Contents 


Introduction and Purpose 

This Policy applies to all RLSS UK staff, and all those responsible for the development, delivery, training, assessment and awarding of our qualifications.

Generally, conflicts of interest exist where an organisation, or an individual has competing interests which might impair it’s or their ability to make objective, unbiased decisions. RLSS UK recognises that the identification, management, and mitigation of conflicts of interest is therefore an important control mechanism to support good decision making.

There may be instances where events are not considered to be a conflict of interest but may still cause concern for the integrity of RLSS UK. The Responsible Officer will make decisions on the appropriate actions in all events and utilise a ‘lessons learned’ approach to promote best practice and make changes where necessary. RLSS UK have a duty to mitigate, reduce and remove where possible anything that may cause a conflict of interest.

RLSS UK adopts Ofqual’s definition of a conflict of interest, and from time to time we may be required to provide them or any other regulatory body with evidence that we are complying with their requirements in relation to conflicts of interest, and to prevent such conflict having an adverse effect on our qualifications and/ or candidates.


Definitions of a Conflict of Interest 

A conflict of interest exists in relation to an awarding organisation where –

(a) its interests in any activity undertaken by it, on its behalf, or by a member of its group have the potential to lead it to act contrary to its interests in the development, delivery and award of qualifications in a way that complies with its Conditions of Recognition

(b) a person who is connected to the development, delivery or award of qualifications by the awarding organisation has interests in any other activity which have the potential to lead that person to act contrary to his or her interests in that development, delivery or award in a way that complies with the awarding organisation’s Conditions of Recognition, or

(c) an informed and reasonable observer would conclude that either of these situations was the case.


Personal Interest 

A personal interest is a conflict of interest that relates to a particular individual. All conflict of interests that fall under part (b) of the definition above are personal interests, as are any perceived conflicts of interest under part (c) that relate to individuals, rather than to the awarding organisation itself. A personal interest can be financial or non-financial in nature.

Examples of where personal interest conflicts may be present and must be avoided include:

  • Where the person carrying out an assessment, investigation or appeal has any reason or incentive to make anything other than a good faith decision
  • A person conducting an alleged malpractice investigation has a personal relationship to the candidate accused of malpractice
  • A person may receive an incentive because of the number of appeals they uphold or rejected.

The above is not an exhaustive list.


Interests in Assessments 

Ofqual’s general conditions also requires that all reasonable steps must be taken to avoid any part of an assessment of a candidate to be undertaken by someone who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment. The condition requires that where all reasonable steps have been taken, and an assessment by someone with a personal interest cannot be avoided, the awarding organisation must make arrangements for the relevant part of the assessment to be subject to scrutiny by another person.

Hence, in any circumstances where there is a personal interest in an assessment, the approved training centre/provider, trainer, or assessors must make RLSS UK aware at the earliest opportunity.

All our ATC/P’s, trainers and assessors, must ensure they take all reasonable steps to avoid any part of the assessment of a candidate being undertaken by any person who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment.


Examples of where a conflict may occur 

  • Where staff and third parties that have access to confidential assessment information also have roles in teaching or assessing candidates in the subject area
  • Where staff and third parties that have access to confidential assessment information have a family member, friend or colleague who is due to take those assessments
  • Where employment, monetary gain, gifts or hospitality could be gained from a favourable decision made
  • Where a RLSS UK staff member / External Verifier has a professional interest in a RLSS UK ’ Recognised Approved Training Centre or provider ‘
  • Where an assessment and internal quality assurance activity conducted at a Centre is undertaken by the same person
  • Where an individual carries out a role or responsibility and also carries out a similar role or responsibility with a competing organisation
  • Where a contract does not include a confidentiality clause and the individual is involved in authoring or delivering assessments
  • Where a member of RLSS UK Board of Trustees or a Committee member has a professional interest in a RLSS UK Recognised ’ Approved Training Centre or provider ‘

This list is not exhaustive. Further examples can be found within the General Conditions of Recognition located here


Conflict of interest register 

On an annual basis RLSS UK will expect all its staff to complete a declaration (Appendix 1) to highlight any potential areas that could cause a conflict of interest to allow measures to be put in place to mitigate against this.

The declarations will be sent out and collected by the compliance team. Once all declarations have been received, they will be reviewed accordingly with appropriate measures being put in place to prevent any possible adverse effect.


Approved Training Center/ Provider Responsibilities

An Approved Training Centre/ Provider must comply with this Conflict of Interest Policy. They must also ensure that:

  • they are aware of and fully understand the information contained within this policy.
  • they take all reasonable steps to avoid or mitigate any potential Conflicts.
  • all staff understand what a Conflict of Interest is and what measures are in place to mitigate against it.
  • they maintain a record of potential Conflicts and what measures they have put in place to mitigate against them.
  • update records as and when necessary.
  • they contact [email protected] in any instance where a Conflict of Interest may potentially cause an Adverse Effect or if they are unsure and need guidance.

Suitable mitigations need to be put in place to manage Conflicts of Interest. Any areas of concern must be escalated as soon as possible to: [email protected] to prevent any potential adverse effects. See appendix 2 for report form

Examples of conflicts and how to mitigate against the conflict: 

Conflict

Mitigation

Trainer Assessor is related to the candidate (for trainer assessed qualifications)

An alternative Trainer Assessor should be sought

or

after exhausting all options, a suitably qualified independent person, must carry out a detailed IQA

Trainer and assessor work at the same venue (for independently assessed qualifications)

An alternative Assessor should be sought

or

after exhausting all options, a suitably qualified independent person, must carry out a detailed IQA

Trainer and assessor/ mentor have worked at the same venue within the last 3 months (for independently assessed qualifications)

An alternative Assessor should be sought

or

after exhausting all options, a suitably qualified independent person, must carry out a detailed IQA

A mentor for the presenting trainer or assessor has a personal relationship with a candidate.

Contact [email protected]

Every effort should be made to source an alternative mentor

 

A candidate on a course has or is being employed by the assessor following the completion of the qualification.

An alternative Assessor should be sought

or

after exhausting all options contact [email protected] for further guidance

 

 

Where two candidates are trainer assessors, they self-present and assess each other.

An alternative assessor should be sought who has no personal relationship with the candidates

Or

after exhausting all options, contact [email protected] for further guidance

 

 

The Internal Quality Assurer has a personal relationship with a candidate being assessed

Or

The Internal Quality Assurer has delivered training to a candidate that is being assessed.

An alternate suitably qualified independent person should be sought to carry out the Internal Quality Assurance check

 

This list is not exhaustive. In all instances where the ATC/P has put measures in place these should be recorded as detailed within this policy.

If we receive notice of a conflict and how the Centre is being mitigated, or managed, and we consider the mitigation/management of the conflict is not suitable, we will contact you to discuss this.


New staff, contractors and other third parties – RLSS UK

For new staff, contractors, or others, on joining The RLSS UK team will be asked to complete a declaration form which will be considered and managed through the normal process.


Changes to an individual’s circumstances – RLSS UK Staff & Third Parties 

Where any situation changes, and an individual moves positions, changes their role/employer etc, or has additional responsibilities they must re-appraise their position in respect of their role for RLSS UK and re-submit their conflicts of interest declaration. This revised declaration will be reviewed, and re-appraised by the compliance team and any mitigations re-considered and communicated with those individuals concerned at the time of submission of any changes. 


Non-disclosure of conflict of interest 

If a real or potential conflict of interest is found not to have been disclosed, then RLSS UK will consider the appropriateness of an investigation under its malpractice amount maladministration policy. 


Contact Details  

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 323 0096
Address: RLSS UK, Red Hill House, 227 London Road, Worcester, WR5 2JG.


Appendices

Appendix 1 - Conflict of Interest Declaration Form – RLSS UK Staff & Third Parties

Each member of our staff, including Board of Trustees and Stakeholders, must complete the following template to help ensure RLSS UK’s actively identifies and manages any potential conflicts of interest.

Appendix 2 - Approved Training Centre/ Provider conflict of Interest Reporting Form

This document should be completed where a potential/actual conflict of interest has been identified which may affect the integrity, validity of a qualification or assessment decisions or is contrary to RLSS UK Codes of Conduct and regulators’ Conditions of Recognition. Once completed please send to - [email protected] 

Last updated: February 2022