Malpractice is defined as the breach by a professional person or body of a standard of care or of a standard of conduct. A complaint of malpractice will normally contain an allegation of the tort of negligence. Negligence, legally occurs when conduct falls sufficiently below the normal standard of care/conduct in the profession, such as to cause actual harm to the complainant. Maladministration occurs when there is a lack of care, judgement or honesty in the management of a process. This may include: taking an incorrect action or delay or failure to take any action at all; failure to follow due process, keep adequate records and/or provide appropriate information; making misleading statements, not consulting or breaking promises. There is a considerable overlap between these. The overall standard of professional behaviour that is expected of all MAEL associates is covered in the Ethical Practice Policy.
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- maintaining an ethos where open discussion of issues is encouraged (see also Whistleblowing Policy, see p. )
- regular review (via quarterly reports to the board of directors and annual internal and external verifications) of all procedures
- having responsibility diffused through the organisation (as per the stewardship model of governance)
- ensuring employees are suitably equipped for their roles (see safe Recruitment Policy.)
- having written policies and procedures which outline all foreseeable eventualities and which are modified in the light of events.
If an allegation or suspicion of malpractice or maladministration arises, the CEO will initiate a preliminary investigation. This will involve establishing the circumstances surrounding the allegation or suspicion, determining what evidence may be available and collecting together all that is available, obtaining expert advice if necessary, and compiling a report for the MD which clearly indicates the level of reliance he has in the allegation in the light of the evidence collected. If it appears likely that maladministration or malpractice has occurred, then the MD will also indicate what adverse effects are possible, together with an action plan to obviate or mitigate these. The risk analysis included in the Risk Management Policy will be used as a basis for this.
Teaching Centres are expected to co-operate fully in any investigation. The expected standards for both internal and external verification are laid out in the Qualification Operation Handbook, and the requirement for this co-operation id clearly stated in the licence agreement. These arrangements will be reviewed as part of the annual verification and quality assurance process. Full guidance will be provided by MAEL to the Centre and co-operation in following such advice is mandated in the agreement.
Once any potential adverse effects have been dealt with, the MD will oversee a fuller investigation. This will be undertaken by an individual with professional competence and no personal interest in its outcome. This will also address the question as to whether the incident arose out of carelessness, malice or the actions of others. Depending on the gravity of the incident, MAEL will seek to take appropriate action against the responsible individual(s) or organisation, including seeking legal sanctions or financial redress if appropriate.
The final report shall include recommendations for the avoidance of any comparable situation. If the incident affects any teaching centre, then they will be notified, as will any outside body which may be affected. Other awarding organisations will be notified if the matter is relevant to their operations.
Document last reviewed 13.03.2016