Quality Assurance is a system of control measures put in place to ensure that produced ‘finished products’ is of the required quality. However, the crucial thing about Quality Assurance is that it is far more than a simple checking of the finished product. Checking of the finished product only, with no checking of the production process is called Quality Control, and it will result in the expected rejection of some finished product due to unacceptability.
For an acceptable Competence System however, there must be no unacceptable ‘finished product’, therefore a system of Quality Assurance must be in place.
A quality assurance system looks at the process of producing the ‘finished product’ at each stage of the assessment process, ensuring that each stage is being carried out correctly. Thus the quality of the finished product is assured, since each part of the process is known to be acceptable.
So, within the assessment system, where the completed assessment is the ‘finished product’, the quality assurance function must check each part of the process of assessment to see that it is acceptable, therefore assuring the quality of the finished assessment prior to certification.
Any organisational competence system cannot function fairly or effectively without having a quality assurance role, and this is the function of the Internal Verifier. The Internal Verifier oversees the assessments of individual assessors, and the team as a whole, assuring the quality of the process within the site. The Internal Verifier also contributes to overseeing the overall system within the site, and any external auditing which will be carried out of the Competence Management System.
Each organisation should have an Appeal Procedure and a disputes/ complaints procedure in place, which must be known by candidates. The Internal Verifier also has a role to play within these procedures.
An important part of the Internal Verifier’s role is to ensure that standardisation arrangements are carried our. Standardisation is of utmost importance. This examines that assessors are making comparable judgments of evidence, so that assessor decisions will be fair and consistent over time, and across different technicians. Thus the fairness of the whole system depends on this. The Internal Verifier must ensure that all site assessors are aware of the importance of standardisation, and that they are involved in company site arrangements for ensuring that standardisation occurs.
It is the responsibility of the internal verifier to ensure that the quality assurance requirements are applied, i.e. that the assessment practice is monitored on an ongoing bases and that the work of all assessors is sampled. Sampling must be structured, so that the effectiveness of the performance of all assessors in each stage of assessment process has been assured.
The Internal Verifier must sample individual performance to ensure the following:
- Assessors are preparing for assessment effectively
- Assessors have an effective process for actually carrying out assessments and collecting and judging evidence to make assessment decisions
- Assessors apply safe, fair, valid and reliable methods of assessing
- Assessors judgments are consistent over time and with different technicians – this should be ensured by watching them carrying out assessments
- Assessors comply with relevant health, safety and environmental protection procedures during assessments
- Assessors comply with organisations criteria for access and equality, e.g. comply with equal opportunity policy
- Assessors review each assessment at appropriate intervals, and do so effectively
- Assessors give feedback to their candidates at appropriate intervals, and do so effectively