The objectives which underpin our quality assurance policy are:

To develop a full understanding of the needs of our Clients.

To work in close co-operation with Clients, Suppliers and Sub-contractors to provide the right quality work and service, first time.

Actively to seek Client feedback and to use this as a format for continuous assessment and improvement.

To develop the potential of our employees to ensure all members of staff are capable of undertaking work required in a safe and responsible manner, in accordance with the Company’s Health and Safety policy.

To achieve these policy objectives involves all of our staff, who are individually responsible for the quality of their work, resulting in a continually improving working environment for all.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions are fully committed to delivering the objectives of this Quality Assurance policy statement, within all its activities and work undertaken by the Company.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions have implemented a management structure that is based on the quality and commitment of its professional and experienced management, and construction of our staff. Our Director has a specific responsibility for ensuring that the management structure reflects the quality standards, so that compliance with this Quality Policy is maintained and improved.

We are continually developing the Company’s operation and upgrading IT systems, and will invest to a high degree in staff training to professional level.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions approach is to listen to our Clients and Customers, to openly discuss the individual requirements of every contract, thus ensuring that our Clients remain fully satisfied with our service delivery.

With each project we undertake, a Quality Plan which is implemented, encompassing control measures that ensure the Client’s requirements are met, within the specified time, and in line with the budget. To this end, we endeavour to work as a committed team, in a spirit of co-operation with our Clients and their customers.

Merlin Supply Chain Solutions’ management and supervisory staff have the authority to make decisions, within the scope of their responsibilities, and are charged with working in accordance with the documented procedures.


● To continually meet in full the requirements of all of our Clients.
● To carry out all our activities within this policy, thus helping to ensure a committed and sustainable work ethic for the benefit of our Clients and all of our staff.
● To continually identify improvements to existing working practices.
● In order for Merlin Supply Chain Solution to achieve the above objectives, every employee and sub-contractor must:
● Understand our Client and Customer needs
● Be responsible and accountable for the quality of their work.
● Implementation of the Quality Policy requires IQAs to ensure they:
● Implement the QP fully across their programmes.
● Establish effective communications inside and outside of the company
● Ensure all staff/allocated assessors understand and comply with the Quality Policy.
● Promote innovation, learning, review and development.
● Carry out reviews of the implementation of the QP, reporting any findings to the TD.
● Delegate responsibility and authority to the level at which work is carried out.

Sampling Plans are records, which demonstrate effective operation of the Quality Policy. The sampling records are held by IQAs for each programme using the templates provided. Master copies of these documents are contained within the Courses Strand Operating Procedures (CSOPs). The documents within this Quality Policy are the only ones authorised to be used by IQAs. All IQA documentation is held within the Merlin Supply Cain Solutions Policy and Procedures Folder.

Evidence Checking Arrangements for Trainee Assessors/Trainee IQAs
The Federation of Awarding Bodies additional requirements for qualifications that use the title NVQ within the QCF dated September 2009 stipulate ‘All assessment decisions made by a trainee assessor must be checked by a qualified assessor or an assessor recognised by an awarding organisation’. To comply with this requirement, Merlin Supply Chain Solutions trainee assessors will request a ‘counter signature’ from a qualified assessor after each candidate visit or assessment of evidence.

The qualified assessor will check and sign all assessed evidence to confirm the Validity, Authenticity, Currency, Reliability and Sufficiency (VACRS). Trainee assessors will be allocated a qualified assessor by the IQA responsible for the programme. Trainee IQAs will be allocated a mentor and experienced IQA to ‘check’ all sampling decisions. This check will be confirmed through countersigning of trainee IQA judgements. The trainee assessor & IQA will have a plan overseen by the centre to achieve the relevant award in an agreed timescale.

Witness testimonies are an accepted and established form of evidence which can be used in portfolio compilation by Learners. Typically, witness testimonies can be generated by peers, line managers and other suitable individuals working closely with the Learner. Witnesses are usually defined as being those people who are occupationally expert in their role.

An Expert Witness Testimony (EWT) can be defined as: ‘A person who has recognised vocational competence and who the centre has identified as being acceptable for providing testimony of the learner’s practice’

EWTs are from those individuals who are occupationally expert in their role and who are familiar with the qualification standards to which their testimony pertains. They may meet specific requirements as identified in the assessment strategy and may be specialists in their occupational field. EWT for Smart Training Solutions (UK) Limited courses must meet the following criteria:

The EWT must hold one of the following qualifications or their recognised equivalent:
● Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment or
● Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement, or
● A1 Assess candidate performance using a range of methods, or
● D32 Assess candidate performance and D33 Assess candidate using differing sources of evidence.

Show current evidence of continuing professional development in assessment and quality assurance.

The EWT must already hold the qualification (or previous equivalent qualifications) they are assessing and have successfully assessed learners for other qualifications; if assessing quality assurance roles, they must have experience as a qualified quality assurance practitioner of carrying out internal or external quality assurance of qualifications for a minimum of two assessors:

● Have up-to-date working knowledge and experience of best practice in assessment
and quality assurance
● Hold one of the following qualifications or their recognised equivalent:
● The Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment or
● The Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement, or
● A1 Assess candidate performance using a range of methods, or
● D32 Assess candidate performance and D33 Assess candidate using differing sources of evidence.
● Show current evidence of continuing professional development in assessment and quality assurance.

Expert Witnesses will have a working knowledge of the units/qualification standards to which their expertise pertains. They will maintain regular CPD to keep their expertise current and are likely to have a role in the work place which involves the evaluation of staff practice. The use of Expert Witnesses at Centres can greatly assist the assessment of Learners’ portfolios. Expert Witnesses provide testimony to the Learner’s competence for specific qualification units/assessment criteria, but the management of the assessment process always remains with the assessor, who will judge the Learner’s evidence and determine when competence has been reached.

If Expert Witnesses are managed correctly their testimonies will have parity with assessor observation, resulting in assessors needing to spend minimal time assessing this evidence.

● Contain a brief description of the context and/or circumstances of the observation
● Be specific to the units/assessment criteria the EWT is utilising to identify where the Learner has demonstrated competence against the assessment criteria/qualification components
● Be signed and dated by the Expert Witness.

Use of Expert Witnesses can help to supplement our resources, thereby relieving the pressure on busy assessors. The assessors always have overall responsibility for managing the assessment of portfolios and all assessment decisions will be robust.
Expert Witness Information
The suitability of EWTs will be identified by the assessor and agreed by the Training Director before they are involved in the programme. The

Maintain a register of EWTs used by the centre which contains details of their expertise and their signatures
Confirm, with the assessor, the EWTs suitability, which will be evidenced by CVs or statements of occupational expertise, CPD logs and relevant certificates to demonstrate their expertise and ongoing self-development in the relevant skill or subject area. The EWT will complete a signature list

● Induction of the EWT into the centre and the provision of the following information:
● Who the Centre Co-ordinator is and what their responsibilities are
● The Learners’ assessor(s)
● The Centre’s recording forms

Expert Witnesses need to be thoroughly conversant with not only the qualification standards their
testimony will be required for, but also the language the standards are written in. Some Expert
Witnesses may need guidance on how to write their testimony and the Expert Witness will
work with the assessor in agreeing which units/assessment criteria they will provide testimony for.

Version 5.0 / Control date 20 June 2022 / Policy Author Stuart McDonagh / June 2023