Candidate Information


Candidate Information – This is a draft page and should not be used to share information with potential candidates



This award is [details about award and what you get at the end of it]


To successfully achieve the Level 5 Certificate in Fire Investigation you must complete 4 parts of an assessment in two locations on two separate occasions. During these assessments you must demonstrate competence in a number of criteria set by Skills for Justice.


These criteria are laid out in the accompanying Qualification Handbook issued by Skills for Justice. The handbook will also provide you with the background to the qualification.


You will shortly be receiving some information regarding the Part One assessment process including an assessment date. You will also be requested to provide information regarding a preferred location for Parts Three and Four of the assessment.


The Assessment Process

The assessment process is shown in the accompanying flow-chart. The various parts of the assessment are described below.


Part One – Real Simulation

The practical element of the assessment takes place at the GATR Assessment and Training Centre at Phoenix Heights, Wethersfield, Essex. Your practical part of the assessment will either be a morning or an afternoon slot. Please note that there are no catering facilities at Phoenix Heights; however hot drink facilities will be available. You should arrive in plenty of time to don protective clothing and personally prepare for the assessment.



Assessment methods: Direct observation; clarifying questions


At the Phoenix Heights Assessment Centre, the candidate will attend a real simulationfire scene and be tasked to observe that scene to determine the origin and cause through the development of hypotheses and a conclusion. They will appropriately interact with witnesses and other persons, demonstrate skills of fire scene excavation and recover evidence as required.


Part One of the assessment involves being assessed through a practical-based Real Simulation scenario. After a Health and Safety brief, you and a fellow candidate will be introduced to your assessor where you will be given verbal and written instructions and a briefing regarding your scenario. You will have 2.5 hours in which to plan, prepare and discuss a strategy with your colleague before entering the fire scene.


You must then investigate the scene, gather information and evidence on an individual basis from the fire scene. This information can be recorded on any media or device you wish; therefore please bring any personal equipment you wish to use. GATR will not provide any equipment whatsoever.


Your investigations, evidence and eventual hypothesis will form the basis of an Expert Witness Report (Part Two) that you will produce at a later stage – therefore conduct your investigation thoroughly as you would a real fire scene.


It is in your interest to verbalise your thoughts in order that your assessor can record evidence of your ability to meet the criteria. Please bear in mind that your colleague candidate will also be required to meet the criteria; so it is in both your interests to work together. Your assessor may require information from you or request that one of you steps back from the scenario to allow the other to meet a requirement of the assessment; otherwise the assessor will remain silent during the assessment process.


Role actor

Some of the criteria for the assessment involves you gathering information from a human source. This source will be in the form of a role actor who will attend the scene. You will be given the opportunity to question the role actor about various aspects of the scene. The assessor will introduce you to the role actor.


Smaller Real Scenario

The fire scene examination only will provide you with information and evidence to write your report (Part 2 – see below); however you will also have the opportunity to address other practical criteria elements by visiting a smaller scene. This smaller scene is designed to simulate the excavation part of the investigation where you will be able to demonstrate the correct methods of gathering and handling physical evidence. You are not required to produce the results of this examination in your Expert Witness Report.


The examination of the articles in the smaller scene are included in the 2.5 hour time-limit therefore you should manage your time well.


When you have either; a) obtained enough evidence and demonstrated the criteria to your satisfaction or b) the assessor has indicated that your assessment has concluded you are free to leave the assessment area. Please note that the assessor will not engage in conversation regarding the assessment whatsoever at this stage and there will be no debriefing.


Once the assessment has been completed you are free to leave the site. Please note, there are minimal changing facilities at the site and basic toilet and hand-wash facilities only.


Kit, Equipment & Safety

In order to take part in Part 1 of the assessment you will be required to enter a ‘real simulation’ fire scene with all the inherent hazards of a building having been involved in fire.

It is necessary that you bring the following Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with you:



  • Full Fire Kit (including helmet & boots)


Appropriate protective clothing suitable for use in fire-ground situations (including helmet & boots)

  • A suitable face mask to P3 protective standard.
  • Clothing suitable to be worn underneath and over PPE to cope with changing weather conditions.

Failure to bring the appropriate PPE will prevent you being able to take part in the assessment.


Other kit

  • Electrical test meter/device

Please note: A basic excavation tool box containing trowels, brushes, knives etc will be available for use during the assessment.


Site Safety

Two Phoenix Heights site safety documents are included in your pack. Both are identical. Please read the document & sign one of them. You are required to present the signed document to your assessor prior to the commencement of the assessment. A verbal site safety briefing will be given before commencement of the assessment process.


Part Two – Written Report

Assessment methods: Product evidence; direct observation; written knowledge and understanding


The candidate will write an appropriately formatted expert witness report for production at a formal hearing. The report will contain evidence of the candidates actions at the real simulationfire scene at Phoenix Heights and will be sent to an appointed assessor two weeks before attendance at the regional assessment centre.


Following the practical assessment, you will have 4 weeks in which to submit an Expert Witness Report based on your investigation of the fire-scene Real Simulation (Part One.) You may submit this in any format you wish and you will be provided an email address or postal address and a deadline date for the delivery of the material.


Please include a copy of your notes taken during Part One with your report.


Part Three and Four – Examination & Inquisitorial Hearings


Part Three – Examination

Assessment methods: Written Knowledge and Understanding


In attendance at a convenient regional assessment centre, the candidate will sit two written examinations; multiple choice and written answers.


Two weeks following the submission of your report you will attend a GATR Regional Assessment Centre of your choice from the available centres provided. This part of the assessment together with Part Four will take a full day.


The examination phase is undertaken in two parts. Firstly, there will be a written question and answer paper. This paper will take 45 minutes. Once completed a multiple-choice answer paper will be issued. You will have 30 minutes to complete this paper.


Part Four – Inquisitorial Hearings

Assessment methods: Direct observation, Professional Discussion, Questions and Answers


The candidate will present their hypotheses and conclusion with reference to their expert witness report. This final assessor will have previously assessed the expert witness report from assessment two, will have the examination results from assessment three and will use the assessors evidence notes from assessment one. With all of the candidates performance data before them, the final assessor is well placed to conduct an inquisitorial hearing across the range of the qualification assessment criteria. The breadth of this final assessment will both confirm and enquire into strong and less clear areas of the candidates ability.


After lunch, you will be called forward for an Inquisitorial Hearing which will explore and challenge aspects of your Part Two Expert Witness Report. This question and answer session will be in the form of a Professional Discussion and will address more criteria in the SFJ handbook. It is worth preparing not only for the examination part of the day but reminding yourself of certain aspects of your report and relating them to the required criteria.


The person leading the hearing will be an assessor who will also be pointing you in the direction of providing answers to achieve criteria that you may have overlooked. It is not the case where the assessor will be trying to catch you out. The Inquisitorial phase will last approximately one hour.


Result Phase

Following collation of all the assessment and examination material and internal quality assurance, (approximately 3 weeks) you will be informed by letter or email of the results of your assessment. All the assessments (Parts 1 – 4) are graded as follows:


Very Strong evidence  = 3

Practice Standard       = 2

Adequate Awareness  = 1

Little or No evidence  = 0


[How will we show these results – by elements?]


You will be provided a short summary of information and feedback for you own personal development purposes.



If you are successful you will be sent a certificate from Skills for Justice under a separate cover.



At any stage you are entitled to appeal against any aspect of the process. Please see accompanying Appeals Policy.


Diversity & Equality

Gardiner Associates Training and Research (GATR) aims to provide the highest quality of care to clients, potential clients, delegates and candidates.


In our dealings with clients, potential clients, delegates and candidates, we will be:

  • Fair
  • Courteous
  • Clear
  • Timely
  • Confidential.


Delegates and candidates will be treated equally and training and assessment outcomes will not be influenced on the grounds of:

  • Sex
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion or Belief
  • Age
  • Marital status or Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy or Maternity
  • Gender Reassignment


When delivering our services, reasonable adjustments will be made for disabled candidates under the Equality Act.


We will use our clients’ feedback in order to improve our services.





Confidential Information includes, but is not limited to:

  • All personal information provided by a learner or a candidate for the purpose of registration to a course or entry into an assessment.
  • Any information generated by a candidate or assessor during the course of the assessment process
  • GATR’s own business and company information that is not already in the public domain.


It does not include information in the public domain or shown to have come into the public domain other than by a breach of this policy.


GATR undertakes to manage confidential information provided to us by clients, learners and candidates in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.






All ‘Confidential Information’ is to be kept private and in a secure location, but it can be disclosed to GATR’s employees, Awarding Organisations, agents, professional advisers and sub-contractors on a ‘need to know’ basis in relation to the assessment and awarding process. Data may be only be disclosed with the written permission of the originator of the information.


The originator will be requested to give written authority for this purpose.


All discussions between candidate and assessor will be held in the strictest confidence and will only be shared between those involved in the assessment process and for the conduct, function and quality assurance purposes of the GATR Assessment Centre.


The originator may, on request in writing, view any documentation, relating to him or her, held by GATR.


Confidential Information may be stored, copied, held and used by GATR only to the extent necessary to conduct its business.


Employees should note that breach of this policy might be construed as misconduct.


Nothing in this policy overrules the legal or statutory duty to comply with statutory or legal authorities upon reasonable request except where legal privilege prevents this.



Cheating, Plagiarsim, Malpractice

Please read and note our enclosed policy.



We will invite you to provide feedback at each stage of the process to ensure that we are delivering and developing our services in respect of this award.


Reading List

To assist you in the preparation for your award, please look at the enclosed reading list.