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Plagiarism and Collusion

Plagiarism and Collusion are considered forms of Learner Malpractice, which contravenes awarding organisation regulations and breaks the Conditions of Registration. Plagiarism may occur inadvertently due to inexperience.  The temptation to plagiarise may arise from a lack of self-confidence or from a lack of understanding about the aims of the assessment and about what is required from you. 

Where plagiarised material is included as part of the work you want to have assessed, assessors are likely to notice the shift in styles and may be aware of the source.  Copying the work of others would be counterproductive to your goal of understanding the requirements of your award and to real achievement.  Most individuals will not wish to take such a negative approach towards achieving their award and the VQAC will not tolerate it.  In signing your registration agreement form you are also confirming that all assessment work you submit will be your own.

Submitting work that has been done by someone else is an obvious instance of plagiarism and is regarded as cheating.  It is intellectually dishonest to cheat in this way. 

If you make available, sell or advertise for sale work in any form or by any means (print, electronic, recording or otherwise) so as to enable plagiarism whether or not the work includes marks, comments or any other materials produced by an assessor, unless prior consent has been given by the VQ Assessment Centre you are encouraging or enabling plagiarism. Such cases will be investigated as potential Collusion.

You should read carefully the following information carefully, to be familiar with the definition, investigation process and potential implications regarding plagiarism and collusion.


A specific form of cheating that applies to all assessment, taking someone else’s intellectual effort and presenting it as one’s own work.


  • unacknowledged incorporation into a learners work of materials derived from published (such as books, articles and internet materials) or unpublished (such as work submitted or about to be submitted by another learner) work by another person and presented as if it were the learner’s own work
  • unacknowledged copying from published sources or incomplete referencing
  • using a choice phrase or sentence that you have come across
  • copying word-for-word directly from text
  • paraphrasing the words from a text very closely
  • using text downloaded from the internet
  • borrowing statistics or assembled facts from another person or source
  • copying or downloading figures, photographs, pictures or diagrams without acknowledging your sources
  • copying from notes or portfolio from another candidate doing the same award
  • copying from your notes, on a text, tutorial, video, etc. that contact direct quotations


A form of plagiarism that involves unauthorised co-operation between at least two people with the intent to deliberately mislead or deceive


  • two or more learners conspiring to produce a piece of work together with the intention that it is submitted as his/her own work
  • submitting the work of another learner, with their consent, as his/her own individual work
  • working collaboratively with other candidates, beyond what is permitted
  • copying from another candidate including the use of IT to aid the copying
  • allowing work to be copied e.g. posting written coursework on social networking sites prior to an assessment
  • The offence of encouraging or enabling plagiarism includes the act of posting work onto any public website whether or not it is done with the intention of enabling or encouraging plagiarism.

Investigation process

In all suspected cases of Plagiarism and/ or Collusion, the centre is required to notify the awarding organisation within 10 working days.

In most cases, this will be followed by a full investigation by the centre; including the gathering of evidence and obtaining written statements from all parties involved. The centre will then present a record of the full investigation and evidence to the awarding organisation, for consideration by the relevant independent Malpractice Panel or Committee.

Further to consideration of the investigation and its findings, the awarding organisation will determine:

  • whether malpractice has occurred
  • where the culpability lies for the malpractice
  • the nature of any sanction or penalty to be applied to both the candidate and the centre

Potential implications

The conclusion of the investigation involves the awarding organisation advising the centre whether any sanctions are to be imposed. The following sanctions may be applied individually or in combination

  • Written warning: the awarding organisation will issue a warning to warn that if the offence is repeated further sanctions may be applied
  • Assessment evidence will be disallowed: submitted evidence is disallowed, either in part (for the relevant section or unit) or in full (the entire qualification) and learner must submit new evidence for assessment
  • Disqualification from the unit: the learner is disqualified from a unit or qualification for a set period of time, the learner can only re-submit work after the set time period has elapsed
  • Disqualification from the whole qualification: the learner is disqualified from the whole qualification for a set period of time, the learner can only re-enter for the qualification after the set period of time has elapsed
  • Further and future registration of the learner will not be accepted (for qualifications or programmes)
  • Certificate will not be issued, or will be cancelled: the awarding organisation may withhold a certificate that has not yet been claimed or cancel a certificate that has been issued if there is evidence to prove or found that the certificate issued is invalid due to learner malpractice

Further information

Each awarding organisation publishes a policy relating to Learner Malpractice. You should be aware of the policy that applies to your qualification and the awarding organisation you are registered with.

City & Guilds 

ILM: Plagiarism, Collusion and Cheating Policy

OCR: Joint Council for Qualifications Suspected Malpractice in Examinations and Assessments

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