FEPTO COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
Chair of the Ethics Committee
The FEPTO Complaints Procedure provides a practical approach by which FEPTO can give effect to the FEPTO Code of Ethics and Practice. It is intended that the Complaints Procedure be read in conjunction with the Code of Ethics and Practice. The FEPTO Council is authorized to investigate complaints only against members of FEPTO.
The FEPTO Complaints Procedure provides a means for investigating and evaluating ethical complaints and defines a regulation for deciding any disciplinary (reprimand, suspension or expulsion) or corrective action (requirements for additional training or supervision) considered to be appropriate. It is also a means to facilitate communication and to resolve disputes.
The protocol established by this Complaints Procedure is based on the principle that there will be a continuing promotion of the Code of Ethics in practice and that there will be a respectful response and right of redress to those who have been the subject of behaviour in breach of the FEPTO Code of Ethics and Practice. Procedural fairness implied by the principles of natural justice will be followed at all times.
All Members share a responsibility to uphold the good name of FEPTO. Members should make themselves familiar with the FEPTO Code of Ethics and Practice and with the Complaints Procedure so they can practice in accordance with the procedures and be aware of the processes that follow.
Members will maintain strict confidentiality with respect to any information concerning a complaint, its circumstances and the people involved. Members who are the subject of a complaint are required to comply with this Complaints Procedure.
2. STRUCTURES AND PERSONNEL
The FEPTO Council will appoint one member of the Council to be the Chair of the Ethics Committee. The Chair of Ethics is authorised to promote understanding and awareness of professional ethical standards in FEPTO and to consider complaints against Members according to these procedures.
The Chair of the Ethics Committee will ensure that suitable members are appointed to the Ethics Committee.
The members of the Advisory Board will be chosen by the Chair of the Ethics Committee according to their knowledge, professional experience and skills in the field of Ethics. They may be called upon individually, or as a team, to provide guidance or advice and to express their thoughts upon delicate matters, should they arise. Members of the Advisory Board will be called upon to take part in the Complaints Assessment process and to arrange Complaint Resolution. The Advisory Board does not have decision-making power, but assists the Ethics Committee in the performance of its functions. Their term lasts for two years and may be renewed.
A Complaints Assessment Panel will be appointed by the Chair of the Ethics Committee to assess the nature of all complaints and determine how they will be progressed. It will comprise the Chair of the Ethics Committee, a member of the Ethics Committee and a member of the Advisory Board.
If complaint resolution is instigated, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will appoint a Complaint Resolution Panel comprising a member of the Advisory Board and a member of the Task Force for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
If necessary, a Hearing Panel will be appointed by the Chair of Ethics to determine the complaint and, where a complaint is proved, to recommend corrective or disciplinary actions when appropriate. The Hearing Panel will comprise a member of the Ethics Committee as Convenor and two Members of FEPTO with knowledge, professional experience and skills in the field of Ethics.
The Chair of Ethics will ensure that the FEPTO Council is informed in a timely fashion about all matters; oversee the implementation of the Complaints Procedure; ensure that all people involved in managing the complaint process do not have a conflict of interest; report to the FEPTO General Assembly annually and identify the number and nature of any complaints considered; be available for consultation by anyone concerned about the behaviour of a Member; and determine when and how the Ethics Committee should meet and conduct its business, be it by telephone, Skype conference or face to face meeting.
All complaints must be in writing. Complaints should be sent to:
FEPTO – Chair of the Ethics Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaints must include the full name and address of the member making the complaint, the name of the member complained against, a description of the incident and behaviour at issue, approximately when and where the incident occurred, and any additional information or evidence relating to the incident.
When a complaint is received, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will make an initial determination to establish whether the member who is the subject of the complaint is a Member of FEPTO.
If the member complained against is not a Member of FEPTO, the Chair of the Ethics committee will inform the Complainant that no further action can be taken under this Complaints Procedure.
If the member is a Member of FEPTO, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will inform the Complainant of this determination by email and provide a copy of the Code of Ethics and Practice, a copy of the Complaints Procedure, and the availability to provide information and guidance on the procedures.
The Chair of the Ethics Committee will then present the complaint to the Complaints Assessment Panel to assess the nature of the complaint and to determine how it will be progressed. The Complaints Assessment Panel will decide whether the behaviour complained about is competence of FEPTO. If it is not, then the Complainant will be referred to some other course of action.
If the behaviour complained about is matter of consideration of FEPTO, then the Chair of the Ethics Committee will send a letter to the member complained against – henceforth referred to as the Respondent – which states that a complaint has been made. Included with this letter will be a copy of the complaint, a copy of the Code of Ethics and Practice and a copy of the Complaints Procedure.
The Complaints Assessment Panel will decide whether the behaviour complained about is potentially professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a Member of FEPTO or conduct prejudicial to the good name of FEPTO. The Chair of the Ethics Committee may seek further information from the Complainant in writing.
If the Complaints Assessment Panel determines that the behaviour complained about is not professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a Member of FEPTO or conduct prejudicial to the good name of FEPTO, the Chair of Ethics will inform the Complainant and the Respondent.
If the Complaints Assessment Panel determines that the behaviour complained about is potentially professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a Member of FEPTO or conduct prejudicial to the good name of FEPTO, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will inform the Complainant of this determination; inform the Respondent of this determination; request that the Respondent responds in writing to the Chair of the Ethics Committee stating if the circumstances of the complaint as set out are accepted or denied and identifying other matters they wish to be considered.
After having received a response from the Respondent, the Complaints Assessment Panel will take the response in consideration and decide whether no further action needs to be taken; whether the option of complaint resolution should be instigated; whether the Hearing Panel should hear the complaint; or (where the Respondent has accepted the circumstances of the complaint) whether the Hearing Panel should consider corrective or disciplinary action.
If no further action is to be taken, the Chair of Ethics will inform the Complainant.
4. COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCESS
If complaint resolution is instigated, the member of the Advisory Board on the Complaints Resolution Panel will arrange the complaint resolution meeting and establish its terms and format. The Complaint resolution process will involve the Complainant, the Respondent and the members of the Panel.
During the Complaint Resolution Process, the member of the Advisory Board will make a record of the outcomes or understandings reached and any outstanding matters and the record will be forwarded to the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
If any outcomes or understandings reached at the complaint resolution meeting are not or cannot be complied with, the matter will be referred back to the Complaints Assessment Panel to determine what further action, if any, shall be taken.
5. HEARING PROCEDURES
In circumstances where a hearing is to be conducted before the Complaints Assessment Panel, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will identify in writing the events that are the subject of the complaint; the behaviour at issue that is potentially professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a Member of FEPTO or conduct prejudicial to the good name of FEPTO; and all documents relating to those matters.
The Chair of the Ethics Committee will notify the Complainant and Respondent of these matters.
The Complaints Assessment Panel will, as soon as practicable, formulate the charges against the Respondent; determine the place and time of the hearing, which will be held in private; clarify who will be present, including parties and witnesses; determine the procedure to be followed, which will comply with the principles of natural
justice; notify the Complainant and Respondent of these matters; and ensure that the Respondent has details of all matters that the hearing will consider.
At the hearing, the Complaints Assessment Panel will consider any written material already presented by the Complainant and Respondent; any additional written information that the Complainant and Respondent wish to present; any other information that it wishes to hear.
The Complaints Assessment Panel will determine if there has been professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a Member of FEPTO or conduct prejudicial to the good name of FEPTO.
When possible, the Complaints Assessment Panel will deliver its decision orally to the Complainant and Respondent at the conclusion of the hearing. A written record of the hearing will be provided to the Complainant and to the Respondent soon after the conclusion of the hearing. Where the complaint is upheld, a notice stating that corrective or disciplinary actions may be imposed will be provided.
In all situations where the Complaints Assessment Panel upholds the complaint against a Member, it will consult to consider corrective or disciplinary actions.
6. CORRECTIVE OR DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
When the Complaints Assessment Panel has upheld a complaint, it may recommend that the Chair of the Ethics Committee:
a. Warns the Member;
b. Provides educative advice to the Member;
c. Requires the Member to cease and desist from the behaviour considered inappropriate or unethical;
d. Censures the Member;
e. Requires the Member to undertake a specified programme of training and/or supervision under the direction of the Training Committee;
f. Suspends the membership of the Member from one year to three years;
g. Asks the Member to resign from FEPTO; and/or
h. Expels the Member from FEPTO.
The chairperson of the FEPTO Council will confirm and impose the corrective or disciplinary actions and inform the Complainant and Respondent.
The member will have the right to appeal to the Advisory Board.
7. COLLABORATION WITH OTHER COMMITTEES
The Ethics Committee will collaborate closely with the Membership committee concerning the presentation/misrepresentation of applying institutes, with the Training Committee concerning training/supervision programmes and with the Development Committee regarding the voting procedure of new institutes at the General Assembly.
8. PREVENTATIVE STRATEGIES
All Members are to be made aware of the seriousness of professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a Member of FEPTO or conduct prejudicial to the good name of FEPTO.
Whenever there is concern about the behaviour of any person connected to FEPTO, steps should be taken to determine whether the behaviour is the symptom of a deeper problem and appropriate action should be taken.
9. CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY
All documents received and sent will be coded for filing, marked confidential and dated by the Chair of Ethics. After procedures have been completed, one copy only will be maintained in secure storage by the Chair of Ethics. This copy will be dated and stamped Confidential File Copy. Material in storage will be reviewed periodically and may be culled after being held for seven years.