Discipline and complaints

Complaints Procedure

As a professional Association representing its members, there may be occasions where complaints are made against the Association, its officials, staff or members, or agents working for and on behalf of the Association.

If any such complaint is made then it must be accompanied by sufficient details to identify the complainant and include a contact name and address. On receiving such a complaint, the CFOA Business Director shall respond within seven working days notifying the complainant that either it is a matter that falls outside the remit of the procedure or that a preliminary investigation will be undertaken into the nature of the complaint.

The CFOA Business Director shall determine whether the complaint relates to one of CFOA’s members and also whether they were acting in a CFOA capacity. If this is not the case then this will be explained to the complainant and the complaint closed. This would not preclude any internal investigation if it was found that the conduct of a member of the Association was in contravention of the Association’s Code of Conduct.

If the complaint is made against the CFOA Business Director it shall immediately be forwarded to the President of the Association who shall direct a Board Member to action the complaint as if they were acting as the CFOA Business Director.

The CFOA Business Director will inform the Presidential Team of the Association (excluding any member of the team against whom a complaint is made) on receipt of a complaint and act in consultation with a nominated member of the Presidential Team throughout the complaints procedure.

There may be occasions where a complaint is made anonymously. If such a complaint is received, the CFOA Business Director shall make all reasonable efforts to establish the substantive nature of the complaint and the scope of the complaint. The CFOA Business Director shall determine whether the complaint should be investigated and whether any action needs to be taken. The CFOA Business Director will make a report to the next meeting of Board.

On receiving a complaint the CFOA Business Director of the Association shall appoint an investigation team comprising of two members of the Association who are not involved in the complaint.

The investigation team shall investigate the complaint and shall seek to report back to the CFOA Business Director within one month of being notified of the complaint. The accused member should be advised of the nature of the complaint and the investigation. The report produced shall either recommend the complaint be dismissed, a panel is convened to hear the complaint or that an alternative course of action is pursued.

In the event that the investigation team recommend that the complaint is to be dismissed the CFOA Business Director shall advise the complainant why no action is to be taken.

If the complaint is to be heard, the CFOA Business Director shall establish a Complaints Hearing and shall nominate three members from the Association who are not involved in the complaint or investigation to hear the complaint.

In the event of the investigation team recommending an alternative course of action, the CFOA Business Director shall discuss this with the President of the Association and consider an alternative course of action to be put to the Board of the Association.

In the event of the complainant being dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint, they will be eligible to lodge a written appeal to the Appeals Committee of the Association. The same appeals process as outlined in the Disciplinary Procedure below would then apply.

Any decision by the Appeals Committee is final and there is no further appeal process.

Updated: September 2008

Discipline Procedure

If the Board of the Association are of the opinion that the conduct of any member of the Association is in breach of the Association’s Code of Conduct or if, in the interests of the Association, there may be grounds for a member’s expulsion, suspension or censure then the CFOA Business Director shall make such enquiry as is deemed appropriate.

The Board of the Association may, if they think fit, temporarily suspend the member from membership of the Association pending such enquiries as aforesaid.

The Board of the Association may for the purpose of exercising its disciplinary powers:

  • set up a Disciplinary Committee to conduct the enquiry and to make a recommendation to the Board based on its findings; and
  • set up an Appeals Committee to hear any appeal by the member concerned of the Board’s disciplinary decision; and
  • issue regulations from time to time to regulate the procedure of such Committees and to determine their constitution and the manner in which the disciplinary process shall be conducted with a view to giving the member concerned a fair hearing and to take other actions as shall be thought by the Board to be desirable.

The above Committees shall be formed by appointment by the Board of the Association from among the Members of the Association provided always that no Member may serve concurrently on more than one such Committee. Subject to any such regulations made by the Board of the Association, such Committees may regulate their own procedure.

Fourteen days or such extended term of notice of the enquiry as may be deemed reasonable, shall be given to any member whose expulsion, suspension or censure is under consideration, and such notice shall contain a statement of the matters and allegations giving rise to such enquiry; and such member shall be invited to attend before the Disciplinary Committee to give an explanation of their conduct and to answer the charge or charges made against them.

If three-quarters of the members present at a meeting of the Board of the Association do find on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee good reason for the expulsion of the member and vote accordingly, the Board shall notify the member that their membership of the Association has been terminated.

If three-quarters of the members present at a meeting of the Board of the Association, on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee, do find sufficient reason to suspend or censure the member an entry shall be made in the minutes and shall indicate the period and conditions of suspension or censure in the terms agreed by the Board.

A member who is expelled, suspended or censured may give notice of appeal against the Board's decision by giving notice in writing to the CFOA Business Director within twenty-eight days of being notified of this decision and the appeal shall thereafter be heard by the Appeals Committee. A member, on appeal, may submit any additional evidence considered appropriate to the case. On the recommendation of the Appeals Committee, the Board may confirm, rescind or vary their previous decision in the matter.

Any decision by the Appeals Committee is final and there is no further appeal process.

The Board may at their discretion take such steps to inform the members of the Association of their decisions upon disciplinary matters as they may deem fit.

Updated: September 2008