Policy Ref GP3
Date of Issue 01/10/2020
Next Scheduled Review 01/08/2021
Policy Owner Quality and Compliance Manager
Contact Email quality@tquk.org
Contact Phone Number 03333583344
Approved by Leadership 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, Sanctions Policy

Introduction

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

If an individual feels that they have encountered a level of service that is below their expectations, that concern should be raised with TQUK immediately.

TQUK Internal Responsibility

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

Review arrangements

We will review the 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 and Compliance 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 Leadership Team.

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

Training Provider / Recognised Centre Responsibility

TQUK suggests that all Training Provider or Recognised Centre staff involved in the delivery, management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications (including End-Point Assessments),  and their Learners/Apprentices and Employers, are fully aware of the contents of this policy.

A Recognised Centre must have a complaints handling procedure in place.

Feedback

TQUK welcomes all comments, suggestions and feedback related to its services, positive and negative. TQUK takes all such feedback seriously and is committed to improving its offering wherever shortcomings are identified.

If you wish to express dissatisfaction with an element of our service, but do not expect any further action to be taken and a remedial solution offered, we invite you to do so by contacting us via email to account.managers@tquk.org.

If you do expect TQUK to take remedial steps, please follow the process below for submitting a Formal Complaint.

Formal Complaints

A Formal Complaint is a written statement of dissatisfaction with a service offered directly by TQUK or indirectly by a Recognised Centre or Training Provider involved in the delivery, management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications (including End-Point Assessments) where an individual or organisation expects TQUK to take some form of remedial action.

We view complaints as a learning tool, and are committed to addressing any concerns raised and learning from any mistakes we make.

If you wish to appeal a decision made by TQUK as you have cause to believe TQUK has not followed its procedures and processes correctly, please see the TQUK 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 has reason to believe malpractice or maladministration may have taken place at a TQUK Recognised Centre, during the delivery of an End-Point Assessment where TQUK is the End-Point Assessment Organisation, or by a Learner or Apprentice registered with TQUK, they should refer to the TQUK Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.

Who can make a Formal Complaint?

1.
A Recognised Centre or other centres who have encountered a direct or indirect service from TQUK

A TQUK Recognised Centre, or a centre offering courses or qualifications that has encountered a direct or indirect service from TQUK, may make a Formal Complaint if it believes that a service has fallen short of its expectations and wishes TQUK to take some form of remedial action.

2.
A Training Provider

A Training Provider involved in the management of Apprentices undertaking EndPoint Assessment with TQUK may make a Formal Complaint if it believes that a service has fallen short of its expectations and wishes TQUK to take some form of remedial action.

Note that if a Training Provider wishes to appeal the assessment decision of an Apprentice, as it believes TQUK has not followed the correct process and procedure, the Appeals Policy should be used.

3.
A Learner undertaking a TQUK qualification or endorsed course of learning

A Learner undertaking a TQUK qualification or endorsed course of learning with a Recognised Centre may make a Formal Complaint to TQUK if they have complained directly to the Recognised Centre and are unhappy with the response received.

A Learner must have fully engaged with a Recognised Centre’s complaints process before contacting TQUK, and be able to provide TQUK with the details of having done so.

4.
An Apprentice undertaking End-Point Assessment with TQUK, or an Employer of an Apprentice undertaking End-Point Assessment with TQUK

An Apprentice or the Employer of an Apprentice undertaking End-Point Assessment with TQUK may make a Formal Complaint if they believe that a service has fallen short of their expectations and wishes TQUK to take some form of remedial action.

If an Apprentice or Employer believes procedures have not been applied fairly and consistently in arriving at a judgement of attainment, they may instead wish to contest this decision and should consult the TQUK Appeals Policy on how to do so.

If an Apprentice or an Employer wishes to make a complaint about their Training Provider, they should do so directly to the Training Provider. As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, TQUK is not associated with the on-programme training of Apprentices, unless they are also undertaking a TQUK qualification, in which case point 3 applies.

How can I make a Formal Complaint?

1.
Recognised Centres, Training Providers and other centres who have encountered a direct or indirect service from TQUK.

Before making a Formal Complaint, a Recognised Centre, Training Provider or centre should first contact TQUK at the earliest opportunity. If it prefers, an organisation can request to speak to a TQUK manager.

If the help provided by TQUK is not satisfactory, or the Recognised Centre, Training Provider or centre wishes a process to be carried out whereby remedial steps may be agreed, the organisation will be asked to complete and return the TQUK Formal Complaints Form, which will be provided on request as described in the ‘Formal Complaints Process’ section below.

TQUK usually expects this to be within two weeks of the event taking place about which the complaint is regarding, and reserves the right not to investigate a complaint if the event occurred too long ago to make a thorough investigation practical, or if events have progressed in such a way as to make remedial steps ineffective.

2.
Learners undertaking a TQUK regulated qualification or endorsed course of learning

Before making a Formal Complaint to TQUK, an individual must have complained directly to the Recognised Centre at which they are a Learner. If they have not received an adequate response, or are dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint and believe it was not handled in the line with the Recognised Centre’s complaints process, they should contact TQUK. The Learner will be asked to
complete and return the TQUK Formal Complaints Form, which will be provided on request as described in the ‘Formal Complaints Process’ section below.

TQUK usually expects this to be within two weeks of the conclusion of the Recognised Centre’s complaints process, and reserves the right not to investigate a complaint if the event occurred too long ago to make a thorough investigation practical, or if events have progressed in such a way as to make remedial steps ineffective.

If a Learner has not received an acknowledgement from a Recognised Centre following initiating a complaint with one, they should make a Formal Complaint to TQUK if they have received no acknowledgment within two weeks.

3.
An Apprentice undertaking End-Point Assessment with TQUK, or an Employer of an Apprentice undertaking End-Point Assessment with TQUK

Before making a Formal Complaint, an Apprentice or Employer should first contact TQUK at the earliest opportunity and ask to speak to a member of the End-Point Assessment Team.

If the help provided by TQUK is not satisfactory, or the Apprentice or Employer wishes a process to be carried out whereby remedial steps may be agreed, they will be asked to complete and return the TQUK Formal Complaints Form, which will be provided on request as described in the ‘Formal Complaints Process’ section below.

TQUK usually expects this to be within two weeks of the event taking place about which the complaint is regarding, and reserves the right not to investigate a complaint if the event occurred too long ago to make a thorough investigation practical, or if events have progressed in such a way as to make remedial steps ineffective.

The Complainant

For the purposes of this document, the Complainant is considered to be the person or organisation who completes and submits the TQUK Formal Complaints Form as outlined in the ‘Formal Complaint Process’ section below.

Confidentiality

Where a Learner wishes to make a Formal Complaint about a Recognised Centre, it is not possible to investigate such a complaint anonymously, as the primary purpose of such a complaint is to investigate if the Recognised Centre has acted fairly and in accordance with its published complaints procedure.

If an individual has reason to believe malpractice or maladministration may have taken place at a TQUK Recognised Centre, during the delivery of an End-Point Assessment where TQUK is the End-Point Assessment Organisation, or by a Learner or Apprentice registered with TQUK, they should refer to the TQUK Malpractice and Maladministration Policy. This policy outlines a process through which an allegation may be made or investigated anonymously.

The Formal Complaint Process

The Complainant must complete and return the TQUK Formal Complaints Form to begin the process. The Complainant should endeavour to clearly set out the reason for their complaint in the form. The form should contain a list of the supporting documents to be considered, which should include, but is not limited to:

  • Names of all individuals involved
  • A timeline of activities
  • Evidence of using a Recognised Centre’s complaints process (where applicable)

The Complainant is encouraged to submit any relevant evidence they believe may inform the case to TQUK.

If the Complainant is a Learner complaining about a Recognised Centre, this must include the contents and outcome of a complaint carried out relating to the issue with the Recognised Centre, and the Complainant is encouraged to include transcripts and email threads of any relevant communications where possible.

TQUK will acknowledge receipt of a Formal Complaint within 2 working days, responding with details of who is investigating the matter.

TQUK aims to complete its investigation within 10 working days. If a complaint is more complex, involves communicating with people who are not available at the time, or requires the collecting of information which is not immediately available, this may be extended. If such a step is necessary, the Complainant will be informed of the revised timescale.

TQUK may contact any person involved within this period, such as the Complainant or any individual referenced in the complaint, to seek further information or clarification.

If the Complainant is a Learner complaining about a Recognised Centre and the requirement for having exhausted the Recognised Centre’s complaints process has not been met, the matter will be referred back to the Complainant who will be advised to proceed with that process.

Result of the Formal Complaint

At the end of its investigation, TQUK will write to inform the Complainant of the outcome.

TQUK will advise the Complainant, and, if relevant, an associated Recognised Centre, of proposed remedial actions.

Remedial steps may include but are not limited to:

  • An apology, where poor service is identified
  • An explanation as to how the processes and procedures which delivered the failing are to be improved
  • Training and development of TQUK staff

What if I am not happy with the reply?

If a Complainant remains dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint, they can request that it is reviewed by a TQUK manager. TQUK requests that within 2 weeks of receiving notification of the result of a Formal Complaint, a Complainant confirms to TQUK if they accept this decision or if they wish to proceed to a review. If no response has been received from the Complainant within this time TQUK will consider the decision to have been accepted and the matter closed.

The purpose of this review will be to ascertain if the correct process was followed in handling the Formal Complaint, and will be conducted by a TQUK manager or team leader not involved in the original process.

TQUK will notify the Complaint of the result of this review within 5 working days of being instructed to carry it out.

If the Complainant continues to remain dissatisfied, the ‘Further Avenues’ section below describes a complaint to the appropriate regulator. There is no further avenue for complaint for a Learner undertaking an endorsed course of learning.

Unreasonable Communications

Whilst TQUK is committed to thoroughly investigating every Formal Complaint raised, we will not accept vexatious, persistent or abusive correspondence or communications which do not present new information or evidence once the complaints process is concluded.

In such circumstances, you will be informed of our decision and of any restrictions we wish to impose. These restrictions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Limiting contact to a named member of staff
  • Only accepting certain types of correspondence, for example, written in an email
  • Placing a restriction on when contact can be made
  • Only responding to correspondence if significant new information is raised.

Consequences of Complaints about Recognised Centres

Where a Formal Complaint identifies serious shortcomings in the processes of a Recognised Centre, or highlight a failure to meet aspects of TQUK’s delivery requirements and/or the standards set by the regulatory authorities in respect of regulated qualifications, TQUK may impose sanctions on a Recognised Centre, as outlined in the TQUK Sanctions Policy.

TQUK may review the planned monitoring frequency of a Recognised Centre if a complaint related to a Recognised Centre identifies shortcomings, to ascertain if increased monitoring should be applied and support offered.

TQUK will not update a Complainant where sanctions have been imposed on a Recognised Centre or increased monitoring applied.

Continuous Improvement

In situations where a complaint has highlighted a failure in TQUK processes, appropriate action will be taken to improve the relevant processes. This may include but is not limited to:

  • 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.
  • in extreme circumstances, internal disciplinary procedures may be exercised where the performance or behaviour of TQUK staff members is deemed unacceptable.

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.

Further Avenues

If a Complainant remains dissatisfied with the outcome of a Formal Complaint which has been reviewed by a TQUK manager, a complaint may be made to the regulators. TQUK can provide advice on who to contact and which regulator is applicable to the case.

A Complainant who remains dissatisfied following a complaint to TQUK in relation to a Regulated Qualification delivered by a Recognised Centre based in England can complain to Ofqual using the below contact details:

By Email to public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk
By Letter to:
Complaints – Ofqual, Earlsdon Park, 53-55 Butts Road, Coventry, CV1 3BH

A Complainant who remains dissatisfied following a complaint to TQUK in relation to a Regulated Qualification delivered by a Recognised Centre based in Wales can complain to Qualifications Wales using the below contact details:

Online at www.ombudsman.wales/making-a-complaint/
By telephone on 0300 790 0203

A Complainant who remains dissatisfied following a complaint to TQUK in relation to a Regulated Qualification delivered by a Recognised Centre based in Northern Ireland can complain to the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) using the below contact details:

Through the online complaints form via the website www.ccea.org.uk
By Telephone on 028 9026 1200
By Email to complaints@ccea.org.uk

*In all of these cases the regulator will seek to confirm that TQUK’s complaints procedures have been followed correctly. In all but exceptional circumstances, it will also be necessary for the Complainant to have completed the full TQUK Formal Complaints process before a complaint will be accepted by the regulators.

A Complainant who remains dissatisfied following a complaint to TQUK in relation to End-Point Assessment can complain to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) using the below contact details:

By Email to complaints.ESFA@education.gov.uk
By Letter to:
Complaints team, Education and Skills Funding Agency, Cheylesmore House, Quinton
Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT

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