Customer Services

GQAL’s CUSTOMER SERVICES covers the following policies and procedures:

Customer Service Statement

GQAL is committed to:

  • providing performance related qualifications and assessments that recognise the achievements of students and retain public credibility;
  • developing effective working partnerships between the GQAL, entry centres, examiners/assessors, and the wider community that wish to use GQAL qualifications;
  • recognising and respecting the needs and rights of all individuals;
  • the continuous improvement of our programmes and services;
  • providing clearly stated minimum standards for our services and evaluating our effectiveness in maintaining these.

GQAL customers can expect to be:

  • treated with courtesy, respect and consideration;
  • identified by name when communicated with;
  • listened to and responded to appropriately;
  • dealt with efficiently, with integrity, fairness and professionalism;
  • provided with relevant, accurate and up to date information when needed
  • made aware of the standard of service we aim to provide;
  • asked to feedback on a regular basis, and by a variety of means, to help us continue to develop our programmes and services;

If a problem arises GQAL will:

  • wherever possible deal with the matter straightaway;
  • advise you of what action can be taken when it cannot be dealt with immediately;
  • advise you of any further steps you can take if you remain dissatisfied.

The Ten Service Standards.

GQAL seeks to continuously improve the way we work and the quality of service we provide. The following standards cover the services that we offer to centres, candidates and parents in the provision of qualifications. These services involve providing relevant information, answering enquiries and managing the examination and assessment process.

Standard 1. Answer your letters clearly and within 15 working days of receipt.
Standard 2. See you within 15 minutes of any pre-arranged time for appointments at our offices.
Standard 3. Provide regular information about our qualifications and services.
Standard 4. Provide enough notice to ensure no cohort is impacted by any significant changes to assessment and examination requirements.
Standard 5. Provide enough notice of the withdrawal of a specification to ensure any cohort that has started the qualification can complete it.
Standard 6. Consult users regularly about services and report on findings.
Standard 7. Have a complaints and compliments procedure and send you information about it on request.
Standard 8. Take all reasonable steps to make services accessible to everyone (including people with special needs and disability).
Standard 9. Provide professional, courteous and efficient treatment.
Standard 10. Clarity in explaining our position. We will answer your questions in a clear and concise manner. We will explain how decisions were made and convey this information in understandable language.

Compliments Policy

GQAL values compliments, these will always be fed back to appropriate personnel. They are invaluable for maintaining and improving our reputation and therefore contribute to our community of professional practitioners. They provide us with the evidence to develop our qualification base.

Please send your comments via:

Post to: 
 Helen Mence, 
Responsible Officer, GQAL, International Arts Centre, Garden Street, Leicester. LE1 3UA

Email to:Helen@gqal.org

Enquiries On Results Service

Timelines
Results, certificates and profiles will be issued within 6 working weeks of the examination date.
All applications for enquiries about results will be acknowledged within 7 working days of receipt.
Requests for a clerical re-check for an individual candidate will be responded to within 7 working days of receipt.
Requests for a review and re-mark for an individual candidate will be responded to within 14 working days of receipt.
Requests for a review and moderation for a group of candidates will be responded to within a 6 working week period from receipt.

This is a service provided by GQAL and sits outside the appeals process. The Enquiries on Results Service may only be requested by the Head of the Centre, on behalf of candidates or parents. All enquiries about results must only be made to GQAL. All applications for the Enquiries on Results Service will be acknowledged within 7 working days of receipt. If you have not received an acknowledgement within this period you should inform GQAL’s Head Office immediately.

Three levels of enquiries are available to Centres that have entered candidates for GQAL Awards:

Level 1. Clerical Re-check

A full clerical re-check including the provision of a statement of the marks by assessment criteria for an individual candidate.

Level 2. Review and Re-mark

A review of the mark records and a re-mark of the examination for an individual candidate by the Independent Assessor, a full clerical re-check and statement of marks by assessment criteria.

Level 3. Review and moderation

Review and moderation of all the mark records for a group of candidates, by a moderator together with a full clerical re-check and statement of marks by assessment criteria.

Centres should bear in mind that if the results are deemed to be correct as issued there is a charge made for this service. Details of current fees can be found in the fees section of the GQAL’s website. Only one review and re-mark will be allowed for each candidate's result.

Centres may in addition, request a review and moderation of all the mark records for a group of candidates.

Applications for Enquiry on Results Service must be:

  • a) submitted to GQAL by the Head of Centre responsible for the candidate's entry;
  • b) submitted within two working weeks of the receipt of the results. (Centres are advised that they should submit enquiries as soon as possible after the results have been issued. Requests received after the time allowed will not be accepted);
  • c) accompanied by a consent form and a letter stating the reasons for the enquiry.

GQAL will not consider:

  • a) any telephone requests for Enquiries on Results Service;
  • b) any direct requests for Enquiries on Results Service from candidates or their parents.

Outcome of Enquiries on Results Service

GQAL will provide written notification to the Centre of the outcome of the enquiry. If the outcome of an enquiry is considered by GQAL to bring into question the accuracy of the results for other candidates in that or other groups, the outcome of the original enquiry will be notified to the Centre and GQAL will extend the enquiry to include any other candidates who may have been affected. The Centre will be notified of the further investigation and the outcome.

As a consequence of a change in the Final Award GQAL will:

  • a) notify the Centre at once in writing;
  • b) make no charge for the candidate enquiry fee where a grade is amended or, in the case of the review and moderation service, charge a proportion of the total fee as is appropriate to the circumstances;
  • c) issue a revised statement of results and/or issue a revised certificate where necessary, when the original certificate has been returned.

In cases where a clerical check, review, re-mark or moderation reveals inaccurate marking or a clerical error, marks may be confirmed, lowered or raised and the award of a Pass, Merit or Distinction may also be confirmed, lowered or raised. Centres must advise candidates and or parents of these possible outcomes and the candidate’s informed consent must be sought before any application is submitted. Please note that by counter-signing and submitting an application form the Centre confirms that the candidate and parent(s) are aware of the possible outcomes and has consented to the application. It is the responsibility of the Head of Centre to ensure that all candidates involved in enquiries about results are aware of and accept the possible outcomes of an enquiry.

Detailed Description of the Enquiry on Results Service

1.Clerical re-check

This will consist of the following:

  • a re-check that all assessment criteria have been marked;
  • a re-check that the marks have been properly transferred from the assessment documentation;
  • a re-check that the marks for the award have been correctly recorded in the computer system;
  • a re-check that any adjustments, if applicable, have been correctly applied;
  • a re-check on the grade boundaries;
  • a re-check on the application, where appropriate, of any allowances, e.g. those resulting from special consideration.

2. Review and re-mark

This will consist of the following:

  • a clerical re-check consisting of all items 1 above;
  • a check on the applicable Independent Assessor standardisation records and the Centre standardisation records;
  • a review of the assessment documentation and the original marks awarded for assessment criteria undertaken against the approved mark scheme for the examination, by the Assessment Standards Officer who will confirm or amend the original marks.

3. Review and moderation

This is a review and moderation of all the mark records for a group of candidates by a moderator, together with a full clerical re-check and statement of marks by component and assessment category and consists of:

  • a complete review, including clerical checks, by the Assessment Standards Officer and an independent expert, of all stages in the examination process prior to the issue of the results for a group of candidates;
  • a check on the applicable Independent Assessor standardisation records, Centre standardisation records and standardisation archive materials;
  • a written report from the original Independent Assessor;
  • the provision to the centre of a report by the Assessment Standards Officer on the results of the review;
  • the provision of the moderated final scores.

NB. When a review and moderation has been requested no request for a clerical check, review or re-mark of the examination results for an individual candidate entered for that group will be accepted.

Appeals to GQAL against the outcome of the Enquiries on Results Service.
After the outcome of an Enquiry on Results Service has been reported, the Head of Centre may appeal against the decision. Appeals on behalf of an individual candidate or a group of candidates can only be made by the Head of Centre responsible for the entry. All appeals must be made in writing and in accordance with the requirements set out in the Appeals Procedure.

Alteration of final scores and awards following Enquiries on Results Service. The lowering of a subject grade following an enquiry or any subsequent appeal will only apply

  • i. if the marks for an assessment criteria are lowered;
  • ii. if the enquiry is initiated by the Centre.
  • If for any reason a review or re-mark is initiated by GQAL, final scores can only be confirmed or raised.

It is essential that any candidate involved in an enquiry or any subsequent appeal about a GQAL Examination is made fully aware of the potential outcomes. GQAL strongly suggests that this information is made available to candidates in writing, and require that formal written consent is received from the candidate (if over the age of 18 years) or from the parent or guardian in the case of a minor. A suggested template for this purpose is available from Head Office. Centres may adapt it for their own use, for example by incorporating the name of the School or College. A copy of the signed consent form should be sent when the enquiry about results is initiated.

By signing the application form for an enquiry the Head of the Centre is confirming to GQAL that the candidate has been fully informed of the possible outcomes, and has given consent to the enquiry being made.

The consent of candidates is not formally required before an enquiry is made about the results for a group of candidates or examination session. However, GQAL recommends that candidates should be made aware that the Centre intends to make an enquiry and that this may result in the final scores for any or all of the candidates involved, being confirmed, raised or lowered.

Appeals Procedure

Timelines
The Appeals process consists of the final stage open to Centres on behalf of candidates after having used the Enquiry on Results service.
Appeals must be submitted, in writing, by the Centre within 14 working days of the date on which notification of the final outcome of the Enquiry upon Results is received by the Centre. All applications for appeals will be acknowledged within 7 working days of receipt.
Stage 1 Appeal
The appellant will be informed of the result of the appeal within a 5 working week period from the date on which the appeal was received.
The Centre will need to notify GQAL within 14 working days of the Stage 1 outcome if it wants to progress to Stage 2.
Stage 2 Appeal
The appellant will be advised of the date of the hearing within a 4 working week period from the date on which the appeal was received.
The appellant will be informed of the result of the appeal within 5 working days of the date of the hearing.

The Appeals Procedure is the final approach open to Centres after having used the Enquiry on Results service.
Centres should bear in mind that there is a charge made for this service should the Appeal be turned down. Details of current fees can be found in the fees section of the GQAL’s website.
Appeals must be submitted in writing, by the Centre to the Responsible Office of GQAL within 14 working days of the date on which notification of the final outcome of the Enquiry on Results is received by the Centre.
Formal notification of the intention to appeal should include the following information:

  • (a) Name(s) and Identification number(s) of candidate(s);
  • (b) Grades;
  • (c) Date of Independent Assessment;
  • (d) Simple statement of the reason(s) for making the appeal;
  • (e) Full description of the reason for appeal.
Where the Centre considers that a common issue applies to a number of candidates from the centre, a joint application for those candidates should be made.
Receipt of this notification will be acknowledged in writing.

Appeals Procedure Summary

The focus of the Appeals Procedure is to establish whether or not GQAL, in making awards, has used procedures that were fit for the purpose and whether it applied them properly and fairly, in arriving at judgements of candidate performance.
The procedures open to investigation includes the full range of processes involved in and leading to the award of a final score and the result obtained in a GQAL examination, including marking, standardisation, moderation and any subsequent Enquiries on Results. An Appeal will not involve a review of the examination scores as that will have already been completed during the Enquiry on Results service. The Appeals Process can be in two stages.

Stage One Appeal Procedure

This will involve a review of the case by a member of GQAL who has had no previous knowledge of the case.

The outcome of the review will be reported in writing to the Responsible Officer who will communicate this to the Centre.

The review may

  • (i) confirm the award made by GQAL
  • (ii) require GQAL to take appropriate remedial action or
  • (iii) may involve broader recommendations being made to GQAL.

If the Centre remains dissatisfied, they may, on written request to GQAL within 14 working days of the outcome of Stage One being notified, ask to progress to Stage Two.

Stage Two Appeal Procedure

If the Centre remains dissatisfied following the outcome of Stage One of the Appeal Procedure, a written request to proceed to Stage Two should be made within 14 working days to the Responsible Officer of GQAL.

At this time the Centre should indicate the names of those who will represent the Centre and provide such information and evidence as the Appeals Panel may require.
At the same time, relevant officers of GQAL will be asked to provide GQAL documents in support of their view.

The completion of Stage Two of the Appeals Process represents the final point in the appeals against decisions of GQAL.

Stage Two involves the hearing of the case by a specially convened Appeals Panel of GQAL and one person independent of GQAL. The appeal will be considered at a formal hearing during which the issues will be fully reviewed and considered.

The Appeals Panel will make a decision, on behalf of GQAL, at the end of the hearing and the outcome, together with reasons for its findings, will be sent to the Responsible Officer who will forward this to the Centre within five working days.

Normally the Centre will be asked to provide representatives whose role will be to set out the basis of the appeal and call on witnesses to give supporting statements or other evidence in relation to the case being made. GQAL will also be asked to nominate officers to present its views and may also nominate witnesses to call on. The Responsible Officer will collate all of this information and make it available to the Centre, to GQAL officers and to Panel Members in advance of the date of the hearing.

Centres should bear in mind that if the results are deemed to be correct as issued there is a charge made for this service. Details of current fees can be found in the fees section of the GQAL’s website.

At the Hearing

The hearing will be normally chaired by the Chair of the Advisory Council.
The Chair will rule on any matters of relevance or procedure during the hearing. The case on behalf of the appellant(s) will be presented by their nominee, and on behalf of GQAL by a nominated officer.

The order of business will normally proceed as follows:

  • i. The Centre shall set out their case in the presence of GQAL representatives and witnesses, calling upon the notified witnesses as appropriate.
  • ii. All members of the Panel shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the nominees and witnesses.
  • iii. GQAL representatives shall set out their case in the presence of the appellant(s) and witnesses and may call upon notified witnesses on their behalf.
  • iv. All members of the Panel shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the nominees and witnesses.
  • v. GQAL representatives shall have the opportunity to sum up their case.
  • vi. The appellant shall have the opportunity to sum up her/his case.
  • vii. All representatives and witnesses shall withdraw and the Appeals Panel will deliberate in private.
  • viii. In the event that the Appeals Panel members require clarification on any matter, all parties will return to allow relevant points to be addressed.
  • ix. A record of the proceedings will be made.

The members of the Appeals Panel will come to a decision, taking a vote if necessary. The Chairperson will have the casting vote if necessary. The Panel and Chair will take advice from the Independent person who will not have a vote. The Responsible Officer shall note the decision and the reasons given. The Appeals Panel will either refuse the appeal (thus confirming the original award) or uphold it and require the officers to take appropriate action. When appropriate, the panel may make broader recommendations to GQAL as a whole.

After the Hearing

The decision of the Appeals Committee and the underlying reasons will be conveyed to both parties by the Responsible Officer within five working days of the hearing and reported to GQAL’s Board of Directors at its next meeting.

Complaints Policy

We value feedback of how we can improve our service. All complaints will be handled sensitively and efficiently.
If you are not satisfied with our service please follow the procedure below to enable us to respond to your complaint as quickly as possible.
The complaints procedures does not deal with examination results as these are dealt with by the Enquiries on Results and Appeals process.
GQAL does not normally investigate complaints received more than six months after occurrence.
To enable us to process your complaint effectively please provide us with as much of the following information as you can:

  • your name and address;
  • centre name and number, if relevant;
  • an email address;
  • candidate numbers, if relevant;
  • the qualification and specification code your complaint relates to, if relevant;

  • a clear description of your complaint;
  • copies of any relevant correspondence.

Timelines
Complaint
Complaints must be submitted, in writing, within 14 working days of the date of the occurrence/incident. All complaints will be acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt.
The complainent will be informed of the result within a 5 working week period from the date on which the complaint was received.
The Complainant should notify GQAL within 14 working days of the outcome if they want to appeal.
Appeal
The appellant will be advised of the date of the hearing within a 4 working week period from the date on which the appeal was received.
The appellant will be informed of the result of the complaint appeal within 5 working days of the date of the hearing.

Complainants should bear in mind that if the complaint or appeal is turned down there is a charge made for the service. Details of current fees can be found in the fees section of the GQAL’s website. Complaints must be submitted in writing to the Responsible Office of GQAL within 14 working days of the occurrence/incident.

Complaint Procedure
This will involve a review of the case by a member of GQAL who has had no previous knowledge of the case.
The outcome of the review will be reported in writing to the Responsible Officer who will communicate this to the Centre.
The review may

  • i. turn down the complaint
  • ii. require GQAL to take appropriate remedial action or
  • iii. may involve broader recommendations being made to GQAL.
If the Centre remains dissatisfied, they may, on written request to GQAL within 14 working days of the outcome of he Complaint Process being notified, ask to progress to Complaint Appeal.

Complaint Appeal Procedure

At this time the Centre should indicate the names of those who will represent the Centre and provide such information and evidence as the Appeals Panel may require.
At the same time, relevant officers of GQAL will be asked to provide GQAL documents in support of their view.

The completion of Complaint Appeal represents the final point in the appeals against decisions of GQAL.

The Complaint Appeal procedure involves the hearing of the case by a specially convened Appeals Panel of GQAL and one person independent of GQAL. The appeal will be considered at a formal hearing during which the issues will be fully reviewed and considered.
The Appeals Panel will make a decision, on behalf of GQAL, at the end of the hearing and the outcome, together with reasons for its findings, will be sent to the Responsible Officer who will forward this to the Centre within five working days.

Normally the Centre will be asked to provide representatives whose role will be to set out the basis of the appeal and call on witnesses to give supporting statements or other evidence in relation to the case being made. GQAL will also be asked to nominate officers to present its views and may also nominate witnesses to call on. The Responsible Officer will collate all of this information and make it available to the Centre, to GQAL officers and to Panel Members in advance of the date of the hearing.

At the Hearing

The hearing will be normally chaired by the Chair of the Advisory Council.
The Chair will rule on any matters of relevance or procedure during the hearing. The case on behalf of the appellant(s) will be presented by their nominee, and on behalf of GQAL by a nominated officer.

The order of business will normally proceed as follows:

  • i. The Centre shall set out their case in the presence of GQAL representatives and witnesses, calling upon the notified witnesses as appropriate.
  • ii. All members of the Panel shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the nominees and witnesses.
  • iii. GQAL representatives shall set out their case in the presence of the appellant(s) and witnesses and may call upon notified witnesses on their behalf.
  • iv. All members of the Panel shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the nominees and witnesses.
  • v. GQAL representatives shall have the opportunity to sum up their case.
  • vi. The appellant shall have the opportunity to sum up her/his case.
  • vii. All representatives and witnesses shall withdraw and the Appeals Panel will deliberate in private.
  • viii. In the event that the Appeals Panel members require clarification on any matter, all parties will return to allow relevant points to be addressed.
  • ix. A record of the proceedings will be made.

The members of the Appeals Panel will come to a decision, taking a vote if necessary. The Chairperson will have the casting vote if necessary. The Panel and Chair will take advice from the Independent person who will not have a vote. The Responsible Officer shall note the decision and the reasons given. The Appeals Panel will either refuse the appeal (thus confirming the original award) or uphold it and require the officers to take appropriate action. When appropriate, the panel may make broader recommendations to GQAL as a whole.

After the Hearing

The decision of the Appeals Panel and the underlying reasons will be conveyed to both parties by the RO within five working days of the hearing and reported to GQAL’s Board of Directors at its next meeting.

GQAL reserve the right to cease dealing with the complaint if the correspondence is considered frivolous, vexatious or offensive.

The decision of the Appeals Panel is final, though the complainant can refer the complaint to the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual).
Their address is:
Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator, Spring Place, Coventry Business Park, Herald Avenue, Coventry. CV5 6UB

Learners, Parents, Carers

Under normal circumstances we are unable to receive complaints directly from Learners, Parents or Carers.

Please discuss your concerns with the Head of Centre or Examinations Officer in the first instance and they will be able to act on your behalf.

If you remain unhappy with your results or feel that they are incorrect and the Enquiries on Results procedure has been invoked, your teacher is in the best position to help you further.
If your concerns relate to the teaching of one of our qualifications or a decision made by your Centre, each Centre is required to have their own internal complaints and appeals process which you should follow.

If you have been through this process and remain dissatisfied you may bring your concern to our attention. 


Complaints About Teaching; Centre Administration, Management And Organisation

Complaints about the quality of teaching; Centre administration, management and organisation should not be made to GQAL. Any complaints about the quality of teaching; Centre administration, management and organisation should be made to either the Head of Centre (where the teacher is employed by, or attached to, an organisation) or to the association that the teacher is a member of (where the teacher is not employed by, or attached to, an organisation).

Confidentiality

In the event of GQAL receiving an anonymous complaint we try to confirm the allegation by a separate investigation before taking it up with those responsible. The outcome of the investigation will remain confidential between GQAL and the Centre apart from where statutory requirements are involved e.g. safeguarding, fraud. It is always preferable to reveal your identity and contact details, though you may ask us not to divulge them.
GQAL will investigate complaints from whistle-blowers in accordance with relevant whistle blowing legislation.

Contacting GQAL

We encourage customers to put their concerns in writing.

Post to: Helen Mence, Responsible Officer
GQAL, International Arts Centre, Garden Street, Leicester. LE1 3UA

Email to: 
Helen@gqal.org
Phone to: 0116 2624122