Page 1

At the meeting on 20 October 2011 the Council was asked to approve changes to the Code of Conduct and associated regulations. On that same day the Professional Practices Committee proposed further changes which could not be considered by the Council at the time and which required a final legal opinion. Since then the CIPR’s solicitor has vetted the whole document and suggested a number of amendments, mainly concerned with drafting. All these alterations are incorporated in the attached draft, for approval. The principal changes since 20 October are: •

to define the circumstances in which the Professional Practices Committee may decide that the Code of Conduct has been breached but no further action will be taken: see clause 12 b) ii);

to define the circumstances in which Defendants may call new witnesses at a Disciplinary Committee hearing: see clause 20 d) i); The principle here is that a Disciplinary Committee hearing should be an appeal hearing, i.e. an opportunity to correct a decision by the PPC where there are specific grounds for thinking it was mistaken, not an opportunity to re-run the PPC hearing from scratch merely in the hope that a different committee may view the same facts differently.

in line with that principle, to give authority to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee to reject an appeal if the grounds for it are inadequate: see clause 19 d);

to explain the consequences if Defendants fail to attend hearings when required to do so: see clauses 17 e) and 22 e);

to limit how long the CIPR should hold documents relating to past hearings: see clause 2 g);

to rename ‘Defendants’ as ‘Respondents’, which sounds less condemnatory.

The solicitor has also answered two questions raised in the Council and PPC meetings on 20 October: Q

Complainants are told whether a potential Respondent is a member of the CIPR: see clause 5 b). Does this breach data-protection legislation or members’ right to privacy?

A

No. Members resubmit to the Code of Conduct each time they renew their membership. They should therefore be aware of the disclosures which the Institute will make, very reasonably, about them.

Q

Is it necessary that the Council be informed of all decisions as a result of PPC or Disciplinary Committee hearings?

A

Yes. The Committees are not independent bodies, but answerable to Council, and therefore Council should be aware of all decisions, which may of course be newsworthy.

The solicitor has also agreed that complaints should be heard according to the regulations in force when the complaint was first raised, unless the Defendant, or both parties, agree otherwise. Martin Horrox Regulatory Consultant December 2011


Chartered Institute of Public Relations Code of Conduct and Complaints Procedure

This document This document is in five sections: Introduction

Maintaining professional standards in the public relations profession.

Section A

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Code of Conduct, as approved by the Institute’s Council.

Section B

How to complain, if you think a public relations practitioner has breached the Code of Conduct; and what happens when you do.

Section C

Regulations for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Complaints Procedure (which includes Conciliation, the Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee).

Section D

Advisory Notes to accompany the Code of Conduct: Social Media Guidelines.

1


Introduction Maintaining professional standards in the public relations profession Reputation has a direct and major impact on the corporate well-being of every organisation, be it a multinational, a charity, a Government Department or a small business. That is why the professionalism of those people who guard and mould reputation – public relations practitioners – is so important. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations, as the voice of the PR profession, plays a key role in setting and maintaining standards. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Code of Conduct and Complaints Procedure Members of the CIPR agree to abide by a Code of Professional Conduct. The Code of Conduct is one means by which the CIPR and its Members fulfil the purpose set out in the Institute’s royal charter: ‘to promote for the public benefit high levels of skill, knowledge, competence, and standards of practice and professional conduct on the part of public relations practitioners’. Anyone can make a Complaint to the Institute if they believe a CIPR Member (or others for whom they are directly responsible) may have breached the Code. It is the Code, and the fact that the Institute can take steps to uphold it, that makes Members accountable for the standard of their professional conduct. This accountability is a valuable asset both to Members and to those who hire or employ them. If it appears that the Code has been breached, the CIPR’s Professional Practices Committee will investigate and either negotiate a settlement or adjudicate. We do not receive many Complaints, but – as the detailed Regulations later in this document make clear – we treat them seriously and carefully. For the sake of our Members, as well as the people who have complained, we must be fair, equal and rigorous. In certain cases the Institute’s Council may expel a Member summarily, that is, without going through the Complaints Procedure: for example, if a Member has been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or of any sufficiently serious crime, or has breached the rules of a regulatory or other authority by which they are bound. Outcomes We resolve most Complaints through informal negotiation (‘Conciliation’). Failing that, a decision will be imposed by the Professional Practices Committee or the Disciplinary Committee according to the powers delegated to them by the CIPR Council. (The Disciplinary Committee considers appeals by Members against decisions of the Professional Practices Committee). A decision may be to censure the person you complained about, to expel them from the Institute, or to drop the case if it is found not proven. Where the Code of Conduct is found to have been breached, decisions of a Committee are normally made public. 2


If the Committees decide that a CIPR Member has delivered substandard work to you, they may require the Member to return any fees you paid for that work. If the substandard work was part of a larger contract, the refund is limited to the value of that part of the contract. If you want further compensation, you will have to go to law: the CIPR does not impose damages. For further information Contact Martin Horrox, Regulatory Consultant, at martinh@cipr.co.uk, on 07974 964639, or by letter to Chartered Institute of Public Relations, 52-53 Russell Square, London WC1B 4HP

3


Section A

Chartered Institute of Public Relations Code of Conduct Principles 1.

Members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations agree to: a)

maintain the highest standards of professional endeavour, integrity, confidentiality, financial propriety and personal conduct;

b)

deal honestly and fairly in business with employers, employees, clients, fellow professionals, other professions and the public;

c)

respect, in their dealings with other people, the legal and regulatory frameworks and codes of all countries where they practise;

d)

uphold the reputation of, and do nothing that would bring into disrepute, the public relations profession or the Chartered Institute of Public Relations;

e)

respect and abide by this Code and related Notes of Guidance issued by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and ensure that others who are accountable to them (e.g. subordinates and sub-contractors) do the same;

f)

encourage professional training and development among members of the profession in order to raise and maintain professional standards generally.

Putting the principles into practice 2.

Examples of good public relations practice include: Integrity and honesty •

Ensuring that clients, employers, employees, colleagues and fellow professionals are fully informed about the nature of representation, what can be delivered and achieved, and what other parties must do in order to enable the desired result.

Never deliberately concealing the practitioner’s role as representative of a client or employer, even if the client or employer remains anonymous: e.g. by promoting a cause in the guise of a disinterested party or member of the public.

Checking the reliability and accuracy of information before dissemination.

Supporting the CIPR Principles by bringing to the attention of the CIPR examples of malpractice and unprofessional conduct.

Capacity, capability and competence •

Delivering work competently: that is, in a timely, cost-effective, appropriate and thoughtful manner, according to the actual or implied contract; applying due professional judgement and experience; taking necessary steps to resolve problems; and ensuring that clients and other interested parties are informed, advised and consulted as necessary.

Being aware of the limitations of professional capacity and capability: without limiting realistic scope for development, being willing to accept or delegate only that work for which

4


practitioners are suitably skilled and experienced and which they have the resources to undertake. •

Where appropriate, collaborating on projects to ensure the necessary skill base.

Transparency and avoiding conflicts of interest •

Disclosing to employers, clients or potential clients any financial interest in a supplier being recommended or engaged.

Declaring conflicts of interest (or circumstances which may give rise to them) in writing to clients, potential clients and employers as soon as they arise.

Ensuring that services provided are costed, delivered and accounted for in a manner that conforms to accepted business practice and ethics.

Confidentiality •

Safeguarding confidences, e.g. of present and former clients and employers.

Never using confidential and ‘insider’ information to the disadvantage or prejudice of others, e.g. clients and employers, or to self-advantage of any kind.

Not disclosing confidential information unless specific permission has been granted or if required or covered by law.

Interpreting the Code 3.

In the interpretation of this code, the Laws of the Land shall apply. With that proviso, the code will be implemented according to the decision at the time of the Professional Practices Committee.

5


Maintaining professional standards CIPR Members are encouraged to a)

b)

c)

raise and maintain their own professional standards by, for example: •

identifying and closing professional skills gaps through the Institute’s Continuous Professional Development programme;

participating in the work of the Institute through the committee structure, special interest and vocational groups, training and networking events;

evaluating the practice of public relations through use of recognised tools and other quality management and quality assurance systems (e.g. ISO standards);

constantly striving to improve the quality of business performance;

sharing information on good practice with Members and, equally, referring perceived examples of poor practice to the Institute.

raise the professional standards of other public relations practitioners to the level of CIPR Members by, for example: •

offering work experience to students interested in pursuing a career in public relations;

encouraging employees and colleagues to join and support the CIPR;

specifying a preference for CIPR applicants for staff positions advertised.

spread awareness of the CIPR’s role as guardian of standards for the public relations profession by, for example: •

displaying the CIPR designatory letters on business stationery;

referring to the CIPR Code of Conduct in every contract.

6


Section B How to complain, if you think a public relations practitioner has breached the Code of Conduct; and what happens when you do Who may make a Complaint? Anyone, whether an organisation or an individual. You do not have to have suffered loss or damage in order to complain: you only have to believe that a Member of the Institute may have breached the Code of Conduct. Sometimes the Chartered Institute of Public Relations itself will initiate a Complaint or take over the role of Complainant, for instance if the Complaint raises a matter of general principle. And the Institute’s Council may take independent action, e.g. if a Member has been convicted of a crime; in such cases the Complaints Procedure does not apply. Whom can you complain about? Members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and any staff or sub-contractors for whom they are directly responsible, even if those staff or sub-contractors are not CIPR Members in their own right. Members agree to be bound by the Code of Conduct when they accept Membership. This is why it makes sense to hire CIPR Members when you need public relations support. You may recognise Members from the letters FCIPR, MCIPR or ACIPR after their name, but you can also ask us to check whether someone is a Member – or whether they were a Member at the time of the events that you want to complain about. Members cannot avoid responsibility for their past conduct by resigning from the Institute. We cannot deal with Complaints about PR practitioners who have not been Members of the CIPR. To register a Complaint Contact Martin Horrox, Regulatory Consultant, at martinh@cipr.co.uk, on 07974 964639, or by letter to Chartered Institute of Public Relations 52-53 Russell Square London WC1B 4HP Martin Horrox will advise you (and the Member you complain about) on the various stages of a Complaint. He is your contact point with the CIPR throughout. Initial checks We will check that the person you have complained about is actually a Member – or was, at the time of the events you are complaining about. If this is not the case, there is nothing further that we can do. We will also tell you if we think the Complaint is not covered by the Code of Conduct.

7


Written details You will be asked to state your Complaint in writing (we can help you to do this, if necessary). The person you have complained about will be shown this document and asked to provide a written reply (and the same help is available to them). Conciliation Most Complaints are resolved through ‘Conciliation’, when the Institute helps both sides to reach an agreement by acting as a go-between in negotiations. It is always the first resort, but it depends on the willingness of both sides to take part. This is a very informal process. Sometimes it can be achieved with help from the CIPR’s Regulatory Consultant, even before there have been any formal exchanges of documents; otherwise a panel of Conciliators will be appointed by the Institute, and they have discretion to run the process in whatever way is most likely to produce an agreement. The process is confidential; no records of the discussions are kept, and the result is not published. Formal hearings If no agreement is reached through Conciliation, the Complaint will be considered by the Professional Practices Committee and possibly, after that, by the Disciplinary Committee. The power to discipline Members is granted to the CIPR Council by the Institute’s Royal Charter and is delegated to these committees. The Committees are formed of senior and experienced people from public relations and other professions. The Disciplinary Committee considers appeals by Members against decisions of the Professional Practices Committee. Any discussions that were held as part of a Conciliation process are ignored by the Committees, and Committee members who acted as CIPR Conciliators during the Conciliation process are not allowed to take part in formal hearings. The Committees, in other words, start afresh, with no preconceptions. Both sides in the dispute are expected to attend a hearing by the Professional Practices Committee, where they will have the chance to state their case in person; they are also allowed to bring with them a friend or a legal adviser, who may speak on their behalf. (At a Disciplinary Committee hearing, only the Respondent normally attends, but these same rights apply.) At the discretion of a Committee Chairman the parties may also be able to submit further information and to call and cross-examine witnesses. The Committees themselves may ask for additional written evidence and call witnesses. Although formal hearings are subject to detailed Regulations (see Section C below) they are run, above all, on the principle of natural justice: in other words, both sides should receive fair and equal treatment. Confidentiality Everyone (you, the person you have complained about, and Committee members) must keep every detail of the Complaint and the Complaints Procedure confidential until the Chairman of one of the Institute Committees rules otherwise. If a case goes to a formal hearing, and the decision is against the CIPR Member, a summary of the Complaint and the outcome will normally be made public.

8


Outcomes If the Complaint is not resolved by Conciliation, the Committees may decide to a)

advise the Member (the person you have complained about) to improve the way he or she does business;

b)

reprimand the Member;

c)

require the Member to repay fees received for work that forms the subject of the Complaint;

d)

require the Member to pay the Institute’s costs of the Complaints Procedure;

e)

suspend or expel the Member;

f)

drop the case, if they consider that the Complaint is not proven; or take no further action.

If a Member is found to have breached the Code of Conduct, that decision is normally made public (naming names). Compensation The CIPR does not award damages. If you have complained that a CIPR Member carried out substandard work for you, the Member may be required to return any fees that you paid for that work. If the substandard work was part of a larger contract, the refund is limited to the value of that part of the contract. If you want more or different compensation, you should use the courts. Legal action Occasionally disputes are pursued through the courts or similar agencies (such as the Information Commissioner’s Office) and through a Complaint to the CIPR at the same time. We will normally halt the CIPR Complaints Procedure until the legal action is completed. Legal action, in other words, does not cancel the CIPR Complaints Procedure, whether the action is taken by you (the person who is complaining) or by the CIPR Member (the person who is complained about).

9


Section C Regulations Governing the Complaints Procedure

Contents

Regulation

Information on the overall Complaints Procedure and Regulations Definitions

1

The Complaints Procedure: general management of business

2

Confidentiality

3

Making Complaints

4

The Institute’s initial response to Complaints

5

Conciliation Duty to conciliate

6

Management of business

7

Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee Membership

8

Assessors

9

General management of business

10

Evidence

11

Decisions

12

Suspension or termination of Membership

13

Other penalties

14

Letters of advice

15

Professional Practices Committee Convening the Professional Practices Committee

16

Management of business

17

Order of business

18

Appeal against a decision of the Professional Practices Committee

19

Disciplinary Committee Convening the Disciplinary Committee

20

Pre-hearing review

21

Management of business

22

Order of business

23 10


1.

Definitions For the purpose of these Regulations the following words and expressions have the following meanings, unless the context requires otherwise: Committee(s) the Professional Practices Committee and/or the Disciplinary Committee, as appropriate. Complaint facts or matters coming to the attention of the Chief Executive indicating that a Member of the Institute may have become liable to disciplinary action in accordance with Regulation 15 (Disciplinary Powers) of the Institute’s Charter Regulations. Complainant a person who brings a Complaint. Council the CIPR Council. Respondent a Member against whom a Complaint has been lodged. Institute/CIPR the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Member a Member of the Institute at the time the matter complained about occurred. Note: It is a condition of Membership that Members remain subject to disciplinary proceedings in relation to their professional activities during the period of their membership, even though they may subsequently have ceased to be Members. President the elected President for the time being of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Other words and expressions defined in the Charter and Charter Regulations of the Institute shall have the meanings there assigned to them. The singular includes the plural and vice versa.

2.

The Complaints Procedure: general management of business a)

The Complaints Procedure, including Conciliation and proceedings of the Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee, is governed by the rules of natural justice. In particular, the procedure will be managed at all times to ensure that the Respondent has a fair and proper opportunity to answer the Complaint.

b)

The standard of proof at all times is the balance of probabilities.

c)

Unless a Committee decides otherwise, all costs and expenses incurred by the Institute in connection with the Complaints Procedure and these Regulations will be borne by the Institute.

d)

Failure to comply with these Regulations in any case will not render the procedure void, but the Chairman of either Committee may act as necessary to redress the failure if he or she considers that it may have disadvantaged the Respondent or the Complainant.

e)

The Complaints Procedure is not invalidated if a relevant communication is accidentally not sent, or is not received.

f)

Any disagreement about the conduct of the Complaints Procedure, including the interpretation or application of these Regulations, will be resolved by the President.

g)

The Institute will retain all records of the Complaints Procedure (excluding records of Conciliation) for five years from the date of the hearing by the Professional Practices Committee or the Disciplinary Committee, as the case may be, or until the Council decides otherwise. 11


h)

3.

b)

5.

i)

if sent by email to an address that is known to have been active and accurate recently; and

ii)

if sent by recorded delivery post to the last address known by the Institute or an address that they specified in writing (including the address of their legal adviser); or

iii)

if handed to them in person; or

iv)

if served in any way which may be directed by the Chairman of either of the Committees.

Confidentiality a)

4.

Any documents served in connection with the Complaints Procedure shall be deemed to have been validly served on the Respondent and/or the Complainant:

Details of a Complaint and of its progress through the Institute’s Complaints Procedure must be treated as confidential by the Complainant, the Respondent and all Conciliators, Assessors and Committee members without time limit, except that: i)

a Committee Chairman may decide at any time that facts (other than details of any Conciliation) may be published if they are of public concern;

ii)

when a breach of the Code of Conduct is found to have occurred, decisions of the Committees will be published.

Any breach, or alleged breach, of confidentiality may itself give rise to a further Complaint.

Making Complaints a)

Any person (whether a Member of the Institute or not) may bring a Complaint against a Member. So too may the Chief Executive, on behalf of the Institute, if it appears to be in the public interest. Members of the Institute have a duty to bring a Complaint against a Member, where it is in the public interest to do so.

b)

Complaints may relate to others, who may or may not be Members (e.g. subordinates or subcontractors) for whose work the Member was directly responsible at the time of events that are the subject of the Complaint

The Institute’s initial response to Complaints a)

The Institute will maintain a register of all Complaints received and the Committees’ decisions on them.

b)

The Institute will

c)

i)

check that the Complaint concerns a Member of the Institute at the time of the events complained about;

ii)

identify the clause(s) in the CIPR Code of Conduct to which the Complaint refers;

iii)

tell the Complainant whether the Council intends to take summary action, in which case the Complaints Procedure will not apply.

If the Council does not intend to take summary action, the Institute will i)

clarify any matters of uncertainty with the Complainant;

ii)

tell the Complainant about the Complaints Procedure, these Regulations and the Institute's disciplinary powers: specifically, Regulation 3 (Confidentiality);

12


iii) d)

6.

7.

explain that the Respondent will be notified of the Complaint in order that he or she may exercise the right of reply.

If the Complainant wishes to proceed with the Complaint, the Institute will i)

obtain a written statement of the Complaint, provided or approved by the Complainant;

ii)

send the written statement to the Respondent and invite him or her to submit a written response to it;

iii)

tell the Respondent about the Complaints Procedure, these Regulations and the Institute's disciplinary powers: specifically, Regulation 3 (Confidentiality).

e)

The Respondent's written response will be forwarded to the Complainant.

f)

Unless both the Complainant and the Respondent agree that the Complaint should be withdrawn, the Institute will ask the Chairman of the Professional Practices Committee to start the Conciliation process under Regulation 6 (Duty to conciliate) or, if either the Complainant or the Respondent does not agree to that, to initiate a hearing by the Professional Practices Committee.

g)

The Complaint should be referred to the Chairman of the Professional Practices Committee, as in paragraph f) of this Regulation, no later than eight weeks after the Complaint was received, unless both the Complainant and the Respondent agree otherwise.

Duty to conciliate a)

The first step in resolving a Complaint, if the Complainant and the Respondent agree to it, is a process of conciliation, mediation or arbitration (‘Conciliation’).

b)

Conciliation is an informal process managed at the discretion of the Chairman of the Professional Practices Committee and of any Conciliators whom the Institute appoints.

c)

Conciliation is a confidential process: no records will be kept afterwards, and no details of it will be forwarded to the Professional Practices Committee or Disciplinary Committee.

d)

The Conciliators may investigate any facts and circumstances of the Complaint and take whatever legal or other advice they consider necessary. However, unlike at a formal hearing of a Complaint, they are not aiming at a complete understanding of the facts surrounding the Complaint.

e)

If a Complaint is not resolved by Conciliation, it will be considered at a hearing of the Professional Practices Committee.

Conciliation: management of business a)

The Chairman of the Professional Practices Committee will, whenever necessary, appoint three members of the Professional Practices Committee to act as a panel of conciliators, one of them as Chairman of the panel. The quorum of a Conciliation panel is two.

a)

Members of the panel (‘the Conciliators’) will receive copies of the Complaint and the Respondent’s response to it.

b)

The Conciliation process should start and run as quickly as possible, and will end in any event within three months after the Conciliators were appointed.

13


c)

The Complainant and the Respondent are expected to speak for themselves at Conciliation meetings, but they may be accompanied by any other person they choose, whom the Chairman may allow to address the Conciliators.

d)

The Complainant and the Respondent may state their position and any relevant issues in writing at any time.

e)

The Conciliators do not have to reveal to the Complainant what they have been told by, or have said to, the Respondent; and vice versa.

f)

The Conciliators may adjourn a Conciliation meeting at any stage.

g)

Conciliation will come to an end if:

h)

8.

i)

the Complainant withdraws the Complaint, or part of it, in writing;

ii)

the Chairman of the panel of Conciliators reports to the Chairman of the Professional Practices Committee – without giving reasons – that Conciliation has not been successful;

iii)

either the Complainant or the Respondent withdraws from the Conciliation process;

iv)

the Complainant and the Respondent have not reached agreement within three months.

Other things being equal, Regulation 8 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: membership) paragraphs b) to f) also apply to members of any Conciliation panel.

Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: membership a)

The quorum of the Professional Practices Committee is not less than four and of the Disciplinary Committee not less than three.

b)

Unless the Council decides otherwise, once a Committee has started to hear a Complaint, its members remain in membership until the hearing has been completed, even if they were due to retire from the Committee in the meantime.

c)

A Committee member shall play no part in considering a Complaint if he or she i)

has had previous dealings with the Respondent or Complainant personally or professionally;

ii)

has prior knowledge of any matters relating to the Complaint; or

iii)

has taken part in any previous consideration of the Complaint or any aspect of the Complaint, including Conciliation;

iv)

has been subject to an objection by a Respondent or Complainant which has been upheld by the Committee chairman, as set out in Regulation 16 (Convening the Professional Practices Committee) paragraph c), and Regulation 20 (Convening the Disciplinary Committee) paragraph c).

d)

The Chairman must be present throughout the hearing of a Complaint. If any other member of a Committee is absent from any part of the hearing, he or she shall take no further part in it. This will not invalidate the hearing, so long as the number of members present throughout the substantive hearing of the Complaint is not reduced below the quorum.

e)

If a Committee Chairman is unable to carry out any particular Committee duty, that duty may be carried out by any other member nominated in writing by the President.

14


f)

9.

The Committees may instruct a solicitor and/or counsel to represent them at a hearing if they think fit.

Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: assessors a)

The Chairman of a Committee may appoint one or more Assessors, who may have specialised knowledge or experience that would assist the Committee.

b)

No Assessor shall be appointed who has taken part in Conciliation under Regulation 6 (Duty to conciliate).

c)

Assessors are not members of the Committees and have no vote on decisions.

10. Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: general management of business a)

Hearings will be in private unless the Chairman decides otherwise.

b)

The Chairman may decide that more than one Complaint against the same Member, or Complaints against more than one Member, will be handled together.

c)

Unless the Chairman decides that an adjournment is necessary from time to time, the Committee will sit from day to day until it has announced a decision on all aspects of the Complaint.

d)

A record will be taken of the Committee proceedings and will be supplied to the Respondent or the Complainant if they i)

request it within three months of the hearing;

ii)

pay the cost of supplying it.

e)

The Chairman may take whatever steps he or she considers necessary at any time to ensure that the case is handled fairly and efficiently. This may include extending or abridging any time limit that has been imposed on the Respondent or the Complainant or that governs the procedures of the Committee.

f)

In any instances not explicitly covered by these Regulations, the Chairman may manage the business of the Committee as he or she sees fit: for example, in approving any application to postpone a hearing which has not begun, or in adjourning a hearing from time to time to seek further information or to give the Respondent or Complainant time to consider a response.

11. Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: evidence a)

The Committees may admit evidence of any sort, whether or not it would be acceptable in a court of law; although the Institute is expected to take reasonable steps to validate any hearsay evidence with direct evidence.

b)

Committees will normally only consider information and evidence that has been submitted in advance. However: i)

in exceptional circumstances, such as where information and evidence were not previously available, the Chairman may allow new information to be submitted at a hearing;

ii)

exceptionally and for good reason, the Committee may consider any evidence or information that has not been submitted by a due date,

provided that the Respondent is not disadvantaged as a result.

15


c)

The Committees may take into account any facts or matters which were considered by the Institute on previous occasions in relation to the Respondent.

d)

The Committees do not have access to any information relating to Conciliation under Regulation 6 (Duty to conciliate). Otherwise, they may direct the Respondent and Complainant to provide additional information as necessary; and the Respondent and Complainant must provide it within a specified time.

12. Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: decisions a)

Decisions of the Committees will be notified to the Respondent and the Complainant in writing.

b)

The Professional Practices Committee may determine that

c)

d)

e)

i)

a Complaint does not disclose a case for disciplinary action, in which case the Complaint will be dropped;

ii)

a Complaint does disclose a case for disciplinary action, but no further action will be taken; or. This decision will be made exceptionally and only if the Committee, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, considers that it would be unreasonable or unjust to impose a penalty.

iii)

a Complaint does disclose a case for disciplinary action, and it intends to proceed as in Regulation 13 (Suspension or termination of Membership) or Regulation 14 (Other penalties) or Regulation 15 (Letters of advice).

The Disciplinary Committee may determine an appeal from a decision of the Professional Practices Committee as follows: i)

it may dismiss the appeal;

ii)

it may allow the appeal and quash the decision appealed against; or

iii)

it may substitute for the decision appealed against any other decision that the Professional Practices Committee could have made.

The Committee’s final decision in the form of a report to the Council i)

will record whether the Respondent was present throughout the proceedings and, if not, confirm that the Institute had duly notified the Respondent of his or her rights and obligations as set out in these Regulations;

ii)

if the Respondent has failed to comply with these Regulations or any direction made under these Regulations, will inform to the Council that one of the measures under Regulation 13 (Suspension or termination of Membership) or Regulation 14 (Other penalties) or Regulation 15 (Letters of advice) should be exercised against the Respondent;

iv)

will state whether the Respondent should pay any costs and, if so, the amount to be paid or the way in which it is to be calculated, and the deadline for payment.

Where the Professional Practices Committee or the Disciplinary Committee decides that the Respondent has breached the Code of Conduct, the decision will normally be made public. The manner of publication will be determined by the Chief Executive Officer and the President of the CIPR in consultation with the chairman of the relevant committee. A decision may also be published if a Committee decides that a Respondent has not breached the Code of Conduct, but the Respondent asks in writing that the decision be published. 16


f)

If the Respondent breaches an order made under Regulation 13 (Suspension or termination of Membership) or Regulation 14 (Other penalties) or Regulation 15 (Letters of advice) he or she may be subject to a further Complaint.

13. Suspension or termination of Membership [Regulation 12 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: decisions) paragraph b) iii) refers] a)

A Committee may decide to suspend a Member from Membership of the CIPR for up to two years or may terminate his or her Membership.

b)

No refund will be made of Membership fees for the remainder of the membership year after the date of suspension or termination.

14. Other penalties [Regulation 12 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: decisions) paragraph b) iii) refers] A Committee may order that a)

the Respondent be reprimanded or severely reprimanded;

b)

by a specified date the Respondent must return to a client all or part of a fee which the client has paid or remit to a client funds which have been retained by the Respondent in or towards payment of a fee;

c)

the Respondent pay to the Institute by a specified date a sum to compensate for all or part of the costs arising under this Complaints Procedure.

15. Letters of advice [Regulation 12 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: decisions) paragraph b) iii) refers] a)

A Committee may order the Respondent to obtain and follow advice from specified sources if it considers that the Complaint has arisen because the Respondent's business, or the business in which the Respondent is employed, has been managed inefficiently.

b)

Where relevant, the Committee may seek the assistance of the Respondent's employer in implementing the advice.

16. Convening the Professional Practices Committee a)

b)

At least six weeks’ notice of the hearing will be given to the Complainant and the Respondent. The convening notice will i)

give the date, time and place for hearing the Complaint;

ii)

set out details of the procedure to be followed at the hearing, including the procedures in Regulations 10-11 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: general management of business, evidence) and Regulations 17-18 (Professional Practices Committee: management of business, order of business);

iii)

be accompanied by a copy of the written submissions supplied by the Respondent and Complainant;

iv)

name the Committee members who will take part in the hearing.

The Chairman may determine that it is in the public interest to resolve a Complaint urgently. In this case the Chairman, in consultation with one or more members of the Committee, is

17


entitled to act on behalf of the Committee in all matters, and will report his or her actions to the Committee as soon as reasonably practicable. c)

Within five days of the date of the convening notice the Respondent and Complainant may object in writing to any of the members, stating their grounds. If the Chairman considers that the objection is well founded, he or she shall bar the member(s) in question from hearing that Complaint. The Respondent and Complainant have the same right of objection to anyone who is subsequently appointed as an alternate, to be exercised within five days of the notice of appointment.

d)

The Respondent and Complainant will be required within two weeks of the date of the convening notice:

e)

i)

to state in writing whether they intend to attend and/or be represented at the hearing and the identity, standing and address of any person who will accompany or represent them;

ii)

to provide the names, standing and addresses of any witnesses they wish to call, and to deliver a signed written statement setting out the substance of each witness’s evidence.

The Chairman will decide as soon as practicable whether any or all of the witnesses proposed by the Respondent and Complainant, and the evidence of the witnesses, are admissible.

17. Professional Practices Committee: management of business a)

The Respondent and the Complainant have the right to appear in person before the Committee and each may be accompanied to and represented at the hearing by another person, who may be legally qualified or not.

b)

The Complainant and the Respondent will normally be expected to attend the hearing. The Committee may direct one or both of them to attend and may request witnesses to attend. The hearing will be conducted in the presence of both the Complainant and the Respondent, unless the Chairman decides otherwise from time to time and subject to paragraph c) of this Regulation.

c)

The Committee may proceed even if the Respondent fails to attend or fails to make use of the rights of the Respondent under these Regulations in any other way, provided that the Institute has duly notified the Respondent of his or her rights and obligations as set out in these Regulations.

d)

Subject to Regulation 16 e), the Complainant and Respondent may call witnesses and question witnesses. The members of the Committee may also question witnesses.

e)

If the Respondent or Complainant fails to attend when directed to do so according to paragraph b) of this Regulation, without good cause, his or her absence will be regarded by the Committee as evidence against him or her.

f)

The Committee will reach a decision in accordance with Regulation 12 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: decisions).

g)

The Committee will notify the Respondent of the decision in writing. The decision will come into effect, and the Committee will report it to Council, not less than 21 days after that notification, if i)

no appeal has been received under Regulation 19 (Appeal against a decision of the Professional Practices Committee); or

ii)

an appeal has been received but has been ruled invalid under Regulation 19 d).

18


18. Professional Practices Committee: order of business a)

The hearing will be informal.

b)

The normal order of business, subject to the discretion of the Chairman, will be: i)

The Chairman will ensure that everyone present is made known, and explain the procedure that the Committee will follow.

ii)

The Committee will consider the Complaint and any other written submissions.

iii)

The Complainant will be called to speak and to present any witnesses.

iv)

The Respondent will be called to respond, to question the Complainant’s witnesses and to present any witnesses of their own.

v)

The Complainant will be invited to question the Respondent’s witnesses.

vi)

The Committee will consider its decision in private, then announce it in the presence of the Respondent. If any finding is against the Respondent, he or she (or his or her representative) will be invited to address the Committee in mitigation.

vii)

The Committee will consider its final decision in private, then announce it in the presence of both the Complainant and the Respondent.

19. Appeal against a decision of the Professional Practices Committee a)

Within 21 days of the date of notification of a decision by the Professional Practices Committee under Regulation 17 g), the Respondent may state in writing to the Institute that he or she wishes to appeal against the decision. Subject to paragraphs b) – d) of this Regulation, the Complaint will be referred to the Disciplinary Committee.

b)

An appeal is not an opportunity to have the Complaint reconsidered ab initio. The Disciplinary Committee will consider an appeal solely on the grounds that i)

the decision, or the procedure by which the Professional Practices Committee reached it, was flawed; or

ii)

new evidence has arisen that materially alters the evidence previously before the Professional Practices Committee.

c)

In giving notice of his or her wish to appeal in accordance with paragraph a) of this Regulation, the Respondent must state the precise and detailed grounds on which the appeal is based.

d)

The Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee may rule an appeal invalid if he considers that the grounds do not conform to paragraph b) and/or paragraph c) of this Regulation or that no arguable ground of appeal has been stated.

20. Convening the Disciplinary Committee a)

In the event of a valid appeal by a Respondent against a decision of the Professional Practices Committee in accordance with Regulation 19 (Appeal against a decision of the Professional Practices Committee), the Professional Practices Committee will submit to the Disciplinary Committee i)

a summary of the facts and matters considered by the Professional Practices Committee and a copy of its written decision in relation to them;

19


b)

ii)

a copy of the initial written submissions made by the Complainant and the Respondent;

iii)

any further relevant information or submissions it may have received from the Complainant or Respondent;

iv)

the Respondent’s statement of appeal and grounds of appeal.

At least eight weeks’ notice of the hearing of the Disciplinary Committee will be given to the Respondent, with a copy to the Complainant. The convening notice will i)

give the date, time and place for hearing the appeal;

ii)

set out the procedure to be followed at the hearing, including the procedures in Regulations 10-11 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: general management of business, evidence) and Regulations 22-23 (Disciplinary Committee: management of business, order of business);

iii)

be accompanied by a copy of all documents referred to in paragraph a) of this Regulation;

iv)

give a date, time and place for a pre-hearing review, in the event that the Chairman later decides that one is necessary;

v)

explain the purpose and management of a pre-hearing review, as set out in Regulation 21 (Disciplinary Committee: pre-hearing review);

vi)

name the Committee members who will take part in the hearing.

c)

Within five days of the date of the convening notice the Respondent may object in writing to any of the members, stating the grounds. If the Chairman considers that the objection is well founded, he or she shall bar the member(s) in question from hearing that appeal. The Respondent has the same right of objection to anyone who is subsequently appointed as an alternate, to be exercised within five days of the notice of appointment.

d)

The Respondent will be required within four weeks of the date of the convening notice i)

ii) e)

to state in writing a)

whether he or she intends to attend and/or be represented at the hearing;

b)

the name, standing and address of any person who will accompany or represent him or her;

c)

whether he or she wishes to seek permission to call any witness(es) according to paragraph e) of this Regulation and, if so, to state the name, standing and address of the witness(es) and to deliver a signed written statement setting out the substance of each witness’s evidence;

d)

whether he or she accepts the facts as stated in the accompanying documents; and, if not, which facts are denied, and why;

e)

whether he or she accepts the authenticity of the accompanying documents; and, if not, which documents are denied, and why;

to submit any additional documents on which he or she intends to rely.

The Respondent may apply to the Chairman to call one or more witnesses, provided that the witness(es) will adduce new evidence which materially alters the evidence submitted previously by the Respondent to the Professional Practices Committee.

20


f)

The Chairman will decide as soon as practicable whether any or all of the witnesses proposed by the Respondent, and their evidence, are admissible.

g)

Any additional documents submitted by the Respondent under paragraph d) of this Regulation will be copied to the Complainant. If the Complainant chooses to submit a response, this must be received within two weeks and will be copied to the Respondent.

h)

In the light of new information or evidence provided, the Chairman may at any stage before the hearing decide in consultation with the Committee to allow the appeal without a hearing and to issue a direction to that effect.

i)

The Chairman shall have discretion to make an order that an appeal will be struck out if specified steps are not taken within a period specified in the order, in the event that the Respondent fails to comply with these Regulations or with any direction issued by the Chairman. The Chairman shall not make such an order before giving him or her reasonable opportunity to show cause why such an order should not be made.

21. Disciplinary Committee: pre-hearing review a)

The Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee may conduct a pre-hearing review to clarify the issues before the Committee and generally to ensure that the appeal is handled fairly and efficiently.

b)

The date of the pre-hearing review will be given in the convening notice for the hearing. The Chairman will give at least two days’ notice if he or she decides that it is after all not necessary [Regulation 20 (Convening the Disciplinary Committee) paragraph b) iv) refers]

c)

The Chairman may direct the Respondent to appear in person at a pre-hearing review.

d)

The pre-hearing review may consider, and the Chairman may issue subsequent directions for the purpose of securing the just, expeditious and economical hearing of the appeal relating to the following matters: i)

whether the hearing should be held in private or in public;

ii)

what matters other than those before the Professional Practices Committee should be considered by the Disciplinary Committee;

iii)

whether any aspects of the initial Complaint or of the grounds of appeal should be struck out;

iv)

further evidence considered necessary;

v)

attendance of witnesses;

vi) supplemental witness statements in the event of a direction for further evidence; vii)

which documents are admitted and whether the authenticity of any documents is challenged;

viii) which facts are admitted and which remain in dispute; ix)

the estimated duration of the hearing;

x)

any other relevant matters.

e)

The Chairman may adjourn the pre-hearing review from time to time as he or she considers appropriate.

f)

The directions made by the Chairman resulting from the pre-hearing review will be issued to the Respondent.

21


22. Disciplinary Committee: management of business a)

Subject to Regulation 21 (Disciplinary Committee: pre-hearing review) the Disciplinary Committee will consider the Complaint only in respect of the grounds of appeal.

b)

The Respondent has the right to appear in person before the Committee and may be accompanied to and represented at the hearing by another person, who may be legally qualified or not.

c)

The Respondent will normally be expected to attend the hearing. The Committee may direct the Respondent to attend and may request witnesses to attend, who may include the Complainant. The hearing will be conducted in the presence of the Respondent, unless the Chairman decides otherwise from time to time and subject to paragraph d) of this Regulation.

d)

The Committee may proceed even if the Respondent fails to attend or fails to make use of the rights of the Respondent under these Regulations in any other way, provided that the Institute has duly notified the Respondent of his or her rights and obligations as set out in these Regulations.

e)

If the Respondent fails to attend when directed to do so in accordance with paragraph c) of this Regulation, without good cause, his or her absence will be regarded by the Committee as evidence against him or her.

f)

The Committee will reach a decision in accordance with Regulation 12 (Professional Practices Committee and Disciplinary Committee: decisions). The decision will come into force when it has been reported to the CIPR Council.

23. Disciplinary Committee: order of business a)

The hearing will be informal.

b)

The normal order of business, subject to the discretion of the Chairman, will be: i)

The Chairman will ensure that everyone present is made known, and explain the procedure that the Committee will follow.

ii)

The Committee will consider the written submissions before it and call such witnesses as it sees fit.

iii)

The Respondent will be called to present his or her appeal, present any witnesses allowed by the Chairman and to question any witnesses called by the Committee.

iv)

The Committee will decide in private on its decision, then announce it in the presence of the Respondent. If any finding is against the Respondent, he or she will be invited to address the Committee in mitigation.

v)

The Committee will decide in private on its final decision, then announce it in the presence of the Respondent.

22

CIPR Code of Conduct  

CIPR Code of Conduct

Advertisement