Documentation & Information Policy





FST needs to collect, store and process personal data to carry out its functions and activities. FST is a Controller for most of the personal data it processes and is committed to full compliance with the applicable data protection legislation including Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data (referred to as the “GDPR”) and all legislation enacted in the UK in respect of the protection of personal data as well as the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.


This policy should be read in conjunction with document control and procedure policy below. This policy provides more detailed guidance on the correct handling of personal data and together with this policy are an integral part of the overall information governance framework of FST.

FST’s Data Protection Officer is responsible for informing and advising FST and its staff on its data protection obligations, and for monitoring compliance with those obligations in line with FST policies. If you have any questions or comments about the content of this policy or if you need further information, you should contact the Data Protection Officer via email at




All FST staff, learners and other authorised third parties (including temporary and agency workers, contractors, interns and volunteers) who have access to any personal data held by or on behalf of FST, must adhere to this policy and associated Codes of Practice.

Personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (referred to as a ‘data subject’); an identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person.

The information covered by the policy includes all written, spoken and electronic personal data held, used or transmitted by or on behalf of FST, in whatever media. This includes personal data held on computer systems, hand-held devices, phones, paper records, and personal data transmitted orally.

We will review and update this policy in accordance with our data protection obligations. We may amend, update or supplement it from time to time and will issue an appropriate notification of that at the relevant time.


Data Protection Principles


  • FST will comply with the following data protection principles when processing personal data:
  • we will process personal data lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner;
  • we will collect personal data for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes only, and will not process it in a way that is incompatible with those legitimate purposes;
  • we will only process the personal data that is adequate, relevant and necessary for the relevant purposes;
  • we will keep accurate and up to date personal data, and take reasonable steps to ensure that inaccurate personal data are deleted or corrected without delay;
  • we will keep personal data in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the data are processed; and
  • We will take appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure that personal data are kept secure and protected against unauthorised or unlawful processing, and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.
  • FST is also responsible to demonstrate compliance with the above data protection principles.

Basis for processing personal data


In relation to any processing activity that involves personal data we will, before the processing starts for the first time, and then regularly while it continues:


review the purposes of the particular processing activity, and select the most appropriate lawful basis for that processing, i.e.


  • that the data subject has consented to the processing;
  • that the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;
  • that the processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which FST is subject;
  • that the processing is necessary for the protection of the vital interests of the data subject or another natural person;
  • that the processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or exercise of official authority by FST; or
  • where FST is not carrying out tasks as a public authority, that the processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests of FST or a third party, except where those interests are overridden by the interests of fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject.

Except where the processing is based on consent, satisfy ourselves that the processing is necessary for the purpose of the relevant lawful basis (i.e. that there is no other reasonable way to achieve that purpose);


Document our decision as to which lawful basis applies, to help demonstrate our compliance with the data protection principles;


Include information about both the purposes of the processing and the lawful basis for it in our relevant privacy notices; and


Where sensitive personal data is processed, also identify a lawful special condition for processing that information (see paragraph 5 below), and document it.


Sensitive Personal Data


Sensitive personal data (sometimes referred to as ‘special categories of personal data’) are personal data, revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership; data concerning health or sex life and sexual orientation; genetic data or biometric data.


FST may from time to time need to process sensitive personal data. We will only process sensitive personal data if:


  • we have a lawful basis for doing so as set out in paragraph 4.1.1 above; and
  • one of the special conditions for processing sensitive personal data applies, e.g.:
  • the data subject has given explicit consent;
  • the processing is necessary for the purposes of exercising the employment law rights or obligations of FST or of the data subject;
  • the processing is necessary to protect the data subject’s vital interests, and the data subject is physically incapable of giving consent;
  • the processing relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by the data subject;
  • the processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; or
  • the processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.

FST’s data protection privacy notices set out the types of sensitive personal data that FST processes, what it is used for and the lawful basis for the processing.


Data Privacy Impact Assessment (DPIA)


Where processing is likely to result in a high risk to an individual’s data protection rights (e.g. where FST is planning to use a new form of technology), we will, before commencing the processing, carry out a DPIA to assess:


  • whether the processing is necessary and proportionate in relation to its purpose;
  • the risks to individuals; and
  • what measures can be put in place to address those risks and protect personal data.

Documentation and Records


We will conduct regular reviews of the personal data we process and update our documentation accordingly. This may include:


  • carrying out information audits to find out what personal data FST holds;
  • distributing questionnaires and talking to staff across FST to get a more complete picture of our processing activities; and
  • reviewing our policies, procedures, contracts and agreements to address areas such as retention, security and data sharing.

Privacy Notices


FST will issue privacy notices from time to time, informing the people from whom we collect information about the personal data that we collect and hold relating to them, how they can expect their personal data to be used and for what purposes.


We will take appropriate measures to provide information in privacy notices in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language.


Individual Rights


Data subjects have the following rights in relation to their personal data:


  • to be informed about how, why and on what basis that data is processed (at FST, we customarily do this via privacy notices);
  • to obtain confirmation that their data is being processed and to obtain access to it and certain other information, by making a subject access request.
  • to have data corrected if it is inaccurate or incomplete;
  • to have data erased if it is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was originally collected/processed, or if there are no overriding legitimate grounds for the processing (this is sometimes known as ‘the right to be forgotten’);
  • to restrict the processing of personal data where the accuracy of the information is contested, or the processing is unlawful (but the data subject does not want the data to be erased), or where FST no longer needs the personal data but the data subject requires the data to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim; and
  • to restrict the processing of personal data temporarily where the data subject does not think it is accurate (and FST is verifying whether it is accurate), or where the data subject has objected to the processing (and FST is considering whether FST’s legitimate grounds override the data subject’s interests).

Each of FST’s privacy notices provides details of how these individual rights can be exercised. In most cases, individuals are advised to contact FST’s Data Protection Officer.


Individual Obligations


Individuals are responsible for helping FST keep their personal data up to date. Individuals should let FST know if the information they have provided to FST changes (for example if one moves to a new house or changes details of the bank or building society account to which they are paid).

Members of staff may have access to the personal data of other members of staff, learners and other clients and suppliers of FST in the course of their employment or engagement. If so, FST expects such members of staff to help meet FST’s data protection obligations to those individuals.

If one has access to FST personal data, they must:


  • only access the personal data that they have authority to access, and only for authorised purposes;
  • only allow others to access personal data if they have appropriate authorisation to;
  • keep personal data secure (e.g. by complying with rules on access to premises, computer access, password protection and secure file storage and destruction and other precautions set out in FST’s Information Security Policy (pg. 68) and related Codes of Practice);
  • not remove personal data, or devices containing personal data (or which can be used to access it), from FST premises unless appropriate security measures are in place (such as pseudonymisation, encryption or password protection) to secure the information and the device; and
  • not store personal data on local drives or on personal devices that are used for work purposes.

FST’s Data Protection Officer should be contacted if one is concerned or suspects that one of the following has taken place (or is taking place or likely to take place):


  • processing of personal data without a lawful basis for its processing or, in the case of sensitive personal data, without also one of the conditions in paragraph 5.2.2 above being met;
  • access to personal data without the proper authorisation;
  • personal data not kept or deleted securely;
  • removal of personal data, or devices containing personal data (or which can be used to access it), from the FST premises without appropriate security measures being in place;
  • any other breach of this policy or of any of the data protection principles set out in paragraph 3 above.

Information Security


FST will use appropriate technical and organisational measures in accordance with FST’s Information Security Policy and related Codes of Practice to keep personal data secure, and in particular to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage. These may include:


  • making sure that, where possible, personal data is pseudonymised or encrypted;
  • ensuring the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services;
  • ensuring that, in the event of a physical or technical incident, availability and access to personal data can be restored in a timely manner; and
  • a process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the processing.

Where FST uses external organisations to process personal data on its behalf, additional security arrangements need to be implemented in contracts with those organisations to safeguard the security of personal data. In particular, contracts with external organisations must provide that:


  • the organisation may act only on the written instructions of FST;
  • those processing the data are subject to a duty of confidence;
  • appropriate measures are taken to ensure the security of processing;
  • sub-contractors are only engaged with the prior consent of FST and under a written contract;
  • the organisation will assist FST in providing subject access and allowing individuals to exercise their rights in relation to data protection;
  • the organisation will assist FST in meeting its obligations in relation to the security of processing, the notification of data breaches and data protection impact assessments;
  • the organisation will delete or return all personal data to FST as requested at the end of the contract; and
  • the organisation will provide FST with whatever information it reasonably needs to ensure that they are both meeting their data protection obligations.

Before any new agreement involving the processing of personal data by an external organisation is entered into, or an existing agreement is altered, the relevant member of staff must seek approval of its terms by FST’s Data Protection Officer or one of FST’s lawyers.


Storage and retention of personal data


Personal data (and sensitive personal data) will be kept securely in accordance with FST’s Information Security Policy.


Personal data (and sensitive personal data) should not be retained for any longer than necessary. The length of time over which data should be retained will depend upon the circumstances, including the reasons why the personal data was obtained. Document Retention sets out the relevant retention period, or the criteria that should be used to determine the retention period.


Where there is any uncertainty with respect to data retention, staff should consult either FST’s Data Protection Officer.

Personal data (and sensitive personal data) that is no longer required will be deleted permanently from our information systems and any hard copies will be destroyed securely.


Data breaches


A data breach may take many different forms, for example:


  • loss or theft of data or equipment on which personal data is stored;
  • unauthorised access to or use of personal data either by a member of staff or third party;
  • loss of data resulting from an equipment or systems (including hardware and software) failure;
  • human error, such as accidental deletion or alteration of data;
  • unforeseen circumstances, such as a fire or flood;
  • deliberate attacks on IT systems, such as hacking, viruses or phishing scams; and
  • ‘blagging’ offences, where information is obtained by deceiving the organisation which holds it.

If anyone believes personal data held by FST has been compromised, they MUST report this immediately to the Managing Director


FST will:


  • investigate any reported actual or suspected data security breach;
  • where applicable, make the required report of a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office without undue delay and, where possible within 72 hours of becoming aware of it, if it is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals; and
  • notify the affected individuals if a data breach is likely to result in a high risk to their rights and freedoms and notification is required by law.



Staff will be adequately trained regarding their data protection responsibilities. Individuals whose roles require regular access to personal data, or who are responsible for implementing this policy or responding to subject access requests under this policy, will receive additional training to help them understand their duties and how to comply with them.


Consequences of failing to comply


FST takes compliance with this policy very seriously. Failure to comply with the policy:


  • puts at risk the individuals whose personal data is being processed;
  • carries the risk of significant civil and criminal sanctions for the individual and FST; and
  • may, in some circumstances, amount to a criminal offence by the individual.

Because of the importance of this policy, an employee’s failure to comply with any requirement of it may lead to disciplinary action under FST procedures, and this action may result in dismissal for gross misconduct. If a non-employee breaches this policy, they may have their contract terminated with immediate effect.






To identify the controls employed by FST for Quality System Documentation.




The scope of the documentation includes:


  • Policy and Procedures File
  • The Quality File
  • Policies, Terms of Reference, Regulations and Procedures
  • Drawings, Specifications, Work Instructions and Forms
  • Quality Records



The Board of Managing Directors are responsible for and have full authority to raise and implement FST Policies, Terms of Reference, Regulations and Procedures.


The Head of Operations is responsible for control of the Quality System Documentation and has full authority to raise and implement organisational documents.


The Management Team are responsible for and have full authority to raise operational documents for implementation by the Head of Operations.

Applicable to;


All levels of the organisation, Managing Director and Senior Managers, Sector Managers, Lead Verifier/ Trainer, Trainer, Tutor, Trainee Trainer, Administration.




Policy and Procedures File


An indexed manual maintained by the Quality Department and containing all organisational documents and records of operational documents.


Quality File – An indexed file maintained by each management area containing organisational and operational documents.


Operational Documents – A document which is applicable to a particular document management area.


Organisational Documents – A document which is applicable to all areas of FST.


Training Policies – General policies which guide thinking, action and decision, e.g. this handbook


Terms of Reference – Operating parameters for policy committees.


Procedures – A sequence of steps to execute routine activities, e.g. Internal Quality Audit Procedure.


Drawings, Specifications, Work Instructions and Forms – Any document which is attached to or referred to in other documentation.


Quality Records – Data gathered in the form of a record to include: Inspection Reports, Learner Achievements, Validation Reports, Audit Reports and Finance Reports.


Policy and Procedures File – The Policy and Procedures File is split into two sections.


Organisational Documents – This section contains FST Policies, Terms of Reference, Regulations and Procedures that relate to all areas of the provision on all sites.


Operational Documents – This section contains details of documents generated by management areas. As new documentation is produced it is forwarded to the Quality Department to check format consistency. Operational documents are stored in a Quality File held by each management area.




Procedures are written to an agreed format. Each procedure defines the following information:


  1. purpose
  2. scope
  3. responsibility
  4. applicable to
  5. definitions
  6. description
  7. records produced
  8. related documents
  9. distribution

Controlling Information


Personnel responsible for raising procedures ensure that each procedure includes the following controlling information.


  1. procedure title
  2. version number
  3. version/revision date
  4. author/approved by

All documents are ‘PILOT’ form until verified by the Quality Department and then ‘Initial Release’ is used against the first revision date.

The Quality Department maintains a Master Document List with approval and revision dates.


Document Identification


All documents are identified with a unique reference number based on the following codes:


Prefix Management area

AS Assessment

AU Audit

CPD Continuous Professional Development

EN Enrolment and Induction

EPE Employer Engagement

FB Feedback

GN General

HS Health and Safety

IV Internal Verification

QI Quality Improvement

RV Review

TL Teaching and Learning


Organisational Documents


Policies, Terms of Reference and Regulations are approved by the Head of Operations along with the Board of Managing Director. Organisational Procedures are approved by the Quality Department, following discussion of pilot documents by the Quality Department.


On approval, organisational documents are made ‘live’ to the quality system. Documents are then issued via the internal server and copies stored in the Policy and Procedures File.


Operational Documents


Sector leads or Internal Verifiers along with the Quality Department approve operational documents. These should be discussed at the weekly team meeting before approval. On approval, documents are forwarded to the Quality Department to be recorded. The documents are then issued with a prefix and a version number and returned to the management area for distribution. Copies are stored in the Quality File held by each management area.

Revision details are noted on the front sheet, revised copies issued and filed. All superseded copies are removed from circulation and are stored into the server as in the ‘Archive’ files.


Organisational Procedures and associated forms are reviewed annually by the Quality Department. Operational Procedures and associated forms are reviewed annually by the Sector along with the Quality Department that originated them.


Drawings, Specifications, Work Instructions and Forms

In normal circumstances staff will be guided by operational procedures which have been designed to clarify tasks. Where a Drawing, Specification, Work Instruction or Form is deemed useful it will be raised along with the master document and appropriately coded.


Staff are expected to fully complete all sections of forms that are part of organisational or operational procedures.




Our commitment


FST is committed to Information Security and protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all the physical and electronic information assets that we hold within the business.


The purpose of this commitment is to preserve and protect our clients’:


  • fundamental privacy
  • commercial confidentiality and information assets
  • legal, regulatory and contractual compliance
  • reputation for delivering excellence with integrity

The Policy


This Policy sets out our commitment to ensure that the information we hold is kept secure. The Information Security Manual (with strategic quality manual) supports this Policy and contains specific documented policies, procedures and instructions for all of the fundamental aspects of the Information Security Policy.


Our Information Security approach and practices support the goals of the business, our strategic business plan and our risk management framework.

All of these provide the context for identifying, assessing, evaluating and controlling any information-related risks through risk assessments, risk treatment plans and a register of security controls (known as a ‘Statement of Applicability’). Any risks are then managed through an Information Security Management System (ISMS).


This is an enabling mechanism for information sharing, for electronic operations, and for reducing any information-related risks to an acceptable level. The ISMS details how any identified information-related risks are controlled and is subject to continuous systematic review and improvement.

Our commitment to, and implementation of, Information Security is governed by the Committee and Managing Director of FST. The Committee is co-chaired by the Managing Director and includes personnel with responsibilities for Information Security management (Head of Operations, Internal Verifiers and Selected Office staff).


The Committee’s terms of reference includes support of the ISMS framework and periodic reviews of the Security Policy, and it is responsible for the management and maintenance of risk treatment plans.


The Committee may also instigate or carry out additional risk assessments to determine appropriate controls for specific risks.


These activities and initiatives will, in particular, review business continuity and contingency plans, data backup procedures, avoidance of viruses and hackers, access controls to systems and premises, and information security incident reporting which are all fundamental components of the Information Security Policy and are covered in the Information Security Manual.


FST Staff and associate trainers will be required to both follow and adhere to the ISMS framework especially in relation to vetting (DBS) and information handling which includes restricted personnel data or information.


The Information Security Policy was revised in February 2015 and is issued on a version-controlled basis under the signature of the Managing Director. As with all Policies, this Policy is reviewed annually to respond to any changes in the risk assessments or risk treatment plans.




FST seeks to ensure that all information it receives is current, official and received from a reliable source. There are a hundred and one ways to research information from the web in particular and therefore we need to ensure it is correct and in line with current legislation.


  • The below list is not exhaustive, but it does contain the main bodies and organisations in which we deal with on a day-to-day basis. All personnel are to be aware of the contents and which organisations are classified as official.
  • Any contact or research made from any organisation is to be first approved by the Head of Operations who will ensure the point of reference is classified as official.
  • The Head of Operations is responsible for ensuring the official contact list is checked on a monthly basis to ensure that all our policies, working practices and legislative procedures are up to date.
  • The list is to be maintained in that respect and kept as a read only file in the management folder on the shared drive.
  • The list will be distributed by e-mail to all personnel as and when changes are notified or identified.
  • The Head of Operations is to ensure that the company is also on update e-mail alert services where available.
  • Any incorrect information or where new information comes to light should in the first instance be communicated to the Head of Operations.



Retention of documents


FST will ensure that all paper documentation relating to the delivery of the ESFA/ESF Funded Programmes will be stored until at least 31st December 2030. This means that documents relating to any aspect of the programme including: project and customer data, expenditure; audit; committees; selection of operations and so on, will be kept until the final payment in respect of the operational programme has been received by the Managing Authority.


We will retain all documents until six years after the funding body makes its final payment for the programme concerned.


Electronic retention of documents


FST will keep electronic information for the same length of time as required for paper copies. It is FST’s responsibility to ensure that the electronic copy of the documentation can be relied on for audit purposes.


Funding Body regulations allow for documents to be retained by FST as originals or ‘in versions certified to be in conformity with the originals on commonly accepted data carriers’. The regulations allow for the electronic storage of documents provided that they are stored on a recognised data carrier, are certified as being copies of the original, meet national standards and are auditable. Project data will be held on their ICT management information system which is an auditable and accepted data carrier. Other methods which may be used include:


  • Photocopies of original documents;
  • Scanned copied secure on company servers
  • Microfiches of original documents;
  • Electronic versions of original documents on optical carriers (such as CDs and Pen drives)

For data carriers that are used, FST will retain a signed declaration that the documents held within the data carrier are certified as being true copies (conforming to) and are originals.




The aim of this Policy is to give clear guidance regarding the charging of fees for provision delivered by or on behalf of FST. The Policy relates to the type of fees a learner may have to pay and includes:


  • Course/Tuition fees
  • Awarding body registration and exam fees (including re-takes)
  • Fees for resources, equipment etc.

Adults aged 19 and over on 31st August of the current academic year are eligible to participate on FST programmes which are funded through the Education and Skills Funding Agency, or Devolved Authority for which, in some cases, fees are paid by the learner.


FST delivers the following Adult Learning programmes:


Accredited Learning – These courses are delivered throughout England by FST. Some courses like Maths and English are always fully funded (i.e. the learner pays no fee). Some courses like Security or Forklift Truck qualifications may only be co-funded for some people. All parties are responsible for collecting the co-funded fees in accordance with the ESFA and/or Devolved Authorities Funding Rules.




FST has a Refunds Policy which is available on our company website

For courses delivered by FST directly we will refund all fees paid by a learner if:

  • We cancel the course because we are unable to recruit a sufficient number of learners
  • We permanently change the course to a different time or location that is no longer convenient
  • We make any significant changes to the course aims and objective

For courses delivered by FST we will refund all fees paid by a learner (less a 10% administrative charge at our discretion) if:

  • The learner requests a refund at least two weeks before a course starts
  • The learner requests a refund less than two weeks before the start of a course due to serious illness

FST will not refund fees if:

  • A learner cancels after a course has begun
  • A learner has missed some classes

For full funding information please refer to the ESFA or Devolved Authority Funding Rules for the current academic year.