Members' code of conduct

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals rules of professional conduct

Reviewed and approved by the Board on 6 March 2020 in accordance with By-law No. 15.

Expressions used in these rules shall have the meanings assigned to them by the by-laws, rules and regulations of the Institute.

These rules are provided to govern the conduct of all members of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals during their professional employment to ensure that they are guided at all times to serve the best interests of the public, the profession and their employer and maintain high standards of practice and professional conduct.

All CIPP members and current students are expected to support the aims of the Institute and are bound to uphold the standards prescribed in this document.


CIPP code of conduct

  1. Introduction
    1. In common with professional bodies in other fields, the CIPP has formulated its own rules as a Code of Conduct to define the actions and behaviour expected of its members. It has been drawn up to reflect the standards of conduct and professional work expected of members to ensure that they serve the best interests of the public, the profession and their employer.
  2. Charter obligations
    1. The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals is a professional body and its members have an obligation in the public interest to provide the best possible professional service. It is essential that the highest standards are maintained by all members whenever they are acting professionally and whatever their level of membership.
    2. To that intent:
      1. A member should, as far as is reasonable, take all practical steps to ensure that professional competence is maintained throughout their working lives by the knowledge and practice which currently pertains in the science and art of their primary specialism.
      2. A member should ensure that within their chosen field they have the appropriate knowledge and understanding of relevant legislation, regulations, codes and standards and that they comply with such requirements.
      3. At all times and however employed, a member should use the appropriate skills and competence relative to their grade of membership.
      4. A member shall, in accordance with the by-laws, provide to the Institute, in the form currently prescribed, an account of their CPD activities (or, if appropriate, the reasons for failing to do so).
      5. A member shall discharge their obligations to all those with whom they have professional relations or by whom they are employed faithfully and with integrity.
      6. A member shall act honourably, responsibly and lawfully so as to uphold the reputation, standing and dignity of the profession in general and the Institute in particular.
      7. A member convicted of a criminal offence, which in the opinion of the board renders them unfit to be a member, shall be deemed to be guilty of improper conduct (e.g. a motoring offence carrying a fixed penalty shall not constitute a criminal offence for the purposes of this clause).
      8. A member is required to act honestly and with integrity in all aspects of their professional life.
      9. A member shall be entitled to use the designated letters applicable to the grade of membership as currently approved by the board.
      10.   A member shall not improperly canvas or solicit professional employment.
      11.   In seeking professional employment, a member shall do so in a professional manner making a clear statement of their qualifications.
      12.    In seeking a commission or offering independent consultancy service, a member shall do so in a clear and unambiguous manner. A member shall not:
        1. Maliciously or recklessly injure or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects or business of another practitioner.
        2. Make or subscribe to any statement or reports, which are contrary to their bona fide professional opinions.
      13.    A member who practices in any country outside of the United Kingdom shall order their conduct according to these rules, so far as they are applicable but where there are local restrictions and recognised standards of professional conduct, they shall adhere to them bearing in mind the high standards which the Institute demands of its members.
      14.    A member shall be guilty of improper conduct if they take any action (which shall include the making of statements) which in the reasonable opinion of the board is likely to bring the Institute into disrepute with the public or wider business community.
      15.   A member who believes that they have a professional or personal conflict of interest, that may impair their ability to make an objective judgement, shall disclose such interest, where relevant, to their employer, the Institute or any relevant authority.

Disciplinary procedures

Amended and approved by the Board on 4 November 2021 in accordance with by-law No 15.

  1. Introduction
    1. The CIPP has an obligation to fulfil its function and powers conferred by the Institute’s Charter and Bylaws. The Institute also acts in the interests of the public and must therefore maintain and improve the professional status of its members. The disciplinary procedures set out below have been established to enable the Institute to deal with complaints and breaches of its Code of Conduct in a fair and transparent manner. In applying the procedures, the Institute will comply with relevant legislation.
    2. Subject to the CIPP’s Code of Professional Conduct and these regulations, the Investigating Officer and the Disciplinary Committee shall have the power to regulate their own practice and procedures to suit the case under investigation and will not be bound by the strict application of the laws of evidence and may adjourn the proceedings for any reason.
  2. Allegation of breach of Code Conduct
    1. Any complaint or referral relating to a potential breach of the CIPP’s Code of Conduct on the part of a member, received from any source, shall be referred to the Institute Secretary. Any such complaint or referral should include one or more allegations of conduct contrary to the CIPP Code of Professional Conduct or other breach of professional standards.  
    2. Subject to the approval of the Chair the Institute Secretary will appoint an Investigating Officer to consider the matter further. The Investigating Officer will not normally investigate an allegation(s) which falls within the competence of a criminal court, Employment Tribunal, local ombudsman, or other duly appointed body (but note clause 3.8 below).
    3. The Institute Secretary will acknowledge receipt of the complaint/referral within five working days and, where the complainant is not a member of the Institute, shall provide them with a copy of the CIPP Code of Conduct and these disciplinary procedures.
  3. Investigating officer
    1. The Investigating Officer shall, within one calendar month of their appointment, determine whether they consider the allegation is founded or otherwise. They may:
      1. if they consider the allegation does not disclose a prima facie case, or that it is of such a trivial nature that it calls for no further action, dismiss the case without informing the member concerned that such an allegation had been made, in which case the Investigating Officer will notify the Institute Secretary of their decision. The Institute Secretary shall advise the Chair after which the complainant will be informed accordingly, or
      2. decide that they need to conduct an initial enquiry to determine whether the allegation/referral is sufficiently founded for it to be considered by a disciplinary committee.
    2. In cases where the Investigating Officer decides to investigate, they shall send written notice to the member concerned giving the nature and particulars of the complaint/allegation and invite the member to submit their observations in writing no later than one twenty-eight days from the date of the notice. (In exceptional circumstances the Investigating Officer may grant an extension of time). The member shall be informed that they are under no obligation to make any observations but if they fail to do so, or if the Investigating Officer does not regard any explanation offered as satisfactory, the matter will be referred to a disciplinary committee which will provide the member with a full opportunity to present their case.
    3. Once a member has been notified that a complaint/allegation has been made against them they shall not be entitled to resign from membership of the Institute until all proceedings under these disciplinary procedures have been concluded.
    4. The Investigating Officer may call for additional particulars, clarification or evidence from the complainant, or the member concerned, at any time during the investigation.
    5. Where the complainant does not respond to a request for further information within twenty-eight days, the Investigating Officer may dismiss the complaint and inform the complainant and member concerned. However, if the Investigating Officer considers he has sufficient information to progress with the case, without the further information requested, they may do so.
    6. On receiving the member’s observations and any further information requested from the complainant, the Investigating Officer may:
      1. Dismiss the case where they find the complaint/referral of improper conduct:
        1. is unfounded,
        2. does not disclose a prima facie case,
        3. is of such a trivial nature that it does not call for further action.
      2. Where it is found that the member’s conduct has technically contravened the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct, but the contravention is of such a minor nature that it does not warrant referral to a disciplinary committee, the member should be advised accordingly and, if appropriate warned as to their future conduct.
      3. In all other cases the Investigating Officer shall refer the complaint/allegation relating to improper conduct to the Institute Secretary who will recommend to the Chair that a disciplinary committee is convened.
    7. Should the Investigating Officer find as in 3.6.1 or 3.6.2 they shall report to the Institute Secretary accordingly and, subject to the complainant and the member concerned being informed in writing, this shall conclude the matter. The Investigating Officer’s findings shall not be made public unless not doing so would be detrimental to the member concerned.
    8. Although the Investigating Officer will not normally investigate an allegation(s) which falls within the competence of a criminal court, Employment Tribunal, local ombudsman, or other duly appointed body, in such cases the Investigating Officer shall consider whether any findings of fact constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct and/or bring the Institute into disrepute. If they do and if the Investigating Officer accepts those findings, they shall refer the matter to a disciplinary committee.
    9. During any investigation, communications between the Investigating Officer, the complainant and the member concerned, shall be by correspondence only.
  4. Disciplinary committee
    1. The Chair shall instruct the Institute Secretary to appoint a disciplinary committee to hear any complaint referred by an Investigating Officer. The Investigating Officer shall not be a member of the disciplinary committee but would be expected to report their findings to the Committee.
    2. The Disciplinary Committee shall comprise three members who have achieved either Fellow or Chartered status. The disciplinary committee may consult a practising barrister or solicitor to advise them as to the way they should best exercise their functions.
    3. The Institute Secretary shall arrange that the member concerned be given notice that the matter has been referred to a disciplinary committee. The notice should include a request for the member concerned to respond to the allegations against the member in writing within twenty-eight days. The member may, at this time, inform the Disciplinary Committee of any mitigating circumstances that they wish to be taken into consideration.
    4. The Investigating Officer shall place before the Disciplinary Committee such information available to them following their investigation. The Disciplinary Committee may, if they consider they have sufficient evidence to do so, make a ‘documents only decision’. However, should they consider it more appropriate, or should the member concerned so request, they shall call a meeting of all interested parties to hear evidence in person.
    5. As soon as practicable after the decision to hold a meeting, and subject to any observations by the member concerned, the Institute Secretary shall give notice in writing to all interested parties of the date of the meeting, the practice of the disciplinary committee in relation to the hearing of the complaint, and the way they may be represented. The date of the meeting shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be set no earlier than twenty-eight days and no later than two calendar months from the date the parties are notified by the Institute Secretary.
    6. At the meeting the Investigating Officer shall present the evidence received as a result of their initial investigation. The member concerned shall be given the fullest opportunity to be heard, to call witnesses and to cross-examine any witness giving evidence to the Committee. The member shall be allowed to conduct their own case, or to be represented by a solicitor, counsel, or another Institute member of their choice, but not by any other person. The Disciplinary Committee may take into consideration, act on, and give such weight as they think fit to any information that has been presented to them, whether such information would or would not be admissible as evidence in a court of law.
    7. If the Disciplinary Committee finds that a breach of the Institute’s Code of Professional Conduct or other improper conduct has been proved on the balance of probabilities, the minutes of the meeting and any relevant reports will be referred to the Institute Secretary. The minutes should include details of the outcome and any recommendations that the Disciplinary Committee consider appropriate in terms of sanctions.
    8. In cases where the Disciplinary Committee finds that the member’s conduct did not technically contravene the provisions of any of the rules of professional conduct but fell short of the recognised standard of professional practice and behaviour, or the contravention was only of a minor nature, they shall inform the Institute Secretary who, after consultation with the Board Chair, inform the member accordingly.
    9. The Investigating Officer shall stand down at the conclusion of the case unless otherwise directed by the Institute Secretary.
  5. Powers of the Board
    1. Disciplinary action may be taken against any member who is found:
      1. to have contravened the provisions of any of the rules of the CIPP Code of Professional Conduct; or
      2. guilty of unprofessional conduct rendering the member unfit to serve the public in their professional capacity or to be a member of the Institute; or
      3. to have brought the Institute into disrepute.
    2. The Institute Secretary will request that the Board Chair to appoint two Board members to receive the minutes of the disciplinary committee and, on behalf of the Board, exercise discretion in dealing with a breach of the Institute’s Code of Conduct. This may include: 
      1. warning the member as to their future conduct
      2. reprimanding, or seriously reprimanding, the member
      3. publishing the member’s name and brief details of the complaint
      4. determining that the member should not hold office within the Institute, or any subsidiary company, for such a period as considered appropriate
      5. suspending the member from membership of the Institute for such a period as considered appropriate
      6. terminating the member’s membership of the Institute
      7. combining any of the above penalties as they consider appropriate, but the Board shall not impose a more severe penalty than that recommended by the disciplinary committee
      8. requiring the parties to bear their own costs for any hearing, including the cost of any legal advice or representation
    3. The examination of a complaint against a member shall be concluded by the Institute Secretary who shall, after consultation with the Chair, provide details of the decision of the Disciplinary Committee and the Board to both the member concerned and the complainant.
    4. In implementing any decision under these regulations, the Board reserves the right to give such publicity thereto as it may, in its absolute discretion, deem appropriate having regard for the interest of the public and the Institute.
  6. Appeals
    1. A member shall be entitled, within twenty-eight days after receipt of the letter giving details of the outcome of the Disciplinary Committee decision, to give notice of the intention to lodge an appeal, with the Institute Secretary, against the decision that they have breached the Institute’s Code of Professional Conduct.
    2. Notice of the appeal may be made by letter sent to the Institute Secretary by recorded delivery or by email. The appellant will receive information as to the appeals procedures.
    3.  The appeal hearing shall be heard by the CIPP Nominations and Appeals Committee. The hearing shall observe the rules of natural justice to preserve all rights of the appellant to receive a fair hearing of their appeal and the appellant shall receive prior notification of the constitution of the appeal hearing panel. For the purpose of hearing the appeal, the Nominations and Appeals Committee shall not comprise any individual who has had any previous involvement in the matter under consideration.
    4. The appellant and the Institute shall be bound by the decision of the Nominations and Appeals Committee hearing.
    5. The appellant may be represented at the appeal hearing at their own cost.
    6. The Nominations and Appeals Committee l shall notify the Board Chair of the conclusion of the hearing. The Institute Secretary will notify the member of the outcome of the hearing within two weeks of the conclusion.
  7. Suspensions and expulsions
    1. A member who is suspended for any reason shall immediately return to the Institute their membership certificate and membership card. During the period of suspension, they shall not be entitled to exercise any of the rights or privileges of membership, or use any title, designatory letters, logo or description implying current membership. In all other respects, they shall remain subject to the laws of the Institute.
    2. A member who is permanently expelled from membership of the Institute shall immediately return to the Institute their membership certificate and membership card and shall not be entitled to use any title, designatory letters, logo or description implying membership.