Regulations for the accreditation scheme for instructors in dog training and canine behaviour (M)

Dog at Crufts obediently looking up at handler

As at July 2019

1. The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors is a membership-based scheme which aims to provide a quality service to the dog owning public, training enthusiasts and canine professionals. It has the following objectives:

a. To promote responsible dog ownership

b. To provide educational guidance for members

c. To offer a personal and credible accreditation award

d. To maintain a national register of approved accredited instructors

e. To encourage continuing professional development and high standards of instructing

f. To help unite dog training and behaviour enthusiasts and canine professionals

2. For the purposes of this scheme, the term ‘instructor’ shall apply to all individuals who instruct, teach, advise or counsel in any aspect of dog training and canine behaviour, and to all those working towards gaining proficiency in these skills.

3. Membership. Anyone with an interest in dog training and canine behaviour may seek membership of the scheme by application to The Kennel Club and payment of a membership registration fee. All members of the scheme will be bound by The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors Code of Practice and will be subject to periodic reviews and assessments. There will be an annual membership subscription.

4. The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors Board. The scheme will be directed by a Board, appointed by The Kennel Club Board, and will deal with all areas of policy and discipline as may arise.

a. The Accredited Instructors Board will comprise of a chairman and a minimum of five persons, all of whom shall have a vote within The Accredited Instructors Board. All members of The Accredited Instructors Board must, save in exceptional circumstances, be accredited through the Accredited Instructors scheme with the exception of the executive of The Kennel Club department responsible for the scheme, who is an ex officio member of The Accredited Instructors Board. The quorum is to be four members of The Accredited Instructors Board. Scheme members will be eligible to nominate themselves to the Board and vacancies will be announced through the scheme newsletter as appropriate. Other Board members shall be nominated by The Kennel Club Board

b. Each member of The Accredited Instructors Board will serve for a period of three years, after which they may offer themselves for re-appointment. At least two members of The Accredited Instructors Board will retire annually by rotation but may offer themselves for re-appointment

c. The Accredited Instructors Board may appoint special advisers as required, who shall not have a vote within The Accredited Instructors Board

d. The Kennel Club Board will elect the chairman of The Accredited Instructors Board annually at its first meeting held after the annual general meeting of The Kennel Club

e. The Accredited Instructors Board shall elect a vice-chairman annually at the first meeting held after the annual general meeting of The Kennel Club. The election shall be by secret ballot if more than one nomination is received

5. The Code of Practice for Accredited Instructors (as set out in the scheme membership criteria documentation) shall apply to all members of the scheme.

6. Membership categories and assessment procedure.

a. The scheme will encompass four categories of membership:

(1) Member

(2) Honorary life member

(3) Fellow member

b. Two membership types are available to members, hobby (non commercial), and business (commercial)

c. Members will either be working towards accreditation in their chosen discipline or have achieved status as an accredited instructor

d. The scheme will offer one type of accreditation award:

(1) The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors - accredited instructor award

e. Honorary life members shall have all the rights and privileges of membership and shall not be liable to pay registration and annual renewal fees

f. Fellows are members who have made a proven significant contribution to dog training, over and above that of an average instructor. They will have skills and a breadth of knowledge that have been passed on to a variety of learners in a constructive, informative and professional manner

g. Members may apply for the accreditation award by successfully completing all of the online assessments, followed by undertaking an oral and practical assessment conducted by an appointed scheme assessor

h. Accreditation decisions will be made by The Accredited Instructors Board.

i. Having gained the appropriate award, the member will be entitled to use such in the promotion of their activities, provided they maintain membership of the scheme and remain a member in good standing. Such members may use the relevant Accredited Instructors scheme post-nominals after their names and will be entitled to use the title Kennel Club accredited instructor, as approved by The Accredited Instructors Board

j. All members will be required to support renewal of membership with a record of continuing professional development (CPD)

7. Any member of the scheme whose behaviour or other actions are judged to bring discredit upon the scheme may, on the authority of The Accredited Instructors Board, have imposed upon them any one or more of the following penalties:

a. be warned

b. be censured

c. have their membership terminated

8. The Kennel Club Board delegates to The Accredited Instructors Board its authority to investigate complaints and dispose of any complaint in respect of any member of the scheme. The scheme’s grievance procedure is set out at annex A to these regulations.

9. The Accredited Instructors Board shall have power to delegate to the secretary of The Kennel Club its authority to investigate complaints and thereafter to institute a) disciplinary or b) grievance proceedings or to dispose of any complaint if it appears to the secretary to be trivial or if in the secretary’s opinion disciplinary or grievance proceeding should not be brought for some good reason.

10. Membership fees and other fees shall be such sum as The Kennel Club board shall determine from time to time. Annual membership fees shall be payable on the anniversary of the member’s joining date.

11. The Kennel Club Board will be required to endorse all matters of policy and will be the final authority in all matters.

12. Reasonable adjustment policy

It is The Kennel Club's policy that all members of the Accredited Instructors scheme must be treated fairly and equitably. The scheme is committed to an inclusive approach to engaging with people and recognise that we are all different and may have different needs.

The Kennel Club recognises that reasonable adjustments to the Accredited Instructors scheme requirements, processes and/or procedures may be appropriate to ensure that the route to scheme accreditation is accessible and fair to all members, including those with disabilities or special needs.

The Accredited Instructors scheme will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of members applying for accreditation to ensure that no applicant is disadvantaged in relation to other applicants.

Such adjustments must not, however, affect the reliability or validity of assessment outcomes nor must they give any applicant an unfair assessment advantage over other applicants undertaking the same or similar assessments.

Whether an adjustment will be considered reasonable will depend on a number of factors which will include, but are not limited to the:

  • circumstances and needs of the applicant
  • practicalities and effectiveness of the adjustment
  • additional resources required to enable the adjustment
  • likely impact of the adjustment upon the applicant and other applicants

Adjustments must:

  • not make the application for accreditation easier
  • not give any applicant an unfair advantage
  • be based on the individual needs of the applicant
  • be auditable and capable of being internally and externally verified

Each request for a reasonable adjustment made will be considered by the Accredited Instructors scheme team on a case-by-case basis upon receipt of a written request from an applicant or their representative and the reasons for it. Documentary evidence from the applicant’s doctor may be required.

Requests for additional support that do not meet this reasonable adjustments policy will be declined.

Consideration by the Accredited Instructors scheme team to make reasonable adjustments and/or provide additional support to an applicant will relate primarily to the effect the adjustment may have on the applicant, the application for accreditation process and the practicalities and additional resources involved.

One-to-one mentoring

In general terms, additional support that may be offered in appropriate circumstances is likely to take the form of two one-to-one mentoring sessions of two hours duration, each with an appointed scheme mentor. The cost of the two one-to-one sessions will be borne by The Kennel Club, other than any costs such as travel and substance incurred by the applicant in attending the sessions.

One-to-one mentoring sessions will be designed to help ensure that applicants are given the level of support needed to enable them to reach the stage at which they would be ready to apply for accreditation and to complete a practical and oral assessment.

Following the provision of such additional support, the applicant will need to decide whether they are willing and able to apply for accreditation and to advise The Kennel Club of what further ongoing support they might need.

13. Review policy

1. Any member of the Accredited Instructors scheme will have the right to request a review against the outcome of the scheme assessor’s pre-assessment review or recommendation to The Accredited Instructors Board and/or the subsequent decision by The Accredited Instructors Board on the application for accreditation.

Grounds for review

2. For a review to be considered, applicants who have applied for accreditation must provide clear substantiated evidence in writing that:

a. the feedback provided to them on the pre-assessment review was inaccurate and the decision had been made with reference to irrelevant factors or without reference to relevant factors; or

b. the practical and oral assessment had not been conducted in accordance with the scheme criteria and/or requirements; or

c. procedural irregularities had occurred in the conduct of the assessment; or

d. insufficient opportunities to demonstrate competency had been provided to them.

Review process

3. Initial review

The applicant should submit a request for an initial review in writing to the Accredited Instructors scheme team within 10 working days of the date the applicant was notified of the pre-assessment review or The Accredited Instructors Board decision.

The request should set out clearly the grounds upon which the review is being requested.

The request for review will be acknowledged within 10 working days of receipt.

A designated member of the Accredited Instructors scheme team will ask the relevant scheme assessor to provide a written statement setting out the rationale for their pre-assessment review or recommendation within 10 working days.

The scheme assessor’s statement will be preliminary reviewed by the designated member of the Accredited Instructors scheme team and the applicant will be notified of the outcome of the initial review setting out the reason(s) for it.

4. Final review

a. If the applicant does not accept the outcome of the initial review, then a final application for review should be made by them within 10 working days of the date the applicant was notified of the outcome of the initial review

b. A member of The Accredited Instructors Board will be appointed to review the applicant’s request for a final review, examine the application for accreditation and the scheme assessor’s report and any other relevant information

c. The designated scheme board member will conduct an independent and objective review within a reasonable timescale. A written report will be provided, together with a recommendation, to the full Accredited Instructors Board for its consideration

d. The Accredited Instructors Board will consider the written report and may make one of the following recommendations:

• Reverse or modify the scheme assessor’s original decision

• Uphold the original pre-assessment or assessment decision

• Offer the applicant an opportunity for re-assessment free of charge

5. The Accredited Instructors Board’s decision on the review will be final and the applicant will have no further right to a review.

6. In the event that the review has not been concluded in the allocated timescale(s), then a reasonable extension of time by either party will be permitted.

Annex A to M Regulations M(A)

Grievance procedure - The complaint

1. Any person wishing to make a complaint about a member of the scheme, concerning their conduct, method of training or other matter may do so in writing to the secretary of The Kennel Club.

2. Any complaint should be lodged within 28 days or such longer period as the secretary may at his discretion allow from either the date when the matter of the complaint arose or from the time when the matter, which is the subject of the complaint, was discovered.

3. Upon receipt of the complaint against a member of the scheme, the secretary to The Kennel Club will initially consider the matter and designate whether the matter is for consideration under Rule A11 as a disciplinary issue or whether the matter should continue to be investigated and referred to The Accredited Instructors Board for resolution under these regulations.

4. If the case is to proceed by referral to The Accredited Instructors Board then the following process shall apply;

a. a copy of the complaint and any written statement and any supporting statements and a copy of these regulations shall be served on the member concerned; and

b. the member will be invited to submit a written statement setting out sufficient particulars to show on what grounds the complaint is denied or if he admits the complaint, to submit a written statement setting out any mitigating circumstances

5. Any written statement by the member shall be lodged with The Kennel Club within 21 working days of their receipt of the complainant’s written statement. The member’s written statement shall be accompanied by signed statements from supporting witnesses (if any).

6. Following the receipt of the member’s written statement, or, if the member fails to submit a written statement within 21 days, the secretary may investigate the circumstances of the complaint further and require either the complainant or the member to provide any further information required.

7. Thereafter, the complaint may be disposed of by the secretary by warning or censuring the member, if the complaint appears to be trivial, or if it is considered that the grievance procedure should not be continued for some good reason, failing which the matter shall be listed for hearing by The Accredited Instructors Board.

8. The matter may be determined on the basis of written submissions to The Accredited Instructors Board. However, if either party requires an oral hearing then the matter must be determined by way of such a hearing.

9. If the complaint is listed for hearing before The Accredited Instructors Board, then The Accredited Instructors Board shall give all parties not less than 28 days’ notice of the date fixed for hearing of the complaint (‘the hearing’).

10. If within 14 days after notification of the hearing either party requests an adjournment on grounds which are considered reasonable, then there shall be power to postpone the hearing to a date to be notified, and shall give the parties not less than 28 days’ notice of the new hearing date.

The hearing

11. Both the complainant and the member may attend or be represented at the hearing before The Accredited Instructors Board.

12. The Accredited Instructors Board may direct that a) at the hearing the written statements of witnesses shall be read out or be taken as read at the hearing; and b) the evidence of witnesses whose statements have not been submitted in accordance with the above regulations shall not be considered without the leave of The Accredited Instructors Board.

13. The Accredited Instructors Board shall consider the contents of the complaint, the statements lodged under the above regulations and any supporting evidence and make such enquiries as it considers appropriate and shall otherwise conduct the hearing in such manner as it considers most appropriate for the clarification of the issues before it and generally to the just handling of the proceedings.

14. The Accredited Instructors Board shall determine the complaint on the basis of the burden of proof namely, the balance of probabilities.

15. The Accredited Instructors Board shall have power to proceed with the hearing of any complaint in the absence of either of the parties.

16. The Accredited Instructors Board may at any time and from time to time upon application, or on its own motion, adjourn the date of any hearing.

17. The Accredited Instructors Board may appoint one or more persons who need not be a member of The Kennel Club to attend the hearing of the complaint to assist it on any matters.

18. If The Accredited Instructors Board is satisfied that the complaint is substantiated it may impose any one or more of the penalties below as authorised by the regulations

a. be warned

b. be censured

c. have their membership terminated

Written notice of The Accredited Instructors Board’s decision shall be served on the parties.

Appeal

19. Where a complaint is upheld, the member hereafter ‘the appellant’ may appeal to The Kennel Club Board. Any notice of appeal must be received by The Kennel Club not later than 14 days after the date on which the written notice of The Accredited Instructors Board’s decision was served on the appellant.

20. A notice of appeal shall:

a. state the name and address of the person making the appeal

b. identify clearly the decision which is disputed and specify whether the appeal is in respect of the whole or in respect of any specified part of such decision

c. set out the grounds of the appeal, and

d. include any additional evidence upon which the appellant relies, and set out the reasons why it was not presented to The Accredited Instructors Board

21. The legitimate points upon which an appeal may be considered are as follows:

a. the decision was based on a finding of fact that was perverse or irrational

b. there was no evidence to support a particular finding of fact

c. the decision was made by reference to irrelevant factors

d. the decision was made without reference to relevant factors

e. new evidence to that considered at the original hearing has come to light

f. the decision was made for an improper purpose

g. the decision was made in a procedurally unfair manner

h. the decision was made in a matter which breached any governing legislation or regulations

22. An appeal may be determined on the basis of written submissions to The Kennel Club board. However, if an appellant requires an oral hearing, then the matter must be determined by way of an oral hearing. (The procedure for either written or oral hearings will be determined at that time with the appointment of an appeals tribunal being constituted from members of The Kennel Club Board).

23. If The Kennel Club Board or the appeals tribunal upholds the appeal then it may revoke or vary the decision made by The Accredited Instructors Board and/or impose any penalty, which could have been imposed by The Accredited Instructors Board.

Non-compliance with regulations

24. Where there has been a clerical error, accidental slip, omission or other failure to comply with the requirements of these regulations, such failure shall be treated as an irregularity but shall not invalidate the proceedings, or any step taken in the proceedings, or any document or decision in the proceedings.

25. The Accredited Instructors Board, The Kennel Club board or the appeals tribunal, as the case may be, may on the grounds that there has been such a failure and on such terms as it thinks just, allow such amendments (if any) to be made and to make such decision (if any) dealing with the proceedings generally as it thinks fit.