This policy is aimed at our customers, including students, who are delivering/enrolled on or have taken an International Fitness Alliance approved certificate or qualification. It sets out the process you should follow when submitting appeals to us and the process we will follow when responding to enquiries and appeals. It is also for use by our staff to ensure they deal with all appeals in a consistent manner.
Our staff is involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications and your learners are aware of the contents of the policy.
In addition, we have internal appeal arrangements, which learners can access if they wish to appeal against a decision taken by IFA. If an individual wishes to appeal against a decision taken by us it must first of all go through the appeals process.
Areas Covered by the Policy
This policy covers:
· Appeals from students and/or any concerned individual in relation to an assessment decision on the basis that we did not apply procedures consistently or those procedures were not followed properly and fairly.
· Appeals from students and/or any individual concerning the contents of IFA’s monitoring report.
· Appeals from students and/or any concerned individual relating to IFA’s decision to decline a request to make reasonable adjustments or give special considerations
· Appeals from students in relation to the application by IFA of a sanction/ action on a Center resulting from a verification visit or an investigation into malpractice or maladministration or a decision to amend a student/set of student results following a malpractice or malpractice investigation
· Appeals from any individual relating to a decision made by IFA following an investigation into a complaint.
· Appeals if you believe we have not applied our procedures consistently or those procedures were not followed properly, consistently and fairly.
Process for Raising an Appeal
We will have 20 working days from the date we noticed you of the decision you are appealing against in which to lodge an appeal against our decision - this includes assessment results; hence we advise you to retain the course evidence until we receive the result.
If you appeal on behalf of another student you must ensure that you have obtained the written permission of the student(s) concerned as results can go down as well as up as a result of an investigation.
Students should complete the Appeals form in order to submit an Appeal on behalf of a student and in doing so supply relevant supporting information such as the following where relevant:
· Student’s name and IFA registration number,
· Title or subject of the complaint affected or nature of service affected (if appropriate),
· Full nature of the appeal,
Contents and outcome of any investigation carried out by you relating to the issue.
This document sets out our complaints policy and procedure and is aimed at our organization, learners and all interested parties who encounter a direct or indirect service from Focus Awards.
We value all the organization delivering our qualifications and the students who undertake them and our aim every day is to exceed the expectations of our customers.
We are confident of providing a high quality service and would be extremely disappointed if this is not the case.
Therefore, it is important should you feel you have encountered a level of service that is below both yours and our expectations that you raise any concerns you may have with us immediately so that we may address them and learn lessons.
This policy covers complaints students, members of the public or other organizations may wish to make in relation to the qualifications and associated services offered by IFA
These areas are covered by our appeals policy. Should a complaint be submitted which is in fact an enquiry or an appeal we will respond to inform the relevant party that the issue is being considered, where appropriate, in accordance with the approach outlined in our customer service statement or appeals policy.
If you are unhappy about the way an examination or assessment was delivered and conducted and you suspect malpractice or maladministration may have occurred you should send your concern to us in accordance with the arrangements in our malpractice and maladministration policy.
IFA will take all responsible steps to ensure that our staff is involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications, and students are aware of the contents of this policy. If an individual is unhappy about a service or activity being delivered by IFA it must first of all go through our complaints process before bringing the matter to court.
How Should I Complain?
Here at IFA all of our customer service staff are friendly, approachable and only too happy to help you, therefore you should first try to sort out any problem at the earliest opportunity by speaking to the person who dealt with you in the first instance. Alternatively students can raise and/ or submit a compliant form, which can be found at the end of this policy.
If you feel the customer service staff have not been able to deal with your complaint satisfactorily and you wish to speak to someone else, you can ask to speak to our relevant Head of department.
However, students can make the complaint directly to our Head Department in exceptional circumstances where they feel there was a significant breach by the administration staff of our various procedures or the relationship with the assigned staff has become untenable.
If I complain what details do I have to give?
When you contact us, please give us your full name, 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 or staff you have dealt with so far
· Copies of any papers or letters to do with the complaint
Sometimes a complainant will wish to remain anonymous. However, it is always preferable to reveal your identity and contact details to us, and if you are concerned about possible adverse consequences please inform us that you do not wish for us to divulge your identity.
While we are prepared to investigate issues which are reported to us anonymously we shall always try to confirm an allegation by means of a separate investigation before taking up the matter with those the complaint/allegation relates.
What will happen to my complain?
We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 48 hours and we will advise you which member of the IFA team will be investigating your complaint.
Our Head of Customer Support will be responsible for ensuring the investigation is carried out in a prompt and effective manner and in accordance with the procedures in this policy and will allocate a relevant member of our staff to lead the investigation and establish whether or not the issue relating to the complaint has occurred.
We aim to investigate the complaint within 5 working days; however, if your complaint is more complex, or involves people who are not available at the time, we may extend this to 10 working days. We may contact you within this period to seek further information or clarification (in some instances we may recommend a meeting) and inform you of any extended deadlines. At the end of the investigation we shall write/email to inform you of our decision.
· This policy is aimed at our staff and students, who are delivering/enrolled on or have taken an International Fitness Alliance approved qualification or unit. It sets out our intention to deliver a service and range of qualifications that are fair, accessible and do not include any unnecessary barriers to entry.
· Our staff is involved in the delivery of our qualifications and our students are fully aware of the contents of the policy (e.g. via their induction when first embarking on International Fitness Alliance qualifications).
· We will review the policy annually and revise it as and when necessary in response to customer and learner feedback, changes in our practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external agencies or changes in legislation. If you would like to feedback any views please contact us via the details provided at the end of this policy.
Areas Covered by the Policy
· International Fitness Alliance Staff – Our Staff commits to incorporating specific and appropriate duties in respect of implementing the equal opportunities policy into job descriptions and work objectives of all staff. IFA will also provide equality training and guidance as appropriate to our staff.
· Qualification Development – International Fitness Alliance will ensure that there are no features that could disadvantage any groups of students that share a particular characteristic or barriers to entry other than those directly related to the purpose of the units or qualifications. Where IFA has identified such a feature it will remove the disadvantage or barrier, which is unjustifiable.
· Students- IFA expects its students to have equal access to training and assessment for qualifications irrespective of their sex, marital status, age, religion, colour, race, nationality or ethnic origin or disability. Assessment must similarly be undertaken without discrimination. Students are required to have in place a policy to ensure that such discrimination does not occur directly, indirectly or as a result of pressure from other bodies. This policy should apply to all satellite/associated venues and there should be arrangements in place to monitor its application and effectiveness.
This policy is aimed at our customers, including students, who are delivering/registered on IFA approved qualifications or units within or outside Qatar and who are involved in suspected or actual malpractice/maladministration. It is also for use by our staff to ensure they deal with all malpractice and maladministration investigations in a consistent manner.
Our staff is involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications, and our students, are fully aware of the contents of the policy and that our Centre has arrangements in place to prevent and investigate instances of malpractice and maladministration.
A failure to report suspected or actual malpractice/ maladministration cases, or have in place effective arrangements to prevent such cases, may lead to sanctions being imposed in IFA.
Should an investigation be undertaken into our Centre, it is our responsibility to
· Ensure that investigation is carried out by competent investigators who have no personal involvement in the incident or interest in the outcomes.
· Ensure the investigation is carried out in an effective, prompt and thorough manner and that the investigator(s) look beyond the immediate reported issues to assure that arrangements at our Centre are appropriate for all qualifications.
· Respond speedily and openly to all requests relating to the allegation and/or investigation.
· Cooperate and ensure that our staff cooperates fully with any investigation and/or request for information.
Examples of Maladministration
The categories listed below are examples of IFA’s staff and student maladministration.
· Persistent failure to adhere to our student registration and certification procedures.
· Persistent failure to adhere to recognition and/or qualification requirements and/or associated actions assigned.
· Late student registrations (both infrequent and persistent).
· Unreasonable delays in responding to requests and/or communications.
· Inaccurate claim for certificates.
· Late student certification requests (e.g. beyond the certification end date for the qualification).
· Failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/or forgery of evidence.
· Misuse of our logo and trademarks or misrepresentation of IFA’s relationship with other organizations.
· Poor administration arrangements and/or records.
Examples of Malpractice
The categories listed below are examples of IFA’s staff and student malpractice.
· Denial of access to premises, records, information to legal authorities.
· Deliberate misuse of our logo and trademarks or misrepresentation of IFA’s relationship with other organizations.
· Plagiarism by students/staff
· Copying from another students during assessment or any similar activities.
· Tolerating any form of cheating and collusion by learners/staff
· Personation - assuming the identity of another student or having someone assume their identity during an assessment
· Fraudulent claim for certificates and/or deliberate submission of false information to gain a qualification or unit
· Deliberate failure to adhere to our student registration and certification procedures
· Deliberate failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/ or forgery of evidence
· Students still working towards qualification after certification claims have been made,
· Selling certificates, assessment details for cash
· Any form of extortion and fraud
· Threatening or abusive behavior that threatens the safety of staff and students and/or is intended to put undue in influence on the outcomes of an assessment/award.
Process for Making an Allegation
Anybody who identifies or is made aware of suspected or actual cases of malpractice or maladministration at any time must immediately notify International Fitness Alliance. In doing so they should put them in writing/email and enclose appropriate supporting evidence.
All allegations must include (where possible):
· Centre’s name, address and number,
· Student’s name and registration number
· IFA’s staff details (name, job role) if they are involved in the case
· Details of the course/qualification affected or nature of the service affected
· Nature of the suspected or actual malpractice and associated dates
· Details and outcome of any initial investigation carried out by the IFA or anybody else involved in the case, including any mitigating circumstances.
Notifying Relevant Parties
In all cases we will tell the person who made the allegation who will be handling the matter, how they can contact them, what further assistance we may need from them and agree a timetable for feedback
In cases of suspected or actual malpractice or maladministration at a Centre, we will notify the head of our institution (except when the head or management is under investigation; in which case communication will be with your independent source) that we will be investigating the matter. In the case of student malpractice, IFA will investigate the issue in liaison with our own personnel.
Investigation Timelines and Summary Process
Where possible, IFA aim to complete the investigation within 10 working days of receipt of the allegation. Please note that in some cases the investigation may take longer; for example, if a Centre visit is required. In such instances, we’ll advise all parties concerned of the likely revised timescale.
The fundamental principle of all investigations is to conduct them in a fair, reasonable and legal manner, ensuring that all relevant evidence is considered without bias.
If appropriate, we may find that the complexity of a case or a lack of cooperation from a party means that we are unable to complete an investigation. In such circumstances we will consult the relevant regulatory authority in order to determine how best to progress the matter.
In addition we will ensure all material collected as part of an investigation is kept secure.
If the investigation confirms that malpractice or maladministration has taken place we will consider what action to take to:
· Minimize the risk to the integrity of students/staff and our management.
· Maintain public confidence
· Discourage others from carrying out similar instances of malpractice or maladministration,
· Ensure there has been no gain from compromising our standards.