Members' code of conduct

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals Rules of Professional Conduct

Reviewed and approved by the Board on 15 February 2013 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. The masculine shall imply the feminine.

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.

To that intent:

1. A member shall, as far as is reasonable, take all practical steps to ensure that his professional competence is maintained throughout his working life by the knowledge and practice which currently pertains in the science and art of his primary specialism.

2. A member shall, in accordance with the by-laws, provide to the Institute in the form currently prescribed an account of his CPD activities or, if appropriate his reasons for failing to comply with clause 1.

3. A member shall, at all times and however employed, use the appropriate skills and competence relative to his grade of membership as approved by the board or appropriate delegated authority.

4. A member shall discharge his obligations to all those with whom he has professional relations or by whom he is employed faithfully and with integrity.

5. In promoting himself, a member:

5.1 Shall be entitled to use the designated letters applicable to his grade of membership as currently approved by the board.

5.2 Shall not improperly canvas or solicit professional employment.

5.3 In seeking professional employment a member shall do so in a professional manner making a clear statement of his qualifications.

5.4 In seeking a commission or offering independent consultancy service, shall do so in a clear and unambiguous manner.

A member shall not:

5.5 maliciously or recklessly injure or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects or business of another practitioner.

5.6 make or subscribe to any statement or reports, which are contrary to his bona fide professional opinions.

6. A member who practices in any country outside of the United Kingdom shall order his conduct according to these rules, so far as they are applicable, but where there are local restrictions and recognised standards of professional conduct he shall adhere to them bearing in mind the high standards which the Institute demands of its members.

7. A member convicted of a criminal offence, which in the opinion of the board renders him unfit to be a member, shall be deemed to be guilty of improper conduct. A motoring offence carrying a fixed penalty shall not constitute a criminal offence for the purposes of this clause.

8. A member shall be guilty of improper conduct if he takes 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.

Disciplinary Procedures

Amended and approved by the Board on 15 February 2013 in accordance with by-law No 15.

The term ‘improper conduct’ shall have the meaning to be inferred from these regulations. The masculine shall imply the feminine. “improper conduct” shall be construed as a material breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Subject to the rules 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 particular 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.

1. Allegation of Improper Conduct

1.1 Any allegation of improper conduct on the part of a member, received from any source, shall be referred to the Chair of the Institute. The Chair shall request the Company Secretary, or such person as nominated by the Chair, to appoint an Investigating Officer to consider the matter further.

1.2 The Company Secretary of the Institute shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within five working days and where the complainant is not a member of the Institute, shall provide them with a copy of the current rules of professional conduct and these disciplinary regulations.

1.3 To ensure receipt of all notices, the despatch of correspondence to either the complainant or the member shall be by recorded delivery, directly through the office of the Company Secretary of the Institute, or such person as nominated by the Chair of the Institute.

1.4 The Company Secretary, or the nominated person, shall appoint an Investigating Officer.

2. Investigating Officer

2.1 The Investigating Officer shall, within one calendar month of their appointment, determine whether they consider the allegation is founded or otherwise. They may:

2.1.1 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 and without hearing the complainant, in which case the Investigating Officer will notify the Company Secretary of his decision. The Company Secretary shall advise the Chair to inform the complainant accordingly.

2.1.2 decide that they need to conduct an initial enquiry to determine whether or not the allegation is sufficiently founded to refer it to a Disciplinary Committee.

2.2 In cases where the Investigating Officer decides to conduct an enquiry they shall send written notice to the member concerned giving the nature and particulars of the allegation and invite him to submit his observations in writing to the Investigating Officer no later than one calendar month from the date of the notice. (In exceptional circumstances the Investigating Officer may grant an extension of time).

At the same time the member shall be informed that he is under no obligation to make any observations but that if he does not do so, or if the Investigating Officer does not regard any explanation offered by him as satisfactory, the matter will be referred to a Disciplinary Committee which will give him a full opportunity to present his case.

2.3 Once a member has been notified that an allegation has been made against him he shall not be entitled to resign from membership of the Institute until all proceedings under these disciplinary regulations have been concluded.

2.4 The Investigating Officer may call for additional particulars, clarification or evidence from the complainant, or the member concerned, at any time during the course of the investigation.

2.5 Where the complainant does not comply within one calendar month to a request by the Investigating Officer for further information, 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, he may do so.

2.6 On receiving the member’s observations and any further information requested from the complainant, the Investigating Officer may:

2.6.1 Dismiss the case where they find the allegation of improper conduct; Is unfounded, Does not disclose a prima facie case, Is of such a trivial nature that it does not call for further action.

2.6.2 Where they find the member’s conduct has technically contravened the provisions of any of the rules of professional conduct but the contravention is of such a minor nature that it does not warrant referral to a Disciplinary Committee, advise the member accordingly and warn him as to his future conduct.

In all other cases the Investigating Officer shall refer the allegation of improper conduct to the Company Secretary. The Company Secretary shall recommend to the Chair that a Disciplinary Committee is convened.

2.7 Should the Investigating Officer find as in 2.6.1 or 2.6.2 they shall report to the Company 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.

2.8 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. However, in such cases the Investigating Officer shall consider whether any findings of fact constitute a breach of the rules of professional 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.

2.9 During any enquiry, communications between the Investigating Officer, the complainant and the member concerned, shall be by correspondence only.

2.10 The Investigating Officer shall stand down at the conclusion of the case unless otherwise directed by the Company Secretary.

3. Disciplinary Committee

3.1 The Chair shall instruct the Company 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.

3.2 The Disciplinary Committee shall consist of one Fellow and two Full members. The Disciplinary Committee may consult a practising barrister or solicitor to advise them as to the manner in which they should best exercise their functions.

3.3 Once the complaint has been referred to a Disciplinary Committee, the Company Secretary shall arrange that the member concerned be given notice that the matter has been referred to a Disciplinary Committee.

3.4 The Investigating Officer shall place before the Disciplinary Committee such information available to them following their investigation. The Disciplinary Committee shall, in the first instance, invite the member concerned to respond to the allegations against him in writing within two calendar weeks. The member may, at this time, inform the Disciplinary Committee of any mitigating circumstances that they wish to be taken into consideration. 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.

3.5 As soon as practicable after the decision to hold a hearing, and subject to any observations by the member concerned, the Company Secretary shall give notice in writing to all interested parties of the date of the hearing, the practice of the Disciplinary Committee in relation to the hearing of the complaint, and the manner in which they may be represented. The date of the hearing shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be set no earlier than one calendar month and no later than two calendar months from the date the parties are notified by the Company Secretary.

3.6 At the hearing 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. He shall be allowed to conduct his own case, or to be represented by a solicitor, counsel or another Institute member of his 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 or not such information would or would not be admissible as evidence in a court of law.

3.7 In the event that the Disciplinary Committee finds the allegation that a breach of the rules of professional conduct or other improper conduct has been proved on the balance of probabilities they shall reserve judgement and issue a report finalising their decision and recommendations, in writing, to the Company Secretary. The Company Secretary shall discuss this outcome with the Chair.

The Chair will issue the decision of the Disciplinary Committee, in writing, to the member – this communication will include details of the right to appeal (see Section 5).

3.8 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 Company Secretary that the Chair should advise the member concerned as to the propriety of his actions and future conduct.

4. Powers of the Board

4.1 Disciplinary action may be taken against any member who is found:

4.1.1 To have contravened the provisions of any of the rules of professional conduct;

4.1.2 Guilty of unprofessional conduct rendering him unfit to serve the public in his professional capacity or to be a member of the Institute; or

4.1.3 To have brought the Institute into disrepute.

4.2 In considering a report from the Disciplinary Committee that a breach of the rules of professional conduct or other unprofessional conduct has been established, the Board, in its absolute discretion, may:

4.2.1 Warn the member as to his future conduct

4.2.2 Reprimand, or seriously reprimand, the member

4.2.3 Publish the member’s name and brief details of the complaint

4.2.4 Determine that the member should not hold office within the Institute, or any subsidiary company, for such a period as considered appropriate

4.2.5 Suspend the member from membership of the Institute for such a period as considered appropriate

4.2.6 Terminate the member’s membership of the Institute

4.2.7 Combine 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.

4.2.8 Require the parties to bear their own costs for any hearing, including the cost of any legal advice or representation

4.3 The examination of a complaint against a member shall be concluded by the Company Secretary who shall request that a letter from the Chair is sent within five working days of the decision being made to both the member concerned and the complainant giving notice of:

4.3.1 The Investigating Officer’s decision under either regulation 2.6 or 2.8.

4.3.2 The Board’s decision under either regulation 4.2.

4.4 In implementing any decision under these regulations, the Board reserves the right to give such publicity there to as it may, in its absolute discretion, deem appropriate having regard for the interest of the public and the Institute.

5. Appeals

5.1 A member shall be entitled, within one calendar month after receipt of the letter giving the Disciplinary Committee’s decisions, to give notice of the intention to lodge an appeal with the Chair against the decision that he has breached the Institute’s specific by-laws, rules, or codes governing professional conduct and/or that the penalty imposed is in accordance with the Institute’s by-laws, rules or codes.

5.2 Notice of intention to appeal shall be made by recorded delivery to the Chair at the registered office of the Institute. The appellant will receive information as to the appeals procedures.

5.3 The appeal shall be heard by the CIPP Governance Committee (the tribunal). The hearing shall observe the rules of natural justice so as 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 tribunal.

5.4 The appellant and the Institute shall be bound by the decision of the tribunal hearing the appeal.

5.5 The appellant may be represented at the tribunal hearing at his own cost.

5.6 The appeal tribunal shall notify the Chair of their conclusion. The Chair will notify the member within two weeks of the appeal hearing.

6. Suspensions and expulsions

6.1 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.

6.2 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.