Conflict of interest declarations
Awarding bodies must be informed about any potential conflict of interest – find out what you need to report.
About conflict of interest
The conflict of interest process is designed to protect the integrity of the exams system, and also helps to ensure that staff members at schools and colleges are protected if there is an allegation of malpractice due to a perceived, or real, personal interest.
The JCQ regulations on conflict of interest have changed for the 2019-2020 academic year. Full details of the changes can be found in the JCQ General Regulations for Approved Centres Booklet on page 11, section 5.3 (d) which you should read in addition to this guidance.
The Head of Centre is responsible for managing the conflict of interest process, and must determine how they do so. The JCQ regulations explain what must be reported to the awarding bodies, and what information must be kept on record at the school/college.
Awarding bodies must be informed about conflict of interest before the published deadline for entries.
We need to know about any members of school/college staff who are:
- taking qualifications which include internally assessed components/units at their own school/college
- teaching and preparing members of their family (which includes step-family, foster family and similar close relationships) or close friends and their immediate family (eg, children) for qualifications which include internally assessed components/units.
Entering members of staff for qualifications at their own school/college should be a last resort, when the individual has been unable to find an alternative. In this case the Head of Centre must ensure that:
- the usual protocols are in place to prevent the staff member from accessing exam materials prior to the exam, and that other staff understand the importance of maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the exam materials
- the member of staff does not receive any preferential treatment.
To inform us about one of the conflicts of interest described above, please email: COIcentredeclarations@aqa.org.uk. No further action is necessary unless a member of the Exams Integrity team contacts you for further information.
The Head of Centre is responsible for ensuring that their school/college maintains clear records of all instances where:
- exams office staff have members of their family (which includes step-family, foster family and similar close relationships) or close friends and their immediate family (eg, children) being entered for examinations and assessments either at the school/college itself or other centres
- school/college staff are taking qualifications at their centre which do not include internally assessed components/units
- school/college staff are taking qualifications at other centres.
These records must:
- include details of the measures which have been put in place to mitigate any potential risk to the integrity of the affected qualifications
- be available for inspection by a visiting JCQ Centre Inspector and/or awarding body staff
- be available if requested in the event of concerns being reported to an awarding body
- be kept until the deadline for reviews of marking has passed or until any appeal, malpractice or other results enquiry has been completed (whichever is later).
If you have any queries about this process, please contact the Exams Integrity team on 0161 958 3736 or email: COIcentredeclarations@aqa.org.uk.