Sanctions Policy

1 Overview

1.1 The Association of British Education Awards (ABEA) monitors its centres to ensure continued compliance with the requirements of the ABEA Centre Agreement and its supportive policies and procedures. This is key to ABEA’s quality assurance procedure.

1.2 Should it be proven that a centre is in breach of or has failed to comply with these requirements, ABEA will assess the potential impact on learners and determine the course of action required to support the centre and minimise the risk to learner achievement.

1.3 Minor issues identified during external moderation are usually supported by a centre action plan, detailing the issue to be addressed, by whom and when.

1.4 Major issues or continued failure to address actions following moderation activity may result in sanctions against the Centre.

1.5 The table in Appendix 1 below outlines the level of sanction that may be applied, the reasons for it and the possible course of action ABEA may take.

2 Process

2.1 Sanctions may be recommended by ABEA’s external moderators or identified during other quality assurance activity within ABEA.

2.1.1 When sanctions are recommended by an external moderator ABEA will discuss the recommendation with the moderator concerned, review the evidence and determine if a sanction should be applied.

2.1.2 Issues identified following other quality assurance activity are notified to ABEA Compliance and Regulation where the evidence is reviewed and sanctions applied as necessary in line with this policy.

2.2 Any sanctions to be applied are communicated in writing to the Centre’s Quality Manager outlining the reasons for the sanction and the actions to be taken.

2.2.1 Where a level 3 or level 4 sanction has been applied ABEA may also notify the Regulators or other Awarding Organisations. Such breaches will have the potential to have an Adverse Effect in that they may:

  • seriously disadvantage Learners;
  • adversely affect the ability of ABEA to undertake the delivery or award of qualifications in accordance with its Conditions of Recognition;
  • adversely affect the standards of qualifications which ABEA makes available;
  • adversely affect the reputation of ABEA.


2.3 Any sanctions will remain in place until such time as:

  • an investigation has been completed;
  • the Centre can confirm all actions have been carried out;
  • evidence of these actions has been seen by ABEA or an ABEA representative;
  • ABEA has informed the Centre that the sanction has been lifted.


2.4 Centres may appeal against any sanction applied and must follow the process in ABEA’s Enquiries and Appeals Policy and Procedures.

3 Quality Assurance

3.1 This policy is reviewed annually following stakeholder feedback and any changes to the requirements for Ofqual regulatory compliance.


Appendix 1 Sanctions Table


Reasons for SanctionSanction LevelPossible consequences of Sanction at this level
Not responding to previously agreed actions within timescales specified1- Remote moderation rights removed
Not responding to requests for further information- Direct claim status removed
Insufficient / unqualified assessors / internal moderators- Onscreen test approval revoked
Insufficient records to allow moderation- Additional moderation visit (at cost to the Centre)
Inconsistent assessment decisions / poor assessment practice- Moderation of full cohort (at cost to the Centre)
Assessment methods / tasks insufficient to allow learners to achieve2- Advisory visit (at cost to the Centre)
No internal quality assurance- Temporary suspension of moderation / marking activity
Failure to respond to requests for payment- Temporary suspension of registrations
Persistent non-compliance with ABEA procedures- Temporary suspension of certification
Continued failure to meet assessment standards
Permanent loss of integrity of assessment decisions leading to learner disadvantage3- Removal of Qualification Approval
Persistent failure to comply with actions/respond to communications- Removal of sub-sector approval
Significant concerns / lack of confidence with quality assurance in curriculum area- Inform the Regulators (Ofqual in England)
Total breakdown of communications with centre4- Removal of Centre Recognition
Significant failure of management to address issues- Inform the Regulators
Persistent failure to pay for services / respond to outstanding debts.- Inform other Awarding Organisations
Proven fraudulent activity- Inform any other stakeholder