As with any area of work, assessors must work within the boundaries of the law and professional values. There are vast number of laws, directives and professional ethics; they are constantly changing or being updated. Every organization will have its own policies and procedures relating to these legal aspects and there are some differences in requirements, depending upon the age of learners and environment.
This course will try and cover the main aspects; every assessor remains accountable for their own familiarisation with how to remain compliant. Every opportunity should be taken to ensure that you are up to date.
The main acts and rules
Health & Safety at Work Act (1974)
Everyone has a responsibility for the safety of themselves and others. Therefore, rules must be followed and safe practices adhered to, you should demonstrate a model of best practice, lead by example. There are additional rules relating to taking learners on educational visits following a series of tragic accidents.
The Management of Health & Safety at work Regulations (1999)
The legislation seeks to prevent unsafe practices and minimise risk. For example, fire and emergency procedures, first aid at work, safe handling practices, visual display unit codes, risk assessment.
All activities have an element of risk, some more so than others. It is the assessor’s responsibility to assess the level of the risk, establish practices to minimize risk and record such activities.
Child Protection Guidelines
Recent high-profile cases have brought about the necessity to introduce legislation and guidance on protecting children and vulnerable adults against inappropriate behavior. Each organisation should exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children (Protection of Children Act, 1999).
Mandatory Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks are required of assessors working with children and vulnerable adults. The Government holds lists of those deemed unsuitable to work with these groups and organisations should check these before appointing staff. You may also find that some learners, for example child care students, are checked before embarking on their course of study. This is ‘due diligence’ on behalf of the organisation, who may send these learners into work placement in nurseries and the like.
Disability Discrimination Act (1995 and onwards)
This act gives disabled people the right to employment, education and other services. Part 3 (2004) legislated that businesses must take reasonable steps to modify physical features that may cause barriers. Part 4 (2005) extends this to include educational establishments.
Copyright guidance protects the originators of material against plagiarism and compromising intellectual ownership. Materials includes books, newspapers, journals, material downloaded from the internet, broadcasts – in fact anything which is not your own original material. It is against the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998, and the subsequent amendment of 2003, to reproduce material in any way without acknowledging the originator. During research this means using a system like Harvard referencing to cite the sources. In order to devise a system of paying royalties to originators, the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) offers licences to educational establishments so that assessors can photocopy information for their learners. Usually, close to every photocopier there is a charter explaining how much can be reproduced.
Exercise caution when photocopying anything, as the CLA can carry out spot checks and could go through filling cabinets to check that information is not being used illegally copied. Always state the originator’s name, even if it’s a handout devised by a colleague.
The Data Protection Act (1998) requires any organisation that holds any data on individuals, electronic or...