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Ethical Guidelines

Guidelines for the Ethical use of Psychometric Assessment Instruments

For the purposes of these guidelines we refer to individuals taking assessments as participants and those that choose to use our tests for the purposes of assessing participants must be registered users of Saville Assessment Ltd, a Towers Watson company, or its affiliated companies. Saville Assessment Limited and its associated companies are referred to herein as “us”, “our” or “Saville”.

All users of our psychometric tools and/or their outputs are expected to follow our guidelines for ethical practice, detailed below as a minimum. All such use of psychometric assessments should also comply with all local statutory and regulatory requirements. Our assessments should only ever be used for occupational assessment purposes. They should not be used for other purposes including, for example, clinical or forensic assessment or applications for which they were not designed for example, providing parental advice or advice on relationship compatibility. If you are in any doubt, please consult with your normal contact with us.

All users of our psychometric tools and/or their outputs are expected to follow our guidelines for ethical practice, detailed below.

Communicating with Participants

  • All participants should receive a briefing on the following before completing a psychometric assessment:
    • The nature of the assessment;
    • Why and how the assessment is being used;
    • How long the participant’s results will be retained for;
    • Who will have access to the participant’s results (which will include the test publisher, when the administration is delivered on-line, when participant data is entered on the test publisher’s platform for scoring or the participants’ data is otherwise submitted to the test publisher for any purpose); and
    • If feedback is offered, when and in what format?
  • Participants should be given ample opportunity to ask questions regarding the assessment process and receive an honest and professional response.
  • It is often best practice to offer feedback to participants. In the event that participants are to be given feedback, this should be provided in compliance with any applicable statutory or regulatory requirements and the participant should be informed when and how the feedback will be delivered. In selection, you could consider whether it is most appropriate to give feedback before or shortly after a selection decision is made.
  • Participants should be invited to reveal any factor or special requirement which might make the assessment(s) less suitable for them (e.g., a disability). If there is such an issue, appropriate adjustments to the assessment process should be made. These steps, for example, might be expected to include consulting the participant well before any assessment about what steps could be made to appropriately accommodate them and their disability. When appropriate, you should request any documents that can be legally provided on the nature of the disability and means of appropriate accommodation and seek expert opinion on the most appropriate forms of accommodation. Contact us to establish what adjustments are possible for a given assessment.
  • Participants should never be forced to undertake an assessment, but the consequences of non-participation should be clearly explained (e.g. elimination from the recruitment process or development scheme).
  • Participants’ data should only be used for the purpose to which the participant was originally informed of and consented to. Where there is a change of intended use, then recommunication, new consent for the new intended use and in some cases re-administration of the assessment is likely to be required. In addition, if it is the same intended purpose, but there has been a time delay, then again recommunication of the purpose, renewed consent and potentially re-administration of the test is likely to be appropriate. In most instance, test results are valid for a maximum of 12-24 months.


  • Our Assessments are conducted, in part, on the basis of profiling, which means that we process personal information using software that is able to process responses to questions and provide estimates of different attributes including personality, preferred behaviour, motivations, talents and abilities.
  • It is the responsibility of clients who have requested a participant to complete an assessment to make decisions on the basis of those assessments. It is the clients’ responsibility to inform participants about how assessment results will be used in their decision-making process. Any question in this regard that participants may have should be addressed to the client (i.e. the participant’s employer or potential employer) for further information.

Administration and Use of data

  • Assessments should only be used if they are appropriate for the purpose and will provide relevant data. It is the registered user who makes the choice to assess participants with our assessments and it is their responsibility to choose test which are appropriate and relevant for a given purpose. Steps to ensure relevance could include relating assessments to established criteria for a job, conducting analyses of job roles, consulting and gathering information from relevant subject matter experts and/or job holders, conducting various studies to show the relevance of tests (e.g., criterion-related validation studies in appropriate groups).
  • Some of our assessments are restricted to Supervised Administration “SA”. Assessments restricted to supervised administration should be administered, scored and interpreted by trained personnel according to the instructions provided by us in the relevant, training materials, manuals and related administration materials.
  • Careful consideration should be given before using psychometric assessment instruments with current employees in making promotion and placement decisions. Where more direct evidence of performance is available (e.g., appraisal reports and other personnel records), these should be used in conjunction with appropriate psychometric assessment instruments that are relevant to the job role or position.
  • Profile reports designed for trained users (commonly designated as “Expert Reports”) should only be use by qualified, registered users. We offer training courses for all of our expert-level reports. Your normal contact with us can provide information on which reports require training before use and can provide advice on the appropriate training for any report being considered.
  • Where reports are provided by us in order to deliver feedback to the participant, these reports are self-contained and may be given direct to the candidate. The participant should be given the opportunity to seek clarification or further explanation with respect to the feedback report should they wish to. It should be noted that any feedback offered to participants should be delivered in compliance with any applicable statutory or regulatory requirements. Registered users should think about whether they give blanket feedback to all participants. The timing of feedback in a selection context may in some instances be better after a selection decision is made rather than before. All successful applicants that are hired might appropriately be given feedback, while it may be more appropriate to only offer feedback to the rejected candidates where they specifically request it.
  • Reports may also be provided on a group basis containing multiple participants’ data. Where these reports are to be shared with other members of the group for the purposes of participants understanding different participants in their group or team’s data, explicit consent should be sought and provided before sharing data in this way.
  • Psychometric data may only be used for purposes previously agreed to by the participant and in accordance with our Privacy Policy and other Terms, contained on the our website, manuals and other relevant literature published and updated by us from time to time.
  • Psychometric data should be used in conjunction with other data on the individual in any assessment process and should be integrated with data from other relevant sources (e.g., structured interviews, work sample exercises, performance rating, etc.) or used as one stage of a selection process containing other appropriate measures.
  • Where substantial numbers of people are tested, criterion-related validation studies should ideally be undertaken, which compare the results with data about the individual’s performance in the work place. With smaller numbers of assessments that are used over time, it is also important to re-assess the relevance of any assessment for the intended purpose and that the assessments are likely to continue to be valid and appropriate measures for the intended application.
  • In large scale assessment processes, where sufficient numbers permit, regular reviews of assessment results and their impact on decisions taken with respect to participants from different groups (e.g., race, gender, age etc.) should ideally be undertaken. Such analysis is something which Saville Assessment is available to advise on and carry out; so please contact us if you’d like to discuss carrying out such reviews.

Security of Materials

  • All assessment materials (including booklets, answer forms, feedback reports and profile reports) must be stored securely and only be accessible to qualified users.
  • Where assessments are described as designated for use in a “Supervised Access” (SA) environment the qualified user should ensure that links to the assessments are only provided to candidates under supervision in a proctored environment. Assessments described as designated for use in an “Invited Access” (IA) environment may be provided to candidates on a remote basis in an unsupervised environment.
  • Where the qualified user moves from their current employer or department they should, where possible, ensure that any restricted materials are transferred to another qualified user. If there are no qualified users to whom these products can be entrusted you should contact Saville Assessment immediately to discuss training to become a registered user or, where appropriate, discuss the safe return of materials to us.
  • All data stored (on file or electronically) must be held according to the requirements of any applicable legislation with respect to the storage, use and confidentiality of personal data.
  • It is an infringement of ethical guidelines and of international copyright law to copy, modify, translate or in any way replicate, in whole or in part, the products supplied by Saville Assessment. The user confirms that all steps reasonably necessary shall be taken to ensure that none of our products under their control will be used in a way that would infringe our copyright or trademarks and will report to us any such infringements that they become aware of.
  • We provide online practice for participants to help familiarise themselves prior to completing the requested assessment.
  • Aside from the practice materials and examples we provide, our assessments should never under any circumstances be administered and/or scored for the principal purpose of coaching candidates with the aim of improving their performance on assessments.

Responsibility for Competence

  • Users are responsible for maintaining their own level of competence in the use of psychometric assessment tools.
  • Users should not offer services which lie outside their competence.
  • Users are responsible for maintaining their knowledge of current legal and best practice requirements regarding the use of psychometric tools.
  • Users should seek appropriate advice when required, particularly as circumstances begin to challenge their professional expertise.
  • Users should strive to ensure that those working under their direct supervision also comply with each of the requirements of this standard and that they are not required to work beyond the limits of their competence.


  • We encourage evidence-based practice in the use of our assessments. In addition to our own extensive research programs, we encourage independent research on our assessments by appropriately-qualified independent researchers who are registered as users.

Last updated: 30 May, 2018.