ETHICS COMMITTEE PROTOCOLS
Membership of an Ethics Committee is open to any member of the ATC council. A new committee will be formed for each case to be considered. A committee is formed once a breach of the ATC’s Code of Professional Conduct appears to have been made and, a hearing is triggered on receipt of evidence supplied by fellow members of the ATC, other members of the language industry or an LSPs customer/customers.
MEMBERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION
An Ethics Committee panel will consist of three individuals, one of whom will be elected by the other two to act as chair of the panel. The ATC Secretariat will support the Committee and minute the proceedings and outcome.
Before a council member can sit on the Ethics Committee, a declaration must be signed to show that the matter has not been pre-judged and that there is no prejudicial interest.
The following are examples of what might lead to a council member being barred from sitting on an Ethics Committee panel.
- A member wishing to sit on the committee, whose company tendered unsuccessfully for a contract, which is the subject of the complaint and has created an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct. Any individual associated with a member company in such a situation will be deemed to have a prejudicial interest in the matter and will, therefore, be barred from sitting on an Ethics Committee panel.
- A member who has expressed an opinion in an open forum; had opinions reported in the media; expressed a view on any media platform (such as a Blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.), will be deemed to have prejudicial interest in the matter and will, therefore, be barred from sitting on an Ethics Committee panel.
- A member who is related to an individual who is subject to the scrutiny of an Ethics Committee hearing will be barred from sitting on the panel.
- An individual, whose company has, in the last 18 months, worked for a company subject to an Ethics Committee hearing, will be barred from sitting on the panel.
- In cases where there may be doubt whether a prejudicial interest exists, the matter will be decided on a majority vote of the full council either in person or via individual email sent to the General Secretary.
A complaint that a breach of the ATC’s Code of Professional Conduct has been committed can be triggered by a fellow member of the ATC, third parties in the profession (individually or as a group) or customers and must be supported by documented evidence sent to the ATC Secretariat.
INITIAL SCRUTINY OF EVIDENCE
Evidence supplied to the Secretariat will be scrutinised by the General Secretary to assess whether there has been a prima facie breach. If that assessment indicates that there is a case to answer, the evidence will be forwarded to the member against whom the complaint has been made and who must acknowledge receipt within 48 hours.
RESPONDING TO EVIDENCE
A member asked to respond to written evidence will have 28 days to do so in writing, or may opt to answer the allegations in person before an Ethics Committee panel.
CIRCULATING EVIDENCE TO THE ETHICS COMMITTEE PANEL MEMBERS
Once a response is received from a member subject to a breach of the Code of Professional Conduct complaint, it will be forwarded within 24 hours to the Ethics Committee panel members. They will be given a fortnight to consider whether there is a case to answer or not. If the panel considers that the matter needs to be heard, the Chair of the panel will instruct the Secretariat to convene a formal hearing to which representatives of the member company will be invited to give oral evidence. A date for the hearing should be fixed within a maximum of 28 days.
REPORTING THE OUTCOME
The panel can determine a case immediately or retire to decide the outcome having heard the oral evidence from representatives of the member subject to the complaint and listened to answers to their questions. Where possible this should be completed on the same day as the panel meets. However, where the panel considers it needs more time to consider its decision, they will be given one week to come to a conclusion, during which time they may only confer among themselves.
The decision of the panel will be provided in writing to the complainant(s) first and circulated one day later to all members of the ATC.
The decision of the panel is final.