Mountain Training England Maladministration & Malpractice Process

This process supports investigation of alleged maladministration and malpractice. The process may-be used for a number of reasons including;
  • Providers and course staff may raise concerns regarding Mountain Training England’s conduct.
  • Mountain Training England may raise concerns regarding provider and course staff conduct.
In the case of a complaint arising from a candidate the Candidates Complaints Process is used.

What constitutes maladministration?

Maladministration is considered to be any activity which results in non-compliance of Mountain Training England’s administrative requirements as outlined in the Provider Agreement and relevant Quality Manual e.g. repeat late submission of course or moderation reports.

What constitutes malpractice?

Malpractice is considered to be any practice which deliberately contravenes Mountain Training England’s practical requirements as outlined in the Provider Agreement and relevant Quality Manual. Such contravention impacts on the quality of course delivery and compromises the integrity of the training and assessment process. e.g. exceeding candidate/staff ratios.

Reporting suspected malpractice or maladministration

If providers or course staff suspect Mountain Training England of maladministration or malpractice they should report it immediately in writing to the Mountain Training UK & Ireland CEO.

If Mountain Training staff suspect a provider of maladministration or malpractice they should report it immediately in writing to the Mountain Training England Executive Officer.

Complaints must be received within 3 months of the incident occurring. Once the complaint is reported the process follows a number of steps;

Investigation process

Roles of key parties

Investigation Lead – To independently oversee the complaint investigation. In doing so the Investigation Lead establishes the facts by gathering evidence and receives written and verbal submissions by all parties. Requests for anonymity will be respected except where this is not possible for legal reasons.

Mountain Training England Board – The final decision to uphold the complaint or not is made by the Board of Directors. They declare any subsequent further course of action. It is not the role of the Board of Directors to reinvestigate the case.

Statement

The complainant submits a statement to the Mountain Training UK & Ireland CEO or Mountain Training England Executive Officer (as appropriate) outlining the following;
  • Description of the complaint
  • Summary of issues raised and why they constitute, in the complainants opinion, maladministration or malpractice.
  • Evidence for each issue raised
  • A suggestion on acceptable outcome/s
Where a complainant feels unable to submit a statement a 3rd party may do so on their behalf. The statement forms the basis of the subsequent investigation.

The Mountain Training UK & Ireland CEO or Mountain Training England Executive Officer (as appropriate) acknowledges receipt of the statement and in doing so declares the Investigation Lead. Both parties are informed in writing.

The Investigation Lead is required to complete a declaration of interest on accepting the role. This is shared with both parties. Either party can object to the Investigation Lead chosen if within 5 working days of declaration.

Mountain Training England recognise some individuals may have difficulty submitting a statement in writing. As a result the complainant is offered the opportunity to communicate their views in person or by video conferencing to support their statement submission. This is not mandatory. The complainant may choose to have a supporting individual present. Minutes are taken by the Investigation Lead (on another party) and agreed by those present.

Investigation

Each party is given equal opportunity to communicate their views. The Investigation Lead establishes the facts of the case. This may involve;
  • Further questioning of each party via email, phone or video conferencing. Both parties have a right to request questioning in methods noted above.
  • Supplementary evidence submission on the Investigation Lead’s request.
  • The Investigation Lead contacting witnesses.
The Investigation Lead ascertains and compiles a summary of facts from the statement with supporting evidence. Only established, evidenced facts which relate to the case are stated.

These facts and evidence are presented to the Mountain Training England Complaints Panel (a sub-committee of the Board) along with a recommendation to uphold, partially uphold or not uphold the complaint. No further comment is given nor reference to evidence not in the initial statement or subsequent investigation. The recommendation is made on the balance of probability.

Complaints Panel

The Complaints Panel is comprised of Board members who adjudicate on the evidence presented to them and propose any outcome/s to the full Board for agreement. The Board is responsible for making any final decisions. The Panel may request further clarity on specific points in which case the Investigation Lead addresses these with the parties concerned. This may relate to previous investigations or sanctions imposed. Any subsequent appeal will be headed by a director not involved in the Complaints Panel stage.

Outcome

The Mountain Training England Board considers the recommendations made by the Complaints Panel.

The Investigation Lead or Mountain Training UK & Ireland CEO or Mountain Training England Executive Officer (as appropriate) communicates the outcomes to both parties. If sanctions are imposed or further training is required as a result of upholding recommendations this is addressed prior to communicating with the complainant.

Actions

If the Mountain Training England Board confirm maladministration or malpractice has taken place Mountain Training England will consider action to;
  • Minimise the risk to the integrity of Mountain Training now and in the future
  • Maintain public confidence in the delivery and awarding of qualifications
  • Discourage others from carrying out similar instances of maladministration or malpractice
  • Ensure there has been no gain from compromising standards
Although not exhaustive Mountain Training England may subsequently request;
  • Updated documentation
  • Evidence of current competence
  • Feedback from candidates on subsequent courses
  • Additional visits to the provider to increase the level of support and/or monitoring
  • Specific course staff undergo additional training and/or scrutiny by Mountain Training England
  • Specific staff not be involved in the delivery of Mountain Training qualifications
  • Mountain Training England suspends/removes provider and/or director approval
If the investigation concerns a member of Mountain Training England staff appropriate internal disciplinary procedures will be implemented. Where a member of staff is under investigation they may be suspended or moved to other duties until the investigation is complete.

In proven cases of maladministration or malpractice by a provider, Mountain Training England reserves the right to charge the provider cost incurred.

Appeal

Both parties have the right to appeal if they have concerns regarding the legitimacy of the investigation process or the appropriateness of the sanctions imposed. It is not possible to appeal against the outcome and in doing so request reconsideration of the case. Appellants must have legitimate cause for concern and present their case to the Mountain Training UK & Ireland CEO or Mountain Training England Executive Officer (as appropriate) within 4 weeks of the complaint outcome being given. They will decide whether there is a case to answer.

If an appeal is granted this will be considered by an independent Appeals Panel including an independent director as described above, and members drawn from the national Mountain Training organisations who have not been involved with the case. Appellants will be informed of the membership of the Appeals Panel and may lodge an objection within five days of declaration if they feel that any member is not sufficiently independent. The outcome of the Appeals Panel is final.

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