1     IQA Strategy

1.1  Background

Challenge Consulting is a provider of training courses and management consultancy within both the public and private sector.

The company engages in training needs analysis and supports long standing client relationships through a partnership approach.  Our aim is to learn about internal processes and procedures and where possible to comply with their internal quality requirements as well as meeting our own high standards as set out below

Please note this Policy covers both Accredited and Non-Accredited Programmes

1.2   Purpose

The purpose of the internal Quality Assurance Strategy and Policy is to ensure that the Quality of programmes is consistently high, that there is compliance at all times with the requirements of any Accrediting Organisations, and to ensure opportunities for continuous improvement are identified.

1.3   Information for Candidates

A student handbook will be provided to all delegates who are attending a programme which is accredited by an awarding organisation  (See sample at appendix C).   This will be covered also in the induction on day 1 of any accredited programme, and the student handbook contents referred to in order that all candidates are clear about all aspects of the learning, assessment and appeals procedures at the time of commencement of the course.

2      Internal Quality Assurance

2.1   Policy

The aim of the internal quality assurance procedure is to ensure that :

  • Standards of delivery and assessment are consistently high and meet, or surpass the requirements set by the accrediting body.
  • Clear, up to date records are kept of all matters relevant to student attendance and assessment.
  • Appropriate checks are made to ensure consistency and equal treatment of students regardless of gender, race and religion.
  • Special needs are identified and dealt with appropriately.
  • Maintenance of documentation audit trail and record keeping to enable accurate and timely certification.
  • Monitoring, review and evaluation for continuous improvement.

2.2   Roles, Responsibilities, Authorities and Accountabilities

Deliverer/Tutor

  • To take a register of attendance no more than 15 minutes after the published start time of the course and to make a note of any reasons for absence. When on client premises, to notify the client course administrator, or if unavailable, the Course Administration Manager at Challenge, of absences so that absent delegates can be contacted to ascertain their reason for absence if unknown.  This will also apply for courses and elements delivered virtually.
  • To ensure that signed registers are passed to the Course Administrator within 48 hours of the session, or the chat box print out to acknowledge attendees where this has been agreed separately with clients.
  • To ensure that registration forms are completed fully by each delegate to include special needs at the first module of any accredited course. These should be handed back to the Course Administrator within 48 hours of the session.
  • Delegates should be encouraged to raise any special needs confidentially at the end of each session.
  • To ensure that all course delegates are familiar with Health and Safety, Housekeeping and administrative arrangements.
  • To ensure that courses begin and end at the published times, and that the lesson plan/course notes setting out the required content is followed and learning outcomes are met in terms of delivery hours.
  • To ensure that all delegates learn and understand the required outcomes and to test this appropriately.
  • To use a variety of appropriate delivery methods to ensure that attention is maintained whether face to face or virtual.
  • Where there are 4 or more delivery days on a programme, to offer tutorial support of at least three hours per student (group or individual). This should include at least one hour per student on an individual basis.
  • For short courses, tutorial support should be offered during break and before/after sessions.
  • To make the Programme Director aware of any issues which may affect the delegates’ ability to achieve the required learning outcomes, or any other points thought pertinent to making the learning experience successful and enjoyable.
  • To introduce the assessment methods and to provide support and guidance on technique for assessment.
  • To hand out Course Evaluation Sheets at the end of the course and collect in completed sheets
  • Complete a Tutor Review sheet to note any points of interest for subsequent deliverers/assessors to the group. (Sample at appendix d)
  • To attend team meetings as scheduled to share ideas and information.

Internal Assessor/Auditor

  • To consider objectively the course content and delivery to assess its effectiveness and adherence to the standards.
  • To periodically ask students confidentially about their experiences/learning and enjoyment of the course and its relevance to their work in order to establish where improvements can be made and to make recommendations accordingly to both the Course Director and Deliverer/Tutor at Team Meetings.
  • To be responsible in conjunction with the Deliverer/Tutor for identifying individual tuition/help for any delegates who require assistance and support outside of the core tuition.
  • To review progress towards the required standards/objectives and to suggest ways in which the Deliverer can support students as necessary.
  • To mark assignments fairly against the marking scheme and to ask for assistance if there are issues of any kind from the IV/Moderator or Course Director.
  • To update the marking tracker (appendix b) and to highlight any issues with timescales to the Course Director or in her absence, the Course Administration Manager.
  • To attend team meetings to share ideas and information and to attend standardisation meetings as required.

Internal Verifier/Moderator

  • To support the Deliverer and Assessor and consider all aspects of the course in terms of adherence to the programme syllabus and the Accrediting Centre requirements.
  • To sample assessments carried out by the group to ensure consistency in marking standards against a) other students and b) level required and guidance provided by the accrediting body. The number of assignments marked should be at least the minimum required by the accrediting body, and this will be indicated by the sampling plan.   Borderline assignments and any extremely high or low marks should be checked for consistency against the standards and with other assignments from other groups and a decision made after discussion with the centre manager, or the first marker as appropriate.
  • To evaluate Deliverers/Assessors in terms of competence and effectiveness at teaching the syllabus to the standards required by the Institute
  • To validate that there are equal opportunities for all by sampling teaching and also attainments against objectives and personal development plans.
  • To identify where there are particularly strong or weak patterns or trends in marking to help to inform the delivery team, which should be recorded on the respective course Marking Tracker (appendix b) for accredited programmes, and raised at the next team meeting.
  • To notify the Course Administration Manager when the sampling is complete in order that Certificates can be claimed.

Course Director

  • To review and approve all course story boards (see appendix 1) which set out
    the delivery schedule and assessment methods for each course and to liaise
    with the course administration manager and tutors/assessors and IV staff.
  • To be a focal point for any issues arising with clients/delegates or the accrediting
    body in relation to the programmes
  • To ensure consistency of quality and approach
  • To offer opportunities for confidential dialogue to handle disputes between students and staff members.
  • To schedule team meetings and to ensure all interested parties attend.
  • To disseminate all relevant information
  • To take ultimate responsibility for all aspects of the learning experience.

Course Administration Manager

  • To create a marking tracker (see appendix b) for each accredited course in line with the storyboard for the programme, and a sampling plan for the programme for accredited programmes in line with at least the minimum sample required for IV.
  • To collate course registers from tutors and to notify the client organisation of any absences.
  • To liaise with the delivery, assessment and internal verification team to ensure timely claim of certificates and to highlight any areas of concern or non-compliance and to attend and actively participate in team meetings.
  • To follow up on any evaluation sheets where a score of 7 or less has been recorded for a course to establish what could be done to improve the satisfaction level of the learner.
  • To collate the evaluation sheets from each course and to send these to the client company.
    • To look for trends within each course delivery to identify areas for improvement which will be brought up at team meetings.

3      Clients and Contract Review

Objectives will be agreed for each course / consultancy activity at the time of proposal and in accordance with best practice and the client’s requirements.   Measurement of achievement of these objectives will be through qualitative and quantitative methods such as satisfaction levels, attainment and retention.    A schedule for review will also be agreed and adhered to at the time of acceptance of the contract.   This will usually be on a quarterly basis and remedial actions agreed as and when required to maintain the satisfaction of the customer and delegates.

Where required and agreed in advance with the client, a summary of course outcomes in the form of mean average scores for each area to be measured will form the basis of a report for the client, together with suggested areas for improvement for future delivery of the programme.

We work with a diverse range of clients and as such, Trainers will always ask for clear guidance on the background of potential delegates and where appropriate will issue pre-course questionnaires to ensure relevance of content.

4      Course Materials

All courses will be reviewed at least half yearly to ensure compliance with legislation and it will be the duty of the Managing Director to highlight when a major change in legislation has taken place and to ensure all course notes and supporting materials are brought up to date.

5      Continuing Professional Development and Training for Staff

5.1      Research and Liaison with client organisations

Trainers/Consultants will work closely with our client companies to establish specialist knowledge and skills about the organisation’s sector to ensure consistency and realism of the course content.

Specialists from within the business will be invited to present very particular knowledge or complex processes, where they are able, if this adds context to the event.

6      CPD and Specialist training to update skills and knowledge

Seminars, workshops and training events deemed relevant will be paid for by the company.

Fees for membership of professional institutions will be paid for by the company and staff encouraged to attend networking and professional development events during work time.

An annual appraisal will be conducted with each staff member to include agreement of specific objectives and a training and development plan.

7      Induction

All staff will be inducted into the organisation and an induction plan to include as a minimum :

  • Health and Safety Policy and Safe Working Practices
  • Fire precautions and First Aid information
  • Accrediting Body requirements and work roles
  • Quality assurance measures

A learning and development plan will be formulated for each new staff member which will be reviewed on a monthly basis for the first three months and then quarterly thereafter until completion of the first year of working for the organisation.   Thereafter the staff member will be appraised annually as per usual working practices.

8      Delivery of Programmes

Programmes will be delivered by suitably qualified staff.   This will usually mean a member of staff who has direct experience of the topic area and who has an academic qualification of at least one level higher than the course being delivered.

8.1   Non-delivery at short notice

Where a programme has been cancelled at short notice it will be at the discretion of the Managing Director whether or not the cost is incurred by the client.   Where the course is subsequently re-booked within 3 months of the original date (in other words postponed), no charge will be incurred.   This will however be permitted only once.   Further rescheduling of courses may incur a fee at the discretion of the Managing Director and according to a sliding scale based on time until course delivery which will be negotiated and agreed at the time of contracting.

8.2 Non-Conformance

Where there is deemed to be a lack of quality either in delivery standards, course materials or other issue, these should be raised immediately with the Managing Director who will investigate and provide a written response within three working days.

Any non conformances will be raised at the monthly team meeting with staff to ensure maintenance of quality and any remedial action is planned and implemented to prevent future non conformances.