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1. Introduction

CL:AIRE aims to help a Specialist in Gas Protection Verification (SGPV) or Technician in Gas Protection Verification (TGPV) - “GPV Accredited Persons” - understand what rules and procedures are for the Gas Protection Verification Accreditation Scheme (GPVS) and how they are to be used to manage disciplinary and grievance situations which may arise.

Fairness and transparency must always be promoted through clear, specific rules and procedures.

Where formal action is needed, it must be reasonable, fair and justified depending on the circumstances.

This will be achieved by considering the following:

  1. CL:AIRE and GPVS Accredited Persons must raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of those decisions.
  2. CL:AIRE and GPVS Accredited Persons must act consistently.
  3. CL:AIRE must carry out any necessary reviews, to establish the facts of any situation arising.
  4. CL:AIRE must inform GPVS Accredited Persons of the basis of any problem(s) and give them an opportunity to put their case in response before any decisions are made.

2. Objective

The objective of this procedure is to provide a transparent and fair process for addressing complaints of improper conduct by GPV Accredited Person in the course of their professional work.

3. Scope

This procedure covers the circumstances where a complaint has been received about a GPV Accredited Person and it has been determined that the complaint is founded in the Code of Conduct.

4. Definitions

In the usage of this Procedure:

  • “Complainant” means any person or persons who have made a written allegation of improper conduct against a GPV Accredited Person under the CL:AIRE Gas Protection Verification Accreditation Scheme (GPVS).
  • “Respondent” means the  GPV Accredited Person about whom a written allegation of improper conduct has been made to CL:AIRE.
  • The “Chair” is the Chair of CL:AIRE.
  • The “List of Assessors” is the list of SGPVs selected from time to time to act as formal Assessors in the GPVS interview process.
  • An “Investigation Panel” is a panel comprising a member of the CL:AIRE Executive or Board and an Assessor from the List of Assessors that is appointed to decide whether or not there are grounds for a detailed examination of a specific allegation made by the Complainant against a SGPV or TGPV.
  • A “Disciplinary Panel” is a panel comprising two representatives of CL:AIRE from the Executive and Board and one independent Assessor for the purpose of a Disciplinary Meeting. Disciplinary panel members will not have acted on the investigation panel except for the CL:AIRE Executive representative to maintain continuity.
  • A “Disciplinary Meeting” is a meeting organised by the Disciplinary Panel, at which the Complainant and Respondent are invited to present their evidence.
  • Review Meeting” is a meeting which may be held in advance of a “Disciplinary Meeting” with the accredited person to help establish the facts of any complaint.
  • Appeal Panel” acts in the event of an appeal to the decision of the Disciplinary Panel and can uphold or overturn or vary the decision.

5. Procedure

5.1        Establishing the facts
  • A complaint that a GPVS Accredited Person has behaved in an improper manner so as to breach the Code of Conduct and bring the Gas Protection Verification Scheme into disrepute must be submitted in writing to CL:AIRE outlining the grounds for the complaint. Such a complaint can be made by any individual or organisation.
  • Complaints will be reviewed initially by an Investigation Panel which may:
    • Dismiss the complaint,
    • Seek to resolve the issue without more formal procedure, or
    • Decide to hold a Disciplinary Meeting.

In coming to its decision, the Investigation Panel may call for submissions from either the Complainant or GPVS Accredited Person 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 GPVS Accredited person 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.

5.2       Informing the GPV Accredited Person of the problem
  • Following a decision by the Investigation Panel that there is sufficient cause for a detailed examination of an allegation of improper conduct by a GPVS Accredited Person, the Respondent shall be informed in writing that an allegation against the Respondent has been made and is to be heard by a Disciplinary Panel. The Respondent shall be sent details of the allegations exactly as received and as may have been supplemented by further submission to enable the GPVS Accredited Person 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
  • The Respondent shall be given 21 days to respond in writing to the allegations (including submitting evidence), from dispatch by CL:AIRE of the details of the allegations made by the Complainant.
5.3         Hold a Disciplinary Meeting with GPVS Accredited Person
  • Meetings will be held without delay whilst allowing the GPVS Accredited Person adequate time to prepare their response.
  • CL:AIRE shall give 21 days notice of a Disciplinary Meeting. The notice shall be issued in writing to the Respondent and Complainant and shall include the names of the Complainant and a copy of the report of the Investigation Panel related to the allegations.
  • Reasonable steps will be taken to agree a convenient date, time and location for the meeting and meet 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 Meeting:

  • CL:AIRE will inform the GPVS Accredited Person of the names of the disciplinary panellists in the notice given.
  • The GPVS Accredited Person 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 GPVS Accredited Person 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.
5.4       Allow the GPVS Accredited Person to be accompanied at the meeting
  • The Complainant and Respondent may elect to be represented at the Disciplinary Meeting. They must inform CL:AIRE whether they intend to be represented at the Disciplinary Meeting.
  • Any party to the Disciplinary Meeting may be accompanied at the Disciplinary Meeting by no more than one person.
  • The Respondent and Complainant may submit supplementary evidence to the Disciplinary Meeting. Supplementary evidence must be received by the Disciplinary Panel not less than one week before the date set for the Disciplinary Meeting. Copies of any supplementary evidence shall be issued to the Respondent and Complainant in advance of the Disciplinary Meeting.
  • The Disciplinary Panel will determine the procedure to be followed in the presentation of the documentation prior to the meeting, during the meeting, 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 engage with the Desciplinary Process.
5.5       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 GPVS Accredited Person accordingly in writing.

Where action is justified, possible outcomes are:

  • Issue the GPVS Accredited Person with a written warning and provide advice as to future conduct including requiring training or mentoring
  • Issue the GPVS Accredited Person with a written warning and suspend the GPVS Accredited Person from the Register of Accredited Persons for a specified period and give advice as to future conduct including requiring training or mentoring, or
  • Remove the Respondent permanently from the Register.

Where misconduct is confirmed, or the GPVS Accredited Person is found to be performing unsatisfactorily, it is usual to give the GPVS Accredited Person 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 GPVS Accredited Person should be told how long the warning will remain current.

The GPVS Accredited Person 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 GPVS Accredited Person register.

If a GPVS Accredited Person first misconduct or unsatisfactory performance is sufficiently serious (termed gross misconduct), it may be appropriate to move directly to a dismissal from the GPVS Accredited Person Register without notice for a first offence. This might occur where the GPVS Accredited Person’s actions have had, or are liable to have, a serious or harmful impact on the GPVS.

A decision to dismiss from the GPVS Accredited Person register should be taken by the CL:AIRE Board of Trustees. The GPVS Accredited Person should be informed as soon as possible of the reasons for the dismissal, the date on which their GPVS Accredited Person status will end, and the appropriate period of notice.

Upon removing a GPVS Accredited Person from the Register, CL:AIRE may make this action public through its website.

6. Appeals

The GPVS Accredited Person against whom a complaint is found to have been made out by a Disciplinary panel, may appeal, but only on one or more of the following grounds:

  • That additional evidence (which was not available at the time of the hearing) has subsequently become available and that this evidence could have materially affected the decision of the Disciplinary Panel;
  • That the provisions of this procedure were not followed in a material respect resulting in prejudice to the Respondent's ability to defend him/her self;

Any appeal shall be made in writing to CL:AIRE, setting out the grounds, to be received within 21 working days of the date of notification of the Disciplinary Panel. An appeal shall include any new evidence if this ground is relied upon.

Upon receipt of an appeal, the CL:AIRE Executive shall appoint an Appeal Panel to consist of three appropriate persons who may not include any person who was a member of the Investigation Panel or Disciplinary Panel sitting for the case in question (for example this may consist of members of CL:AIRE Technology and Research Group, Trustees or legal advisors).

The Appeal Panel shall consider the appeal and shall determine whether the decisions of the Disciplinary Panel should stand in whole or part or not.  Generally the Appeal will deal with matters based on written representations by the GPVS Accredited Person.

The decision of the Appeal Panel, which may be taken by simple majority, shall be binding and shall be communicated to the CL:AIRE Executive. Such a decision may be to uphold or overturn or vary the decision and/or sanction of the Disciplinary Panel and shall be final.

The CL:AIRE Executive shall inform the Respondent and the Complainant in writing of the decision of the Appeal Panel.

7. Confidentiality and Making the Decision Known

The proceedings of the Investigation Panel, Disciplinary Panel and Appeals Panel shall remain confidential to the CL:AIRE Executive and members of the panels and shall not be disclosed to third parties, other than to the Respondent and Complainant, their representatives and the CL:AIRE Board. Where the final decision results in the complaint being upheld, and removal of the GPVS Accredited Person permanently from the Register, the outcome may be made public on the CL:AIRE website.

Where a complaint is found not to be upheld, the proceedings and outcome will not be made public unless the Respondent specifically requests this.

If the Respondent tenders their resignation as a GPVS Accredited Person from the scheme (therefore being removed from the Register) during the main or appeals procedure, the process will be continued to a conclusion. If the complaint is upheld, the result may be made public on the CL:AIRE website.

The procedure shall be terminated at any stage if the Complainant withdraws their complaint. In this situation, the proceedings will remain confidential unless the Respondent requests otherwise.