Civil service adds new test after cheating allegations

The whistleblower claims that applicants for well paid civil service jobs are getting others to take the online tests and then print off the questions for them.
The whistleblower claims that applicants for well paid civil service jobs are getting others to take the online tests and then print off the questions for them.
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The civil service has responded to allegations of widespread cheating in online recruitment tests by introducing a further validation exam in an assessment centre.

The civil service has responded to allegations of widespread cheating in online recruitment tests by introducing a further validation exam in an assessment centre.

The news came after an alleged whistleblower claimed that cheating is currently rife in online recruitment tests for civil service jobs with salaries of up to £40,000.

To apply for the jobs candidates must complete three strictly-timed psychometric tests which are mean to assess competency in team building, financial decisions and staff motivation, the whistle-blower said in a letter.

“It is an intensive set of tests allowing 40 minutes for 25 decisions to be made. That is of course unless you are able to beat the system – and that is what is happening,” the whistleblower said.

They said that both internal and external candidates have asked others to apply for the jobs and print out the questions during the test.

The questions are then allegedly passed to the cheating candidate, who can then take as much time as they like to consider them and confer with others before starting their own timed test.

“Worse, where a person genuinely applying is perhaps weak on the financial side, they can get another person who’s the necessary skills to do the test for them.”

The highest achievers are currently progressing on to the next stage of interviews, they added.

“If this were a GCSE or GCE paper and it was circulating before the exam then it would have made headlines in the media,” they said.

A Department of Finance spokesman said the NI Civil Service Board is taking the concerns seriously and has asked for “checks and analysis to be carried out to see if there had been any abuse of the process”.

“No evidence to substantiate claims of systematic abuse have been identified. To reassure candidates of the robustness of the process, all applicants progressing to the next stage will complete a further validation test in an assessment centre.”

TUV leader Jim Allister dubbed the claims “extremely serious” and queried how the department found there to be no “systematic abuse”.

“I’m glad measures have been put in place to reassure candidates, but when were these put in place and when did the department become aware of the problems with online testing?” he asked.

“Did they know of it prior to being advised of this anonymous letter which came into my office?” He also queried if the “flawed” system had been used previously without the additional validation test.