SFEDI Awards Launches Industry Wide Research

As part of its continued support to its centre network and its responsibility as an Awarding Organisation, SFEDI Awards is launching its first thematic review, researching the subject of preparedness to deal with instances of malpractice and maladministration within education.

Nic Preston, SFEDI Awards Head of Quality, explains: “One of the challenges with delivering qualifications is that there will inevitably be some undesirable behaviour out there in the greater context of business; what we officially term as malpractice or maladministration.

This could arise in various forms, such as people producing certificates falsely, people cheating in examinations, or deliberate financial irregularities. What we must do as an Awarding Organisation, in partnership with our centres, is to try and guard against that – and, in doing that, although we hope it won’t happen, we all have a responsibility to be ready for it if and when it does.”

SFEDI Awards released the survey last week, now available to all its approved centres, so that people delivering its qualifications are able to share their experiences and thoughts on the subject at hand; information that will inform the Awarding Organisation’s thematic review. In addition to this, the survey will also be available through various online forums. Nic says:

“We want to ensure that we are not limiting this survey only to people that we work with and that we also reach a wider audience of educational institutes too, so that we’re getting the broader industry’s views as well, so that this survey and subsequent review reflects the bigger picture, acting as almost a ‘best practice guide’ for industry.

“It is incredibly important to us to actively engage with the issue, and assure people that we take the matter of malpractice and maladministration seriously, and we want to be able to help people to protect themselves and the people they support against it arising.

The first round of our research is in the shape of this initial online survey, but in the second round we will be drilling down into more detail and following up with one-to-one phone interviews and face-to-face conversations.”

Although this survey has only recently been released, SFEDI Award’s attention and efforts in the subject of malpractice has been in effect from the very first day of the Awarding Organisation’s founding. Nic says:

“This matter will always be one of the main functions of an Awarding Organisation and its centres, and we have been protecting against it since the beginning. What is happening right now is that we are being a bit more vocal about it, and as part of this, we’re opening up the subject for more detailed discussion.

“This is because we have found that whilst people talk about it, nobody yet provides formal training or support on how to prepare for or deal with it. We want to provide that support and information, but we want to do this based on hard evidence and feedback from industry, and the first step is finding out where people are with their readiness right now, so we can offer relevant support, as well as maintaining the public confidence in the wider qualification system.”

SFEDI Award’s survey is not looking to highlight potential instances of malpractice and maladministration, it is looking to find out how organisations delivering qualifications aim to deal with situations as they arise.

They would like to take this opportunity to present its survey to you as a ‘call to action’: If you are involved in the delivery and training of qualifications, whether through SFEDI Awards or the wider educational industry, then they would like to hear your views.

The survey should take no longer than 5 – 10 minutes to complete and you do not need to provide your contact details if you would prefer not to. The results of the survey will be used to produce best practice guides to make sure everyone has the necessary knowledge, skills and systems in place to help them better prepare.

To access and complete the survey simply click on the following link: Malpractice and Maladministration Survey.