This document sets out our complaints policy and procedure and is aimed at our Centres, candidates and all interested parties who encounter a service from Kaplan Professional Awards (KPA). KPA is regulated by Ofqual, and this policy is aligned to Condition I2 from Ofqual’s Handbook on General Conditions of Recognition.
We value all the Centres delivering our qualifications and the candidates who undertake them and our aim 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 that if 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 improve services if necessary.
1.1 Purpose and scope
This policy covers complaints that our stakeholders may wish to make in relation to our qualifications and associated services.
It is not to be used to cover:
- appeals in relation to assessment decisions made by Kaplan Professional Awards, as these are covered by our Appeals Policy.
- suspicion of malpractice within an examination or assessment as this is covered in our Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.
This policy covers all complaints that are made by completing our complaints form and are a criticism of KPA’s products, services or actions.
Information provided by candidates or stakeholders under this policy will be treated as confidential, and only be shared with the persons necessary when considering the claim/request.
1.3 Review of this policy
This policy will be monitored by Kaplan Professional Awards (KPA) and any necessary amendments will be made and implemented at the earliest opportunity. As a minimum, KPA will review this and all associated policies on an annual basis as part of its ongoing quality assurance procedures.
2. Centre responsibility
Centres must ensure that all staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications and candidates are aware of the contents of this policy.
- gives rise to prejudice to Learners or potential Learners, or
- adversely affects –
- the ability of the awarding organisation to undertake the development, delivery or award of qualifications in a way that complies with its Conditions of Recognition,
- the standards of qualifications which the awarding organisation makes available or proposes to make available, or
- public confidence in qualifications.
2.1 Complaints brought to our attention by the regulators
Where the regulators notify us about failures that have been discovered in the assessment process of another awarding organisation, these will be reviewed to determine if the same issue could affect KPA qualifications.
2.2 Confidentiality and whistleblowing
Sometimes a complainant may 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. If it helps to reassure you on this point, we can confirm that we are not obliged (as recommended by the regulators) to disclose information if to do so would be a breach of confidentiality and/or any other legal duty. Whilst we are prepared to investigate issues which are reported to us anonymously we shall always try to confirm an allegation via a separate investigation before taking up the matter with those that the complaint/allegation relates. At all times we will investigate such complaints from whistleblowers in accordance with relevant whistleblowing legislation.
3. Complaints Procedure
How should I complain?
The complainant must complete and submit the complaint form or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, to the head of their centre. The Centre head will forward the complaint to KPA within 10 working days of the event referred to in the complaint.
The complainant should contact their training Centre in the first instance regarding any complaint, and exhaust their Complaints processes before getting in touch with KPA. However, should you remain dissatisfied or feel there was a significant breach by the Centre of various procedures, you can complain to us directly by completing our complaint form or by contacting email@example.com.
If a complaint is made that relates to, or is connected with, the substance or management of an appeal, and either the appeal is ongoing or the content of the complaint is substantially similar to that of an appeal (as determined by KPA), then the appeal will take precedence in terms of hearing and timing. The two processes will not run alongside each other and the appeal will be given priority. Candidates who wish to complain about a level of service provided by the centre at which they have undertaken a KPA qualification should have exhausted their centre’s own complaints process before bringing the complaint to KPA. However, candidates can make the complaint directly to KPA in exceptional circumstances where they feel there was a significant breach of our procedures or published requirements by the centre. KPA reserves the right to refer a complaint back to the relevant centre for initial consideration. The initial aim for all complaints should be to try to resolve any problem informally at the earliest opportunity. This may include the complainant speaking to the person who dealt with the issue at the outset, if they feel comfortable doing so.
What will happen to my complaint?
KPA will acknowledge receipt of your completed complaint form within five working days and aim to investigate the complaint within 20 working days. If your complaint is more complex, involves people who are not available at the time, or relies on awaiting further information or evidence from a third party, we may extend this timeframe. We will inform you of any changes to the timeframe for handling your complaint. We may contact you within this period to seek further information or clarification, and in some instances we may recommend a meeting. At the end of the investigation we will email our Complaint Investigation report with the outcome and our decision.
What happens if my complaint is upheld?
If any part of your complaint is upheld we will respond accordingly and will consider corrective procedures. This is likely to include apologising to the complainant, explaining what went wrong and ensuring that procedures are put in place to avoid recurrence of the error. We will also give due consideration to how we can improve our service and arrangements. In extreme circumstances, internal disciplinary procedures may be exercised where the performance or behaviour of our staff is deemed inappropriate, in such cases the details of internal disciplinary procedures will not be shared externally other than the description of the outcome where confidentiality requirements permit. In situations where a complaint has been successful, or where an investigation following notification from Ofqual indicates a failure in our processes, Kaplan Professional Awards will give due consideration to the outcome and will, as appropriate, take actions such as:
- identifying any other candidate who has been affected by that failure;
- correcting, or where it cannot be corrected, mitigating as far as possible the effect of the failure; and
- if necessary, notifying Ofqual or other relevant regulators of the failure
- reviewing its procedures and/or its approach to developing, delivering or awarding qualifications
- ensuring that the failure does not recur in the future, which may include a review of our procedures or arranging for staff training.
What if I am not happy with the reply?
The aim of KPA’s’ Complaints Procedure is to ensure that all complainants have received fair treatment and that, even if your complaint has not been upheld, KPA has properly investigated the matter, and has behaved courteously and efficiently in regard to the complaint.
However, if you wish to appeal against the outcome of the investigation, you can do so by contacting KPA’s enquiries team within 10 working days of receipt of the Complaint Investigation Report, to request our appeals form and stating what you are appealing against and under which of the following grounds:
- there is evidence that the investigator failed to follow this procedure in a significant way that would have changed the outcome of the investigation and/or the resolutions proposed
- there is evidence that the investigator failed to consider or did not have access to evidence that would have changed the outcome of the investigation and/or the resolutions proposed
- the conclusions of the investigator’s report and/or resolution proposed are unreasonable.