Ofqual reduce £50,000 apprenticeship assessment body fine to £8,595

Ofqual is penalising an end-point assessment organisation to the tune of £8,595 after it admitted to a “series of delivery failings”.

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) will have to pay a £1,000 fine and £7,595 in recovery costs, six months after the exams watchdog first announced it intended to fine the EPAO £50,000.

This came about because apprentices completing an EPA run by CILEx for the level 3 paralegal standard in June 2018 received “error messages, experienced delays and difficulties accessing the assessment, and were unable to upload their work onto the e-platform”.

In some cases, learners’ work was lost altogether.

When Ofqual first announced its intentions, CILEx was given the chance to reduce the £50,000 fine to £1,000 if it could confirm it had implemented a series of recommendations and had successfully delivered the EPA for the paralegal standard to the cohort of apprentices in June 2019, by this September.

After confirming CILEx had met these requirements, Ofqual said it has taken this approach to enforcement action “in order to prioritise a focus on future improvements and to reflect the unusual circumstances of this case”.

In a notice of costs recovery published today, Ofqual said its enforcement committee has considered the costs incurred by the exams regulator “in relation to imposing a monetary penalty on CILEx, and has decided that CILEx should be required to pay the costs”.

CILEx, has to pay the £8,595 within 28 days of this latest notice, but can appeal.

The institute did not wish to comment on this latest development.

Ofqual has stepped up attempts to crackdown on organisations which fail to meet its regulations: in October, it launched a consultation on introducing rebukes and issuing fixed penalties for awarding organisations.

The notice of intention to fine CILEx in April was the first such instance of an EPAO being threatened with a fine by Ofqual.