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Managing the verification of occupational qualifications registered on the OQSF through the QCTO verification process


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Managing the verification of occupational qualifications registered on the OQSF through the QCTO verification process

    1. For the QCTO to verify the achievement of a learner who has completed a trade, occupational qualification, part-qualification or skills programme, the QCTO maintains a secure database of all certified data and where appropriate, makes use of hard copies of contractual and certified information for legacy trades.Through the SDA as amended, the QCTO is responsible for all certified trades' data from the Department of Manpower/Labour and the Department of Higher Education and Training, and therefore also has the responsibility of verifying the certificates issued under these dispensations.The QCTO has delegated the certification of sector based and historically registered occupational qualifications registered · on the OQSF to the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) which are appointed as Quality Assurance Partners (QAPs) and Professional Bodies. This is a transitional arrangement and will be phased out as the QCTO expands its quality assurance functions to cover the historically registered qualifications of which the information

      is available on the NLRD. When QCTO takes on the data of the QAPs, the QCTO will assist SAQA where required with regard to the verification of these qualifications which will be solely undertaken by the SAQA. The QCTO through the delegation of functions to QAPs will assist as required to ensure that qualification information not recorded on the NLRD is obtained.

    2. The QCTO values quality information submitted by a verification client as a cornerstone in an effective and reliable verification process and therefore in verifying a certificate, the QCTO ensures that the certificate presented for verification corresponds in all aspects with the data stored on the database and in hard copies where appropriate.

      The QCTO ensures that the certified learner achievement data is securely stored and can only be accessed in order to verify the authenticity of the learner qualification achievement data or certificate presented for verification.

      Only trained and authorised persons have access to the data. The verification personnel are aware that the credibility of the qualification and verification rests on their ethical behaviour in respect of the information they work with.

    3. The verification of qualifications is managed through the following processes:

      • ensuring learner certification;

      • managing a verification system;

      • developing and managing suitable system processes and procedures for verification;

      • maintaining trade related data in hard copy;

      • maintaining an updated database of all certificates issued and an audit trail of transactions executed by users on the system;

      • maintaining a record system for verifications;

      • ensuring proper back-ups of the certification database; and

      • verifying certified qualifications as registered on the OQSF on request; and

      • maintaining a register of misrepresented qualifications and report to SAQA as required.

    4. The QCTO verifies a certificate and qualification by confirming that:

      • the information as printed on the certificate corresponds with the data captured on the QCTO certification database and hard copies of certification data as appropriate;

      • the certificate was issued in terms of the legislative requirements specified;

      • the certificate is valid;

      • the covert and overt security features adopted by the QCTO in the issuing of certificates are valid; and

      • the qualification was achieved.

    5. The NQF Act as amended further stipulates that if after verification of a qualification, part qualification or skills programme is inauthentic or is found to be a misrepresented qualification, part qualification or skills programme or is declared

      by a court of law to be a fraudulent qualification, part qualification or skills programme, the SAQA must refer such a finding or information to the relevant professional body as may be prescribed and must

      1. inform the requester and the holder of the qualification, part qualification or skills pogramme of the finding;
      2. record such finding in the register of misrepresented qualifications, part qualifications and skill programmes or fraudulent qualification, part qualification or skill programme; and
      3. provide the SAQA with all particulars of the holder to enable the SAQA before recording such finding in the relevant register, to give notice and comply with the Act.

      The verification and evaluation processes referred to in the NQF Act must conform to the provision of the Prmo9tion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000, (Act No 3 of 2000)

    6. Tariffs for verification are reviewed and set by the Council on an annual basis. New tariffs are implemented on 1 April annually.
  1. Security in the verification process

    1. A credible certification and verification environment requires quality and security to be constantly foregrounded. The principles for ensuring security include:
      • users with controlled access to the system only perform verification functions;
      • all activities on the system log an audit trail;
      • user access to the system is maintained and monitored;
      • the storage and printing of certificates takes place in a secured environment;
      • a record of all certificates issued is maintained;
      • credible certification forms are used which have security features that are regularly enhanced; and
      • backups and storage of data are maintained.
    2. The QCTO has a zero tolerance approach to fraudulent and corrupt practices and therefore urges members of the public to:
    3. It is illegal to misrepresent a qualification issued by an awarding body. Employers and learning institutions are encouraged to verify the authenticity of an occupational and trade certificate with the QCTO.

      7.4 Offences and Penalties with regard to the misrepresentation and fraudulent information on qualifications are stipulated in Section 328 of the NQF Act as amended.

  2. QCTO Verification Responsibilities

    1. The QCTO undertakes to:

      • provide an accurate and reliable verification response, as agreed with the client in the SLA, upon request from the client;

      • adhere to SLA requirements and to notify the client when unforeseen circumstances affect the QCTO's ability to verify and/or meet the SLA requirements;

      • keep records of the number of verification requests made by a client during an invoicing period;

      • invoice the client monthly where applicable;

      • if an unforced incorrect verification outcome was submitted to a client, submit a letter of apology as well as corrected verification outcome to the client provided that proof is supplied that the QCTO was at fault during the verification process;

      • provide a sworn affidavit regarding a verification, which may have resulted in a disciplinary hearing and/or a court case; and

      • testify at a hearing or a court-case when a subpoena is issued if required.

    2. The QCTO shall comply with the requirements as set out by the NQF Act as amended and SAQA policies with regard to verification and reporting cases of misrepresentation of qualifications.

      8.3 The QCTO will on an annual basis liaise with its clients through a workshop to enhance understanding of the verification process.

  3. Verification client responsibilities

    1. The verification client is a legally registered company or other body/authority that provides its customers and other third parties with, amongst others, a qualification verification service subject to the requirements in the NQF Act as amended. A verification client seeks to enter into a contract with the QCTO to verify the certificates of learner achievement issued by the QCTO as well as trade certificate issued previously by the Department of Manpower, DOL and DHET can do so in terms of the requirements of this policy as well as the NQF Act as amended and related verification policies as issued by SAQA.

      9.2 The verification client shall initiate each request for verification, forwarding an electronic copy of a certificate via email including details as per the QCTO prescribed format indicating the full name of the candidate (name under which qualification was issued), accompanied by the date of birth, ID number and date issued. Each certificate, or certificate number, shall be directly associated with the personal details of an individual. Further to the requirements in the NQF Act, the client must provide a contactable number of the qualification holder as well as an email address should SAQA be required to contact the qualification holder of a misrepresented record.

        1. The client will:
          1. sign an SLA with the QCTO before the verification service can commence;
          2. request the verification interms of the requirements stipulated by the QCTO and as further outlined in the policy;
          3. ensure that the information provided by the QCTO is secure, and used only for the purposes intended;
          4. maintain accurate records of the number of verification requests made, as well as of the verifications completed by the QCTO;
          5. comply with the requirements for submitting verification records as specified by the QCTO;
          6. pay for verification services as per the agreed and signed SLA;
          7. ensure that all requests for verification are compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act, in as far as the learner having given consent for the verification of his/her records.
        1. The QCTO will also take responsibility for reporting cases, where misrepresentation of the qualification is detected to the SAQA for further investigation as required in the NQF Act.9..4.1 The QCTO verification client must submit applicable information should the QCTO or SAQA require additional information with regard to a verification request submitted, in a format determined. by the SAQA and QCTO.
        2. Client requests

          1. The QCTO SLA and Verification Payment Terms and Fee Agreement, signed with the verification client, outlines the requirements and conditions of the service.

            Requests for verifications must be submitted via e-mail to the QCTO verification e-mail address (verification @qcto.orq.za) with a copy of the certificate issued by the authority. The QCTO may also introduce an electronic verification system as required and will prescribe the format in which the information must be submitted for verification.

          2. Under no circumstances, is verification done telephonically or any other way not stipulated in this policy.
          3. The QCTO has the right to amend the format and fields required to do a verification by communicating the requirements within good time to its clients.
  4. Provision of feedback

    1. Feedback with specific results will be forwarded to the client in a format stipulated by the QCTO.The QCTO provides the following outcomes on verification:

      Valid

       

      certificate as attached is valid

      Unconfirmed

      certificate cannot be .confirmed as valid - reason is provided.

      The QCTO may not have a record of the qualification presented and cannot provide feedback; or

      This may result in further investigation and reporting of possible misrepresented record to the SAQA.

      10.2

      If more evidence arid information is required, the client can request the QCTO to issue an affidavit.

      10.3 The QCTO staff are periodically requested and/or subpoenaed to provide expert testimony in court cases and/or disciplinary hearings. Where it is possible to avoid having one of its staff appear in person, the QCTO makes use of an Affidavit in terms of Section 212(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act No 51 of 1977) as amended.

      When an appearance in court is unavoidable, the requesting body is obliged to make appropriate arrangements and cover travel and subsistence for the QCTO staff member, as pre-arranged, for the staff member who is required to testify.

  5. Turnaround time

    1. The QCTO undertakes to provide feedback within 5 working days of receipt of the request, in accordance with the SLA.Should circumstances affect the turnaround time, the QCTO undertakes to advise clients of the delay and to give an indication of when the outcome will be provided.
  6. Verification Type and feedback

    1. The QCTO does only one type of verification for a Trade Certificate i.e. full verification, which requires that the certificate should be presented forverification. For occupational qualifications, part qualifications and skills programmes where the QCTO issued the certificate, an electronic process will be followed without submission of the certificate but this may be requested should the QCTO require further evidence.The QCTO stipulates the requirements for the submission of verification requests from the clients, which also makes provision for the QCTO feedback to the client. The QCTO has identified a range of reasons that can be associated with an unconfirmed response which is provided to the client on each unconfirmed transaction, which is further explained below:

      The following feedback will be supplied for verification:

      12.1.1 Valid

      The judgement "Valid' is accorded to a verification if there is a complete match: the certificate number and trade, name and surname, date of birth and/or identity number and/or passport number, date tested and date of issue all correspond exactly with the QCTO certification data.

      There are a number of grounds for which the judgement 'Unconfirmed' can be accorded. These are identified in the section below:

      Certificate with the number indicated was issued to somebody else Certificate with the number as reflected was used in a certificate to another person. Each certificate is issued with a unique number, which is not duplicated. Certificates issued by the Departments and QCTO have serial numbers.

      When verification is undertaken according to a certificate number, and the database reveals that the said certificate was issued to another party, such a certificate will be listed on the database of possible fraudulent certificates.

      Trade differs

      When a verification evaluation reveals that the certificate presented for verification exists in the person's name, but has been altered to reflect a different trade the judgement 'Unconfirmed: Trade Differs' is accorded. This means that the certificate is indeed made out in the name provided in the verification inquiry, but that the certificate has been altered to reflect a different trade. Such a certificate will be listed on the database of possible fraudulent certificates.

      Change of Act and Section referred to on trade certificate

      When a verification evaluation reveals that the certificate presented for verification exists in the person's name, but has had the Act and/or Section issued under altered, for example from a Section 28 to a Section 13 under the Manpower Training Act, the judgement 'Unconfirmed: Act and/or Section altered' is accorded. This means that the certificate is indeed made out in the name provided in the verification inquiry, but that the certificate has been altered to reflect a different Act and/or Section. Such a certificate will be listed on the database of possible fraudulent certificates.

      When a certificate is verified and it indicates that the surname has been altered, the judgement 'Unconfirmed: Surname differs' is accorded.

      Name differs

      When a certificate is verified and it indicates that the name has been altered, the judgement 'Unconfirmed: Name differs' is accorded.

      ID/Passport number or Date of Birth differs

      When the information on the request corresponds in all aspects with the information on the QCTO certification database, but there is a discrepancy in the ID/Passport number or Date of Birth, the judgment 'Unconfirmed: ID/Passport number or Date of Birth differs' will be accorded to the request.

      Issue date differs

      When the information on the QCTO certification database agrees in all respects with the request, but there is a discrepancy on the date on which the certificate was issued, the judgment 'Unconfirmed: Issue date differs' will be accorded to the request.

      Certificate number differs

      When the information supplied in the request agrees in all aspects with the information on the QCTO certification database, but the certificate number does not correspond, the judgment 'Unconfirmed: Certificate number differs' will be accorded to the request.

      Possible fraudulent certificate number/certificate number does not exist Should a certificate be submitted for verification and no record can be found on the QCTO certification database for said certificate number, the judgment 'Unconfirmed: Certificate does not exist' will be accorded to the request. This might further mean that the number does not correspond to certificate numbers used in the issuing of trade certificates. Such a certificate will be listed on the possible fraudulent certificates database.

      Certificate not issued by Department of Labour/Department of Higher Education and Training or QCTO

      The data does not correspond or does not exist on the QCTO certification database. This will indicate that no record of a certificate issued exists on the database. Such a certificate will be listed on the possible fraudulent certificates database.

      Certificate issued by a SETA/Training Board and cannot be verified by QCTO

      The QCTO cannot verify the certificate and the client should contact the issuing body. The client will be guided by the logo and name of the issuing body on the certificate. No charge will be raised in such instances.

      Certificate not presented for verification - unable to verify record

      As the certificate has not been presented for verification, the QCTO is unable to complete the verification. Such verification requests will not be charged for.

      Confirmation of qualification obtained on basis of trade test report submitted

      The verification client has submitted a copy of a trade test. Based on the trade test report evidence can be found of a certificate having been issued to the person concerned. This will afford a 'Valid' feedback, however, the additional reason will be added.

      • Change of Act and/or Section referred to on a Trade Certificate

      • The information on the Certification database indicates that the certificate was issued in terms of a different Act and/or Section of the Act as the case may be.

      • No record found

      • No record can be found on the certification database for the certificate number supplied.

      • Copy of certificate unclear - unable to verify request

      • The copy of the certificate supplied by the verification client is not of sufficient quality for a definitive decision to be made as to the validity of the certificate in all aspects.

      Feedback to a client where the information supplied by the client in the request for verification differs from the information on the supplied certificate

      The following reasons do not necessarily result in a record of misrepresentation and the requester must consider the feedback to make a final decision.

      Name differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be 'Valid', however this reason will be supplied where the name supplied by the client on the request document, does not correspond with the information on the certificate. The client must validate that the person identified on the request document is the rightful owner of the certificate.

      Surname differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be 'Valid', however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the surname supplied on the request document, does not correspond with the information on the certificate. The client must validate that the person identified on the request document is the rightful owner of the certificate.

      ID number/Date of birth/Passport number differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be 'Valid', however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the ID number/Date of birth and/or Passport number supplied on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate. The client must validate that the person identified on the request document is the rightful owner of the certificate.

      Certificate number differs or not valid on the data supplied by the client The response will be 'Valid', however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the Certificate Number supplied on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate.

      Issue date differs on the data supplied by the client

      The response will be 'Valid', however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the Issue date indicated on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate.

      Trade differs on data supplied by the client

      The response will be 'Valid', however, this reason will be supplied to indicate that the Trade indicated on the request document does not correspond with the information on the certificate.

      Additional reasons may be added as required. Clients will be informed of any such amendments

      No record found

      No record can be found for a certificate presented for verification on the QCTO electronic system or hard copies (verified against certificate information).

      This does not imply that it is a possible misrepresented document. Additional information to support the issuing of the certificate can be presented for further investigation.

      This applies particularly to certificates issued under the Apprenticeshi p Act of 1944, certificates issued by the Homelands and some training boards where information is not available at the QCTO.

      Authentication of Qualification - Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)

      Some embassies require that a certificate must be authenticated and then legalised by DIRCO. Certificates issued by the QCTO are authenticated after certification, on request by a certificate holder and then submitted to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) - Legislation section for legalisation (Apostille/Certificate of Authentication) purposes.

      The QCTO provides specimen signatures of officials that are authorised to sign the letter of authentication to DIRCO in order to ensure validation of such letters; prior to DIRCO making a submission to the respective embassy.

      Applicants are required to submit the request to the Certification Unit directly after payment has been made to the QCTO. The QCTO records the application and provides feedback to the applicant within 3 working days. The applicant is responsible for delivery of the letter of authentication to DIRCO.

      Translation of certificates

      Certificates previously issued in Afrikaans can be translated on request. A transcript in this regard is issued and a copy of the original certificate is attached for verification.

      Verification for other purposes

      The QCTO receives requests from certificate holders for other purposes, such as work visa requirements, evaluation of qualifications by a foreign body etc. Applicants are required to submit the request to the Certification Unit directly after payment has been made to the QCTO. The QCTO records the application and provides feedback to the applicant within 5 working days.

      Should the certification data not be available at the QCTO and must be requested from a SETA or relevant body, the applicant will be informed and the turnaround time is then calculated from the date of receipt of the certificate verification information.

  7. Reporting and invoices to clients

    The QCTO has an approved fee structure with regards to verification and related services. The fee structure is approved on a three-year basis. Verification clients are informed of the fee structure through an official circular.

    The council has the right to amend fees.

  8. Complaints and appeals

    The QCTO will investigate complaints and requests about misrepresentation of qualifications and fraudulent certificates against Service Level Agreement targets as well as the requirements stipulated in the NQF Act and SAQA verification policies.

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