Once again we can report that since our last newsletter, we have withdrawn our approval (temporarily or permanently) from numerous centres and trainers for reasons of malpractice/maladministration. Whilst some of these have been deliberate attempts to avoid compliance, many of them fall into the category of failing to read or understand the requirements properly – or thinking it’s all just someone else’s responsibility.
Whether you’re a head of centre or a trainer (or both) you must know and understand every single requirement relating to every qualification you offer. There’s simply no room for passing the buck or for excuses.
Just to remind you, we use a range of quality assurance activities to monitor our training centres, and these include (but aren’t limited to) planned visits, unannounced visits, calling candidates after their training, and mystery shopping, which involves sending someone as an undercover candidate onto one of your courses – always the best way to find out what’s really going on!
Any issues identified by any means are always dealt with accordingly, which may include withdrawing centre and trainer approval, and withholding or even withdrawing qualification certificates from candidates, which in turn can lead to SIA withdrawing licences they’ve issued. We’re also required to share the information with SIA, Ofqual, and all other awarding organisations.
Some of the most frequent issues we find include failure to comply with the following basic requirements:
- Sufficient hours must be spent on the delivery of the qualification (not including time spent checking ID, checking English language, breaks, etc).
- Venues must be big enough for the number of candidates, especially for PI practical training and for exams, and must be approved in advance.
- You must have evidence that the English language skills (writing, speaking and understanding) of all candidates meet the required level (this is often queried by the SIA call centre when candidates call in relation to their licence application – you then have to provide this evidence to SIA, who may refuse to issue, or withdraw, a licence if appropriate convincing evidence is not provided).
- Sign-in sheets must reflect actual timings of training (not planned timings but actual start and finish times).
- Distance learning material and support details, if permitted for your centre, must be given to all candidates well before the start of the course and they must be told clearly that they have to complete it before the course starts – this must then be checked (not to be given out on day one – or not at all – and candidates should not be allowed to continue if they have not completed the learning).
- If no distance learning is used by your centre, training hours must be increased to cover the units in full (DS 45 hours; CCTV 32 hours; US 18 hours; SO 28 hours).
- Sufficient trainers must be actively engaged in PI practical training and assessment (not just present in the room, but actually involved throughout the whole session).
- Three real steps must be used in PI training and assessment (not simulated).
- Invigilators must not have carried out any training except PI practical during the course run they are invigilating.
- Invigilators must pay full attention to candidates at all times (not be doing other work etc).
- Invigilators must start all exams at the same time for all candidates, monitor time properly, and give time checks (not allow each candidate to start the next exam paper whenever they finish the previous one so papers are being started and finished at different times).
- Last minute changes to venues, trainers, dates, etc must be advised to us before the course starts (you will be charged £250 plus expenses if we turn up to do an unannounced visit and the venue/trainers/dates are not as registered by you on Quartz).
This list is by no means exhaustive but gives an indication of the kind of failings we frequently find, but which are all clearly explained in the requirements documents.
All qualification training and assessment requirements can be found in each qualification’s Trident Awards Qualification Specification document, and in the SIA ‘Introduction to Learning Leading Towards Licence-linked Qualifications – Requirements for Awarding Organisations/Bodies and Training Providers’ document. Invigilation requirements can be found in the Trident Awards Examinations Handbook. All of these documents can be found on the Trident Awards web site.
So, our message to you is simple – don’t end up in trouble for the sake of not reading the requirements or not knowing what you’re supposed to be doing, and not doing it properly!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting all the requirements, or if you’re just not too sure about something, please do get in touch with your Quality Reviewer or our Quality Manager, all of whom will be happy to help you.