Expert Witnesses

Expert Witnesses

Etutor Alliance encourages the use of expert witnesses as part of the assessment process. Awarding body approval might also be required before an expert can be used. Expert witnesses may be used where there are no occupationally competent assessors for certain specialist fields, to minimise intrusion in the workplace or as a part of a range of assessment methods.

An expert witness must:

– Have a working knowledge of the RQF units for which they are providing witness testimony;

– Be occupationally competent in their area of expertise;

– Have either any qualification that includes assessment of workplace performance or a professional work role which involves evaluating everyday practice of staff.

How to belome an expert witness?
The expert should complete our expert witness occupational competency declaration  or provide a copy of their CV and any relevant qualifications. Please inform your assessor during your initial assessment and planning that you seek to use experts. This will need to be acknowledged within your assessment plan.

It is important that experts fully understand their role, responsibilities and the range of evidence they can provide. Please share the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of all your units with your expert/s. Inductions, support, and guidance is available from Etutor Alliance for all experts.

Please note that any evidence from expert witnesses that have not been formally identified as part of your assessment strategy might not be accepted.

Experts will need to either provide evidence on official letterhead or utilise our expert witness form when providing evidence. Evidence from expert witnesses should not appear to be a testimonial but simply a record of what has been observed. Experts should not make an assessment decision. Their primary role is to be a witness.

Quality of evidence
The evidence from experts should be authentic, reliable, sufficient and current. There should be clear dates of the events or activities being witnessed. The evidence should not be generic but a record of what is being witnessed at a particular time. For example, the following will not be acceptable “Peter is always reliable and professional. He always turns up to work on time and ensures he is always on time. He always says hello to everyone and if very polite. He is very competent and reliable team member

Unfortunately the above is not evidence. The witness has not provided a time frame for their observation. They have simply generalised and also gave an assessment decision regarding competency. The following record which was on letterhead is, however, better and fit for purpose “Today at Sussex house I have witnessed Nancy supporting a student. This was the first meeting with the student.

Nancy asked the student about the nature of the support she required. She then explained how the service operates including expectations and procedures. Nancy informed the student about our rules and procedures. She explained about our confidentiality policy and how information is recorded and retained. Consent was sought from the student who ended up signing a form authorising permission to share information with other professionals.

Nancy provided information regarding the courses and the different options. She discussed the advantages and limitations of all the courses. Leaflets were provided regarding all the courses discussed. Nancy made it clear that her duty was to provide the information so that the student can make informed choices. She encouraged the student to read the leaflets provided and access the organisation’s website. She also encouraged independent research regarding the courses.

During the discussion, I noticed that Nancy demonstrated good body language, which included giving eye contact and listening. She allowed the student to fully express himself without any interruption. She also checked some of the information provided whenever she appeared unsure. Nancy used simple English and explained any jargon or abbreviations. She checked if the student fully understood the content of the discussion by asking questions. She was articulate, professional and appeared to have good subject knowledge as she addressed all questions. She also took notes of the discussion.

Towards the end of the meeting, Nancy asked the learner if he had any other questions or wanted any further clarification. She informed the student that she was available if any further questions arose at a later time.

Nancy advised the student regarding her working days and hours. Although she worked part-time she informed that other colleagues would be available to provide support whenever required. The meeting ended with a review appointment being agreed on and booked.

She later transferred her notes on the computer system and opened an account on the Learner Support Network. A report was generated and forwarded to the learner for their approval regarding the information recorded. Nancy followed the organisation policies and procedures regarding recording information, which has to be done within 24 hours. I looked at her report and records, which were a true reflection of her interactions with her student.”

A date has not been provided within the body of the statement for the above as one was also printed on the letterhead. All evidence from experts will be verified during quality assurance.