Complaints Policy concerning Examinations
1. Issue and review
The date of issue of this policy is July 2018. This policy will be reviewed annually
2. Definition of a complaint
A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction about the provision of an examination or any other service provided by the awarding organisation or its representatives. A complaint is not defined as an appeal unless it concerns the decisions made by an individual Assessor, Examiner or Moderator, or a breach of examination or moderation procedures (please see Appeals Policy for the grounds for Appeal).
3. Who can complain?
Anyone who seeks or receives a service from UKAdance or its representatives may lodge a complaint under this Policy. Matters of concern may be raised individually or collectively and candidates, teachers or centre representatives should feel assured that they will not encounter any disadvantage having lodged a complaint in good faith.
Where there is reason to believe that a complaint is vexatious or malicious, the matter will be referred to the relevant person who may decide to reject the complaint without full consideration of its merits. Reasons will be given as to why the complaint is considered to be an abuse of process.
In the event of uncertainty about the scope of the Policy or if general advice is required on the most appropriate way to pursue a complaint, the candidate should contact UKAdance in the first instance for clarification. All stages of the Complaints procedure are internal proceedings.
Confidentiality will be preserved during the investigation of a complaint to safeguard the interests of everyone concerned unless disclosure is necessary to progress the complaint. UKAdance expects that all parties will respect the confidentiality of the process. Any individual about whom a complaint is made will have the right to be informed of the fact and nature of the complaint.
5. Procedure for complaints
Any complaint received by UKAdance will be treated as official unless the complainant informs UKAdance otherwise, within ten days of the original complaint made. All complaints must be made in writing to UKAdance, and clearly marked as such, to be deemed official. Complaints should be addressed to the Senior Exams Officer at the following address:
38 - 40 Station Road
Complaints are recorded and a copy of the complaint is sent to the person or persons about whom the complaint has been made for their response.
Complaints will be investigated in the first instance by the Head of Exams or the Head of Quality. Following the investigation a report will be made to the Quality Committee who will make a decision about whether the complaint should be upheld after reviewing all the evidence presented. The Quality Committee may decide to contact the candidate/teacher/centre representative and the person or persons about whom the complaint was made for further information.
UKAdance would expect to inform the complainant(s) of the outcome of an initial investigation within five days. For cases involving detailed investigation UKAdance will inform the complainant(s) within twenty days.
Should there be any delay in the process, Candidates, teachers and centre representatives will be informed of the revised timescale as soon as possible.
6. Unresolved complaints
Should the complainant be unhappy with the findings and decision of the Quality Committee several options are open.
If the complaint was related to an examination or assessment and they feel they have grounds for an appeal, they can make an official appeal to UKAdance using the Appeals Policy.
If the complaint was related to an instance of suspected malpractice, UKAdance may implement its Malpractice Policy and investigate the complaint in relation to malpractice or maladministration.
Candidates or teachers may also take their complaint if related to Regulated Grades to the relevant regulatory authority* if they are unsatisfied with the outcome of the investigation undertaken by UKAdance or at any time during the process.
*The regulatory authority for England and Northern Ireland is Ofqual, for Wales the Department for Education and Skills and for Scotland SQA Accreditation.
7. Centres who are public bodies in Scotland
Centres who are public bodies (e.g. schools, colleges etc) in Scotland are required to implement a documented complaints process which gives a clear procedure for complaints and includes reference to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). Please note that private examination centres in Scotland are not covered by the SPSO.
8. Monitoring the process
In order that UKAdance can improve services to candidates and other clients, the receipt of complaints and responses to them will be monitored. A regular report on the outcome of the monitoring process will be made to the Quality Committee via the Head of Quality. This will enable UKAdance to continuously improve its services and ensure an inclusive consistent and constructive approach to complaints. The effectiveness of the Complaints Policy will also be kept under review and, where appropriate, changes will be made.