Establishing the facts
A complaint that a QP has behaved contrary to the expected manner required by the DoW CoP, must be submitted in writing to CL:AIRE outlining the details. Such a complaint can be made by any individual or organisation.
Complaints will be reviewed by the Investigation Panel, which may –
- dismiss the complaint,
- seek to resolve the issue without requiring more formal procedures, or
- decide to hold a Disciplinary Meeting.
In coming to its decision, the Investigation Panel may call for submissions from either the Complainant or the QP or both.
It is important to carry out necessary reviews of disciplinary matters without unreasonable delay when establishing the facts of the situation. In some cases this will require holding a review meeting with the QP before proceeding to any disciplinary meeting. In others, the review stage will be the collation of evidence by CL:AIRE for use at any disciplinary meeting.
Inform the QP of the problem
If it is decided that there is a disciplinary case to answer, the QP should be notified of this in writing. This notification will contain information about the alleged misconduct or poor performance to enable the QP to prepare to answer the case at a disciplinary meeting.
The Respondent and the Complainant shall be notified of the process by which the allegations are to be dealt with.
The Respondent shall be given 21 working days from the date by which CL:AIRE informs of the details of the allegations made by the Complainant, to respond in writing to the allegations (including submitting evidence).
Hold a Disciplinary Meeting with the QP
Meetings will be held without unreasonable delay whilst allowing the QP adequate time to prepare their response. CL:AIRE shall give 21 working days notice of a disciplinary meeting. The notice shall be issued in writing and shall outline the allegations. Reasonable steps will be taken to agree a convenient date, time and location for the meeting and arrange any special needs of the attendees (online meeting facilities may be used if most convenient for all parties).
The following steps will be taken prior to a disciplinary panel meeting:-
- CL:AIRE will inform the QP of the names of the disciplinary panellists in the notice given.
- The QP will have the right to flag concerns they might have with the individuals nominated e.g. prior interactions, points of conflict.
- Equally, disciplinary panellists will be informed of the QP name who is being called to the meeting and should self-exclude themselves for any of the same reasons.
- CL:AIRE will assess these concerns, and if necessary appoint an alternative disciplinary panellist.
- No further information will be released to any party until no conflict has been confirmed.
The QP will make every effort to attend the meeting, at which CL:AIRE will explain the complaint against the QP and go through the evidence that has been gathered. The QP will be allowed to set out their case and answer any allegations that have been made. The QP will be given a reasonable opportunity to ask questions and present evidence or witnesses.
Allow the QP to be accompanied at the meeting
The QP has the right to be accompanied by no more than one representative or advisor. They must be agreed in advance of the meeting with CL:AIRE for practical purposes e.g. venue size, accessibility. A request to be accompanied should provide enough time for CL:AIRE to make the necessary arrangements with regards venue size and facilities for the companion’s attendance at the meeting.
The companion should be allowed to address the meeting, to put and sum up the QP’s case, respond on behalf of the QP to any views expressed at the meeting and confer with the QP during the meeting. The companion does not, however, have the right to answer questions on the QP’s behalf, address the meeting if the QP does not wish it or prevent CL:AIRE from explaining their case.
The QP may submit supplementary evidence to the disciplinary meeting. This must be received by the Disciplinary Panel not less than 5 working days before the date set for the meeting.
The Disciplinary Panel will determine the procedure to be followed in the presentation of the documentation prior to, during, and in the conduct of the meeting. The decision of the Disciplinary Panel will be final in such matters in determining the conduct of the meeting which shall be in accord with natural justice.
The Disciplinary Panel shall consider the case, may call for independent technical advice, and shall determine whether the complaint against the Respondent has been made out or not.
The Panel may reach a decision in absentia if a Respondent refuses to attend the meeting.
Decide on appropriate action
After the meeting, the Disciplinary Panel will decide whether or not disciplinary or any other action is justified and inform the QP accordingly in writing.
If the finding is that the complaint has been made out, the Panel may:
- Issue the QP with a written warning and provide advice as to future conduct including requiring training or mentoring; or
- Issue the QP with a written warning & suspend the QP from the Register for a specified period and give advice as to future conduct including requiring training or mentoring; or
- Remove the QP permanently from the Register.
Where misconduct is confirmed, or the QP is found to be performing unsatisfactorily, it is usual to give the QP a written warning. A further act of misconduct or failure to improve performance within a set period would normally result in a final written warning.
A first or final written warning should set out the nature of the misconduct or poor performance and the change in behaviour or improvement in performance required (with timescale). The QP should be told how long the warning will remain current.
The QP should be informed of the consequences of further misconduct, or failure to improve performance, within the set period following a final warning. For instance that it may result in dismissal from the QP register.
If a QPs first misconduct or unsatisfactory performance is sufficiently serious (termed gross misconduct), it may be appropriate to move directly to a dismissal from the QP Register without notice for a first offence. This might occur where the QP’s actions have had, or are liable to have, a serious or harmful impact on the DoW CoP.
A decision to dismiss from the QP register should be taken by the CL:AIRE Board of Trustees. The QP should be informed as soon as possible of the reasons for the dismissal, the date on which their QP status will end, and the appropriate period of notice.
Upon removing a QP from the Register, CL:AIRE will also notify their Professional Institute of this action and their employer.