentiality and Whistleblowing 

TQUK will investigate any issues or complaints that are reported anonymously.

TQUK will consider each disclosure of information sensitively and carefully, and decide upon an appropriate response.

TQUK will always aim to keep a whistleblower’s identity confidential when asked to do so, although we cannot guarantee this and we may need to disclose identity to:

  • the police, fraud prevention agencies or other law enforcement agencies (to investigate or prevent crime, including fraud)
  • the courts (in connection with court proceedings) another person to whom we are required by law to disclose your identity
  • other third parties where we consider it necessary to do so (e.g. the regulators)

A whistleblower should also recognise that he or she may be identifiable by others due to the nature or circumstances of the disclosure (e.g. the party which the allegation is made against may manage to identify possible sources of disclosure without such details being disclosed to them)

In most cases, TQUK will keep a complainant updated as to the progress of any allegation (e.g. if an investigation is being undertaken). TQUK will not disclose details of an investigation. In addition, it may not be appropriate for TQUK to disclose full details of the outcomes of any investigation, due to confidentiality or legal reasons.

What will happen to my complaint?

TQUK will acknowledge receipt of a complaint within 48 hours, with details of who is investigating the complaint.

TQUK will investigate any complaint within 10 working days. If a complaint is more complex, or involves people who are not available at the time, this may be extended to 15 working days. TQUK may contact any person involved within this period to seek further information or clarification. At the end of the investigation TQUK shall write/email to inform the complainant of the decision.

Information gathered during the complaints process may also be used by TQUK as evidence to inform and review our approach to the development, delivery and award of qualifications.

What happens if my complaint is upheld?

If any part of the complaint is upheld, TQUK will respond to the complainant accordingly and give due consideration to how any improvement can be made in the future. For example,  by reviewing procedures to assess the impact on TQUK arrangements and assessment process (if relevant) or arranging for staff training. In extreme circumstances, internal disciplinary procedures may be exercised where the performance or behaviour of TQUK staff members is deemed inappropriate.

In situations where a complaint has been successful and indicates a failure in TQUK assessment processes, appropriate action will be taken. This may include:

  • identifying any other learner who has been affected by that failure;
  • correcting, or where it cannot be corrected, mitigating as far as possible the effect of the failure, and;
  • ensuring that the failure does not recur in the future
  • reviewing planned monitoring frequency of the centre, if an upheld complaint related to a centre, to ascertain if increased monitoring and/or support should be applied

What if I am not happy with the reply?

If a complainant disagrees with a decision, this can be discussed with TQUK’s Quality Assurance Department.

If the complainant is still unhappy with the decision taken by TQUK in reviewing the complaint, they can then take the matter through TQUK’s appeal arrangements which are outlined in the Appeals Policy.

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