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Conflicts of Interests identified within the framework of the Inspiring Learning Group


This document is to address the perceived conflict of interest brought about through the relationship of In2Assessments, Skern Training & Skills and the Inspiring Learning Group.

1. Skern Training & Skills

2. In2Assessments

3. Inspiring Learning

4. How staffing is managed within In2Assessments to limit conflicts of interest

5. How conflicts of interest could manifest and actions taken to prevent occurrence.

6. Where Malpractice or Maladministration or a conflict of interest has been brought against the Head of In2Assessments

1. Skern Training & Skills

Skern Training & Skills (STS) was established in 2019 from business generated by Skern Lodge Outdoor Activity Centre. STS is an approved RoATP organisation currently offering 5 apprenticeship standards within three sectors, Outdoor Education, Hospitality, and Business & Administration.


STS is run as a separate entity and is managed through Skern Lodge, whose Executive Director, Richard Thomas sits on the (SLT) and reports to the CEO. Skern Training and Skills is headed up by Alex Coyle and is based remotely and from Skern Lodge.


Skern Training & Skills provides training and development for apprentices and graduates. Within its apprentice market it provides the above standards for employees within Inspiring Learning and for external clients. It also provides behavioural based learning for apprentices from a range of sectors including from the motor trade to nuclear energy. Offering 4 or 5 day residentials at various centres around the UK.


Its graduate market is solely focused on its behavioural courses and provides an element of leadership and management within the residential experience. These are again offered within various centres around the UK.


2. In2Assessments

In2Assessments was created in 2021 with the intention of registering to provide assessments for the following qualifications:

  • Level 3 Outdoor Activity Instructor ST0479

  • Level 2 Hospitality Team Member ST0233

  • Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor ST0230

  • Level 3 Business & Administration Team Leader/Supervisor ST0384

  • Level 5 Business & Administration Operations or Department Manager ST0385

and to be able to offer EPA to both internal and external apprentices.


In2Assessments is very aware of the perceived conflict of interest of an organisation assessing its own candidates. It is therefore imperative from the setup of In2Assessments that it is established as an organisation within its own right within the Inspiring Learning group.  In2action-EPA trades through In2action, based on the Isle of Wight. The Executive Director of In2action, Ellie Websdell, will sit on the In2Assessments Governing Committee with the Head of In2Assessments, Barry Kaufman-Hill. Ellie sits on the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and reports to Alex Williamson the CEO, and Nick Hales, Finance Director, and the Governing Body of In2action-EPA.


Fig 1. How In2Assessments fits within the company structure

Organisation Chart Inspiring Learning.jpg

In2Assessments will be run as a separate entity from the rest of the IL Group, it’s Governance and financial management will be managed through its registered company In2action but all operations and assessments undertaken by In2Assessments will be managed by the Head of In2Assessments. Responsibility for the management and rigorous process of assessments will be overseen by the Governing Committee made up of Barry Kaufman-Hill, Ellie Websdell, The EPA Manager and an External Chair. (As yet to be appointed) As In2Assessments becomes established, up to two external further committee members will be appointed to the Governing Committee.

Due to the multiple directorships within Inspiring Learning, The Governing Body Members, Alex Williamson and Nick Hales will have no influential role within the governance and delivery of the assessment process.  Their role Governing Body role will be limited to the annual financial reporting and the growth and reputation of In2Assessments.  They will forfeit their Governing Role to the Governing Committee who will have the power to veto any influence from the Governing Body.

To help maintain a level of integrity, credibility and autonomy, the Chair of the Governing Committee will be through an external sub-contractor to provide a respectable level of impartiality.

In2Assessments will only provide End-Point Assessments for the standards highlighted above. It will provide assessments to a range of clients of which Inspiring Learning will be one.


3. Inspiring Learning

Inspiring Learning (IL) is the overarching group that encompasses both Skern Training & Skills and In2Assessments. Within its organisations IL includes Kingswood, which is the predominant employer of apprenticeships within the group. With numbers undertaking the OAI around 150 and for those in hospitality due to be around 100 – 150, and a further 40-50 apprentices within business and administration. Skern Lodge also has small number of apprentices and employees working towards qualifications in all three sectors. Inspiring Learning contracts STS as its training provider and looks to contract In2Assessments as its End-Point Assessment Organisation provider in the future.

The Directors of Inspiring Learning are both members of the Governing Body of In2Assessments.


Initially In2Assessments will be backed and financed by Inspiring Learning during start up and during the early period of growth. IIn2Assessments will be able to continue to draw down support for various management practices including IT, HR etc. even when it has its own financial security

4. How staffing is managed within In2Assessments to limit conflicts of interest

Staffing and personnel for In2Assessments will be recruited by In2Assessments and will be separate from those involved in the training and development of apprentices within the group. Due to the nature and pockets of employment, initially staff will be employed on a freelance basis. Both for assessment and internal verification. As the organisation grows and the time frame between assessments is reduced then more permanent positions will be provided. Firstly within the internal verification roles. No staff within the IL group who have been involved in any form of apprentice training will be allowed to assess candidates for EPA. This is clearly laid out within the Conflicts of Interest Policy.


5. How conflicts of interest could manifest and actions taken to prevent occurrence.

It is the responsibility of the Head of In2action-EPA to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest between, IL, STS and Kingswood.


These conflicts could include but are not limited to the following:

Pressure or influence to…

Financial constraints or incentives…

Personal conflicts of interests…

Management of Conflicts of Interest

Identification of potential conflicts of interest

All stakeholders are required to record potential or actual conflicts of interest and personal interest, dating back for a minimum of 3 years. This happens upon recruitment and is requested annually at contract renewal (during March each year). New conflicts should also be declared as soon as they are identified during the course of any contract year, by emailing

If there is any doubt that the situation represents a potential conflict, it is recommended that it should be declared.


The register of Conflicts of Interest is managed, monitored and maintained by the Head of In2Assessments. Decisions will be taken by the ‘relevant person’ - this will be a member of In2Assessments staff with the authority to make such a decision, and most usually would be the End Point Assessment Manager.

The ‘relevant person’ will then:

• Assess the nature of the conflict

• Assess the risk or threat to the organisation’s functions

• Decide whether the conflict warrants further action/mitigation to be taken 

• Decide what steps to take to avoid or manage the conflict or adverse effect


There may need to be a discussion between the person notifying the potential conflict and the ‘relevant person’. The purpose of the discussion is to establish if an actual conflict exists (and whether there is potential for an ‘adverse effect’) and if so, to reach a decision about how the conflict will be managed. Good practice would be that if no potential current conflicts are identified, these ‘nil returns’ are logged and recorded, and that regular review and update is undertaken. In2Assessments will take all reasonable steps to ensure that all staff and assessors involved in end-point assessment are required to declare any interest of friends or family sitting upcoming assessments and it will be necessary to complete and sign a declaration of interest form.


If a member of In2Assessments independent apprenticeship assessment staff is undertaking end-point assessment and identifies a conflict of interest on the day of the end-point assessment that previously has not been identified through the declaration, the independent assessor is required to contact an Internal Quality Assurer immediately before any assessment takes place. In2Assessments will contact the Training Provider / Employer and discuss an alternative provision for the end-point assessment of the apprentice(s) or put mitigating actions in place to ensure the integrity of the end-point assessment activity.


Managing the conflicts

Where a conflict of interest or personal interest has been identified, the next step is to analyse whether this could have an ‘Adverse Effect’. An ‘Adverse Effect’ is defined as:

“An act, omission, event, incident, or circumstance has an Adverse Effect if it –

(a) gives rise to prejudice to Apprentices or potential Apprentices, or

(b) adversely affects –

(i) the ability of the end point assessment organisation to undertake the development, delivery or provision of end-point assessment,

(ii) public confidence in qualifications.”

Where an ‘Adverse Effect’ could reasonably be expected to occur, all reasonable steps must be taken to mitigate the Effect as far as possible and to correct it.

This may be achieved by:

• Reorganising activities and/or key functions, where reasonable, so that the Adverse Effect is mitigated


• Gaining an undertaking from the individual(s) concerned to conduct their responsibilities so that the integrity of In2action-EPA end-point assessments is maintained, as well as their own professional integrity.

If neither of the above steps are possible, another solution must be found. The solution should be in proportion to the nature of the conflict. In extreme circumstances, activities may need to be monitored or even restricted.


The first step will be to try to eliminate the ‘Adverse Effect’ e.g. by assigning another member of staff to undertake the end-point assessment activity. By doing so, this reduces the risk of assessments being compromised and ultimately assessments being voided. Where elimination is not possible due to financial or/and resource implications, measures should be put in place which can demonstrate that the conflict is being managed effectively so as not to compromise the outcome of the assessment. Key principles here are transparency and mitigation.


All reasonable steps should be taken to avoid any part of the end-point assessment of an Apprentice (including assessing, interviewing, quality assurance) being undertaken by any person who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment. Where, having taken all such reasonable steps, an assessment by such a person cannot be avoided, arrangements should be made for the relevant part of the assessment to be subject to additional scrutiny by another person.


Internal conflicts

In2Assessments requires contractors involved in end-point assessments to declare conflict of interest if they are acting in different roles for In2Assessments for the same Training Provider/Employer. Any such declarations will be carefully monitored to ensure that those assessments are not compromised.

Internal Communications and operating procedures

6. Where Malpractice or Maladministration or a conflict of interest has been brought against a member of the Governing Committee

Where there has been deemed to be a breach of contract, a conflict of interest or case of malpractice or maladministration on the account of a member of the Governing Committee of In2Assessments, then the other members of the Governing Committee will call upon the Governing Body to direct the head of HR to investigate and to formally undertake a review of the processes that enabled such an action to occur. The process will be recorded and where necessary reported to the appropriate body. Ofqual, ESFA. Action taken against a Committee Member will be based upon recommendations from the Head of HR based on best practice outlined by the CIPD. Where employees of In2Assessments suspect or have evidence of malpractice or a conflict of interest against any Committee Member then they can raise this instantly with the Head of In2Assessments or the Governing Body or if they feel uncomfortable with this then the In2Assessments Whistleblowing Policy can be adopted. Where they feel there is a case of malpractice they can raise this issue with the HR department and allow them to investigate under the normal Inspiring Learning whistleblowing policy.

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