My RLSS UK

Welcome to My RLSS UK, an online area dedicated to providing our qualification holders, members, stakeholders, and supporters with easy access to the latest industry safety guidance, policies, resources, and opportunities. As well as providing specialist information, the area signposts you to relevant services and features within your RLSS UK Account (powered by tahdah). 

Every individual, organisation, club, branch, and group in our community is invaluable to us, and we endeavour to provide solutions and added value wherever possible in the hope that you will become a lifelong ambassador of the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK). Together we can work towards the Charity's mission to be the leader in lifesaving and lifeguarding in the UK and Ireland. By sharing our combined expertise and knowledge, with as many people as possible, we can provide everyone with the potential to save lives and enjoy water safely. 

We hope you find the area useful, if you require further support please call 0300 323 0096 or email [email protected]. 

Contents


What does Malpractice and Maladministration mean?

Malpractice and maladministration are two distinct, but related, concepts.

In broad terms, maladministration generally covers mistakes or poor process where there has been no intention on the part of the person responsible to do any harm. It may involve some degree of incompetence or ineptitude or may result from carelessness or inexperience.

By contrast, malpractice will generally involve some form of intent. It may also include circumstances where an individual has been negligent or reckless as to the consequences of their actions.


Introduction and Scope

This policy covers RLSS UK Staff, Approved Training Centre's/Providers (ATC/P's), Trainer Assessors (TA's), Mentors and National Trainer Assessors (NTAs) who are responsible for the design delivery and awarding of RLSS UK Qualifications (hereafter known as RLSS UK), qualifications and awards.

The policy also covers candidates who are currently taking/ have previously completed one or more of our qualifications or awards.

This policy sets out the steps that should be taken when reporting suspected or actual cases of malpractice and/or maladministration. This policy also sets out the steps RLSS UK will take when responding to such cases.

It is important that ATC/Ps understand their own responsibilities in complying with this policy and make all individuals/organisations fully aware of its contents and have arrangements in place to prevent and investigate instances of malpractice and maladministration in accordance with RLSS UK policies and procedures.

Incidents of malpractice and maladministration can potentially lead to candidates being disadvantaged. Where it is not possible to prevent this, incidents of suspected or actual malpractice and/or maladministration must be dealt with promptly and thoroughly in accordance with RLSS UK policy and procedures contained and referred to within this document.   

Failure to report suspected or actual malpractice and/or maladministration or have in place effective arrangements to prevent such cases, may lead to sanctions being imposed on ATC/Ps, and the individuals involved.

RLSS UK intend to resolve reported cases of malpractice or maladministration informally where possible, at the earliest possible stage. With this said there may be occasions when a more formal approach is required.


Examples of Maladministration and Malpractice

Whilst not an exhaustive list, the following are some examples of maladministration in relation to the design, delivery, awarding and participation of qualifications which an awarding organisation makes available or proposes to make available:

  • Avoidable delay
  • Mistakes arising from inattention
  • Faulty procedures
  • Failure to follow correct procedures
  • Poor record keeping
  • Inadvertent failure to take action
  • Poor communication; and
  • Inadvertently giving misleading or inadequate information.
  • Making inappropriate or offensive written comments in an examination or test
  • Not ensuring the security is maintained of assessment materials

Malpractice could comprise of a conscious decision to do anything covered in the list above. Bias or discrimination could also lead to malpractice.

Some of the clearest examples of potential malpractice are:

  • cheating, or facilitating cheating, in an assessment; and
  • attempting intentionally to manipulate a result so that it does not reflect the candidate’s actual performance in an assessment.

How to Report Suspected Malpractice and/or Maladministration

Reports of malpractice and/or maladministration should be made as soon as possible after an incident arises and no later than 7 working days afterwards, or within 10 days of an unsatisfactory outcome of reporting the event to an ATC/P directly to [email protected].

Reports of malpractice and/or maladministration should detail: 

  • A full description of the incident (including dates, times and, context where appropriate)
  • Names of others involved
  • Copies of any evidence, e.g., letters, completed forms, witness testimony
  • Contact details (in accordance with Data Protection legislation. e.g., name and contact email or phone number)

If the report is excessively long or complex, we may ask you to provide a summary so that we are clear what the issues are. 


What will happen with my report?

Where possible, we would like to deal with your report of malpractice and/or maladministration informally and may do so over the telephone or via email. In such cases, we will confirm in an email the action we will take. 

Sometimes a more formal approach is required and in these cases your report must be put in writing directly to: [email protected]  

If the report cannot be put in writing, a member of the Compliance Team will relay any verbal conversation via email, to ensure the details around the incident have been understood. 

We will acknowledge all reports within three working days, investigate and provide a response within 10 working days where necessary. 

If the report of malpractice and/or maladministration is not resolved informally, it will be escalated to our formal proceedings. 

 All reports of malpractice and/or maladministration will be logged as soon as they are received. When a report of malpractice and/or maladministration needs to be treated more formally, the case will be assigned to a member of the Compliance Team who will start the initial investigation.  

If the report is from a candidate who has exhausted the ATC/Ps own malpractice and/or maladministration procedure, we will contact the ATC/P Co-ordinator for the outcome of the incident. 

We will endeavour to complete any investigation relating to malpractice and/or maladministration within 28 working days of the receipt of the initial written complaint. To ensure a fair and thorough investigation, the duration may depend on the nature and severity of the report received, and the investigating team member will notify the complainant as soon as possible, if the investigation will take longer than expected. 

Where possible, complainants will be kept informed during this period and will be informed of the outcome. 

If your report is upheld, we will, subject to the requirements of confidentiality, inform you of the actions we propose to take. If your report is not upheld, we will explain why. 

If you are not happy with the way your report of malpractice and/or maladministration has been handled or the outcome of our investigation, you can refer your grievance to the [email protected] In such cases, this must be done within 10 working days of receipt of our decision. 

Only the original incident and your dissatisfaction with how it was handled will be reviewed 

Further consideration of your complaint will only be made if the review considers the complaint was not handled according to our procedures or failed to take into account critical evidence. 

We are required to report cases of malpractice/maladministration to the qualifications regulators where we believe an Adverse Effect may have occurred. An Adverse Effect includes situations in which candidates are disadvantaged; an awarding organisation is unable to develop, deliver or award its qualifications appropriately; the standards of an awarding organisation’s qualifications are adversely affected; or public confidence in qualifications is undermined.


When we cannot Investigate

Sometimes candidates or representatives of the candidate contact us because they're unhappy with a decision that’s been made by one of our ATC/Ps. Unless this decision involves malpractice and/or maladministration, as explained above, you’ll need to give them an opportunity to respond to your concerns before we can get involved.


Principles for Investigation

When investigating malpractice and/or maladministration, we will try to clarify:  

  • What has happened 
  • Who was involved? 
  • Where this happened
  • When this happened
  • Names of witnesses (where possible)

 We intend to address any reports of malpractice and/or maladministration as quickly as possible. To achieve this, realistic and reasonable time limits will be set for each action once the necessary details of the incident have been received.  Where further investigations are necessary, new time limits will be set, and the complainant will be provided of the new deadlines with an explanation for the delay.  

We expect that reports of malpractice and/or maladministration will be made as soon as possible after an incident arises and no later than 10 working days afterwards. We will consider exceptions to this timeframe in circumstances where there were valid reasons for bringing the report of malpractice and/or maladministration at that time, and the incident can still be investigated in a fair manner for all involved. 


Investigation outcomes

If the investigation confirms that malpractice and/or maladministration has taken place RLSS UK will consider what action to take to:  

  • Minimise the risk to the integrity of certification in the present and future
  • Maintain public confidence in the delivery and awarding of qualifications
  • Discourage others from carrying out similar instances of malpractice and/or maladministration through ongoing training
  • Ensure there has been no gain from compromising our standards

The actions RLSS UK may take:

  • Implementing the Disciplinary policy for individual TAs, Mentors or NTA’s where malpractice and/or maladministration has occurred.
  • Impose actions on ATC/Ps TA’s, mentors and NTAs with specified deadlines to address instance of malpractice and/or maladministration and to prevent reoccurrence
  • Impose sanctions on ATC/Ps TA’s, mentors or NTAs and communicate these together with rationale for sanction(s)
  • In cases where certificates are deemed invalid, ATC/Ps and regulatory authorities will be informed with any action necessary for reassessment and/or for the withdrawal of the certificates. RLSS UK will advise ATC/Ps to inform affected candidates of withdrawal of certificates and where possible, return invalid certificates to RLSS UK who will amend databases to ensure duplicate invalid certificates cannot be issued.
  • Conduct centre visits TA, mentor or NTA observations in order to support and develop professional practice
  • Amending aspects of RLSS UK qualification development, delivery, awarding arrangements, associated guidance, assessment and/or monitoring arrangements where applicable to prevent the issue reoccurring
  • Informing relevant third parties of RLSS UK findings so they may take any relevant action in relation to the ATC/P, TA, Mentor or NTA
  • Record ‘lessons learned’ from investigations

Application of Sanctions

    Either at notification of a suspected or actual case of malpractice and/or maladministration and/or at any time during the investigation, RLSS UK reserve the right to impose sanctions on the ATC/P in accordance with RLSS UK Sanctions Policy to protect the interests of our candidates and the integrity of the RLSS UK qualifications.  

    RLSS UK also reserve the right to withhold a candidate, and/or cohort’s, results for all the RLSS UK qualifications they are studying at the time of the notification or investigation of suspected or actual malpractice and/or maladministration.


    Appeals

    For all ATC/p’s candidates, TA’s, Mentors, NTAs and other personnel have the right to make an appeal against RLSS UK decision to impose a sanction. Please refer to our Appeals Policy for further details.


    Confidentiality and Whistleblowing

    To enable a full investigation to take place, it will be necessary for complainants to provide their name and contact details. However, in some instances a complainant may wish to remain anonymous. 

    We always aim to keep a whistle-blower’s identity confidential where asked to do so, although this cannot be guarantee. There may be situations where we have a duty to disclose identity for example to: 

    • The police, fraud prevention agencies or other law enforcement agencies (to investigate or prevent crime, including fraud) 
    • The courts (court proceedings) 
    • Relevant authorities where there are safeguarding concerns
    • RLSS UK as part of any investigations into issues around qualification delivery
    • Other third parties, e.g., Regulators

    Contact Details

    Contact Details

    Last updated: February 2023