Rules for disciplinary complaints & sanctions

Version: May 2017
1.
DEFINITIONS
1.1.
The terms in these rules shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them as stated in the Global Network Group (GNG) list of terms and definitions.
2.
NAME
2.1.
These regulations bear the following name:
2.1.1. Rules for complaints and disciplinary sanctions Global Network Group.
3.
OBJECTIVES
3.1.
The objectives of these rules and regulations are:
3.1.1. To promote and maintain the quality of action and behavior of the practitioners, in the broadest sense, as well as describe a procedure which deals with the settlement of complaints against practitioners submitted by practitioners, non-practitioners or licensed bodies.
4.
APPLICABLE TO
4.1.
These regulations are applicable to all practitioners.
4.2.
Complainants can be:
4.2.1. Natural persons
4.2.2. Legal persons | entities
4.2.3. (Non) practitioners
4.2.4. Governments
4.2.5. The economic sector and professional organizations / bodies when their status is shown from the valid statutes of the company concerned
4.2.6. Global Network Group it self
5.
COMPLAINT STAGES
5.1.
The procedure consists of five stages, namely:
5.1.1. Stage 1: pre-audit / routing / settlement by GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP management
5.1.2. Stage 2 A: handling the complaint by the practitioner
5.1.3. Stage 2 B: handling the complaint by the complaints mediator
5.1.4. Stage 3: Handling the complaint by the complaints committee
5.1.5. Stage 4: Handling the appeal lodged by the ICC Council
6.
FILING A COMPLAINT
6.1.
The complaint needs to be lodged online by using the official complaint form.
6.2.
The complaint cannot be lodged anonymously.
6.3.
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP records the date of receipt of the complaint and acknowledges its receipt to the complainant via email.
7.
COMPLAINT QUALIFICATION
7.1.
A complaint qualifies when received in good order, in time and when complete.
8.
STAGE 1: PRE-AUDIT/ROUTING/SETTLEMENT BY GNG MANAGEMENT
8.1.
When the compliant is received, the GNG management executes a pre-audit .
8.2.
The GNG management decides within 2 months after receiving the complaint as follows:
8.2.1. The complaint is rejected
8.2.2. The complaint will be subject of an internal investigation
8.2.3. Amicable disciplinary settlement is agreed on
8.2.4. The complaint will be handled including complaint stage 2 A or 2 B
8.2.5. The complaint will be handled excluding complaint stage 2 A or 2 B
8.3.
The GNG management motivates its decision and communicate in written with the complainant and practitioner.
8.4.
The management decision cannot be appealed.
9.
STAGE 2 A: HANDLING BY THE PRACTITIONER
9.1.
Complainant as well as respondent can request to skip phase 2 A. For this a well-motivated request should be filed per email. GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP decides on the request. There is no right of appeal with regard to this decision.
9.2.
The practitioner is bound to do his/her utmost in order to find an amicable way of solving the case. GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP decides on the timetable.
9.3.
The outcome is reported by email to GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP.
10.
STAGE 2 B: APPOINTMENT AND DUTIES OF THE COMPLAINTS MEDIATOR
10.1.
Complainant as well as respondent can request to skip phase 2 B. For this a well-motivated request should be filed per email. GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP decides on the request. There is no right of appeal with regard to this decision.
10.2
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP appoints a complaints mediator within two calendar months of the management decision and forwards a copy of the file to the complaints mediator.
10.3.
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP promptly acknowledges the appointment of the complaints mediator in writing to both complainant and respondent.
10.4.
The complaints mediator, having due regard to the principle of hearing both sides of the argument, has the duty to investigate whether the complaint can be settled to the satisfaction of all parties involved. The procedure of the complaints mediator is without let. The complaints mediator will document in writing his chosen procedure and the results obtained. The complaints mediator reports to GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP in writing, intermediate upon request, but in any case directly after the completion of his/her duties.
10.5.
The complaints mediator will be able to perform his duties within three calendar months after the appointment. This period can be extended by three calendar months twice.
10.6.
If the complaints mediator succeeds in resolving the complaint, the settlement will be recorded in writing and confirmed to GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP and the parties involved. No notice of objection can be lodged against a settlement.
10.7.
If the complaints mediator does not succeed in resolving the complaint, the assignment will be handed back to GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP. The complaints mediator will confirm the termination of the assignment in writing to GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP and the parties.
11.
STAGE 3: APPOINTMENT AND DUTIES OF THE COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE
11.1.
ICC COUNCIL appoints a complaints committee within two calendar months of the management decision or the mediator’s notification of non-success.
11.2.
The complaints committee will comprise at least three members. ICC COUNCIL will make sure the complaints committee is composed in a well-balanced, impartial and professional way.
11.3.
The complaints committee appoints a chairman and a secretary from among its members.
11.4.
ICC COUNCIL selects the chairman. The chairman of the complaints committee will preferably be a lawyer.
11.5.
Complainant and respondent have to nominate themselves a member of the complaint committee. Both have the right to object against each other's candidate(s). After three objections made by one-and-same party the chairman of the complaint committee decides on the nomination.
11.6.
The complaints mediator cannot serve in the complaints committee unless otherwise agreed upon by the complainant(s) and practitioner(s).
11.7.
The complaints committee hears the complaint having due regard to the principle of hearing both sides of the argument. Both the complainant and the respondent are given the opportunity to explain their respective positions as well as take note of the each other’s positions. Both parties will be invited to attend a hearing by the complaints committee on a date set by this committee in order to provide the committee with further information and give an oral explanation to the committee.
11.8.
The complaints committee will take a decision by a simple majority of votes. The complaint can only be dealt with by the entire complaints committee. The complaints committee can decide, contrary to what is stipulated in 11.7. of these rules and regulations, that when there are grounds for doing so it can suffice to give a written explanation by the parties and to renounce a hearing.
11.9.
The complaints committee will render a written decision within six months after its appointment. This period can be extended twice for three months each. An extension will be reported in writing to ICC COUNCIL, GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP and both parties.
11.10.
The complaints committee will send its ruling to ICC COUNCIL, GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP and both parties.
11.11.
An appeal can be brought against the ruling of the complaints committee by the Quality Standards Committee. An appeal needs to be instigated within six calendar weeks after the date of the committee’s ruling. An appeal can only be instigated in writing by email.
12.
STAGE 4: APPOINTMENT AND DUTIES OF ICC COUNCIL
12.1.
ICC Council or its sub or regional council is authorized and will not be appointed separately.
12.2.
ICC Council will hear the objection within the normal meeting schedule. No further terms are needed.
12.3.
ICC Council will hear the objection having due regard to the principle of hearing both sides of the argument. Both the complainant and the practitioner are given the opportunity to explain their respective positions as well as take note of the each other’s positions by ICC Council. Both parties will be invited to attend a hearing by ICC Council on a date set by ICC Council in order to provide the committee with further information and give an oral explanation.
12.4.
ICC Council will take a decision by a simple majority of votes. ICC Council decide, contrary to what is stipulated in 12.4. of these regulations, that when there are grounds for doing so it can suffice to give a written explanation by the parties and to renounce a hearing.
12.5.
During the handling of the objection, the execution of the ruling of the complaints committee will be sustained unaffected by the right of GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP to take and enforce interim sanctions which can be equal to the main and/or additional sanctions as formulated by the complaints committee. ICC Council will deliver a decision in writing and will inform its ruling to both parties as well as to GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP.
12.6.
The ruling of the Quality Standards Committee cannot be opposed.
13.
TESTING
13.1.
The Action of the respondent will exclusively be tested against the applicable code of conduct and the requirements.
14.
SUSPENSION OF THE HEARING AND CONVERGENCE
14.1.
Global Network Group, complaints mediator, complaints committee and ICC Council have the right to suspend the arbitration in order to await the outcome or verdict of another authority and to take this into consideration with their arbitration.
14.2.
Global Network Group, complaints mediator, complaints committee and ICC Council have the right to suspend arbitration if according to them an undesired convergence of procedures arises which will have or can have an adverse influence on the arbitration of the complaint and/or the progress of other procedures or can cause damage to parties.
14.3.
A request for suspension can be lodged by both the complainant as well as the respondent. A decision to suspend arbitration will be announced in writing to both complainant and respondent.
14.4.
It is not possible to appeal against a decision to suspension.
14.5.
When a practitioner is also registered or certified by another organization, Global Network Group, complaints mediator, complaints committee and ICC Council can decide to deal with the complaint at the same time or to hand it over to the other organization.
15.
COSTS
15.1.
Global Network Group does not charge a fee for the complaint handling.
15.2.
Should it be necessary to make costs for external locations, distance (kilometers), advisors, experts, in order to hear the complaint, both parties need to give their prior consent and the costs resulting from this will be charged to both parties at cost price.
15.3.
In exceptional cases, to be determined by GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP, costs can be charged to 1 individual party, or be mitigated.
15.4.
If the complainant withdraws his complaint, all costs will be charged to the complainant.
15.5.
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP is authorized to ask for a deposit or guarantee from the complainant, the respondent or from both parties before hearing the complaint, to cover the costs which will be made.
15.6.
If a complaint will be lodged by or on behalf of a practitioner and consequently becomes a complaint between practitioners, the costs will be divided on a pro rata basis unless otherwise decided between both parties. The practitioner in question will be automatically suspended in case of complete and/or partial non-performance.
16.
CHALLENGE
16.1.
The management of Global Network Group and ICC Council cannot be challenged.
16.2.
The complaints mediator and the entire complaints committee or its individual members can be challenged by both parties. For this end, a request for challenge should be lodged by GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP.
16.3.
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP takes a decision within three calendar months after the request for challenge has been lodged.
16.4.
During the handling of the request for challenge, other time limits with regards to treatment, as referred to in these rules and regulations will be suspended and resumed directly after this decision has been taken.
16.5.
No grounds for challenge are:
16.5.1. Being a GNG registered of certified practitioner
16.5.2. Being active within the scope of the complaint
16.5.3. Being a member of or associated with a branch or professional organization when the status is shown from the valid statutes of the organization concerned.
17.
CONFIDENTIALITY
17.1.
Global Network Group, complaints mediator, complaints committee and ICC Council have an obligation of secrecy with regard to all information, facts and circumstances which they are familiar with from their duties based on these rules and regulations, except for the ruling as meant in article 22.
18.
NON-CONFORMITIES
18.1.
At the request of both parties it is possible to deviate from the stipulated periods in the rules and regulations. To do this a request should be lodged by GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP.
18.2.
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP decides about meant request and will inform both parties by return post of the taken decision.
18.3.
The complainant can withdraw the complaint at all times, unaffected by the provisions of article 15.4. of these rules and regulations.
18.4.
Every natural person, this expressly includes practitioners, can be appointed by GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP as complaints mediator or as member of the complaints committee.
19.
INADMISSIBLE
19.1.
If the complaint does not concern a practitioner or does not relate to the personal conduct and behavior of the practitioner, of if the complainant has no substantial interest related to a ruling, GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP will declare the complaint inadmissible.
19.2.
The complaint committee and ICC Council can declare the complaint inadmissible based on the declared under 6, 7 and 8 of these rules and regulations.
19.3.
A complaint against a branch or professional organization is inadmissible. The present scheme does not provide for corporate rules for complaints and disciplinary action.
19.4.
When there is no case GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP can make recommendations to the respondent and/or complainant. This can include referring to an authorized agency.
20.
RULING
20.1.
The complaints committee will render a decision.
20.2.
The rules and regulations distinguish four types of decision, namely:
20.2.1. The complaint is inadmissible
20.2.2. The complaint is unfounded
20.2.3. The complaint is manifestly unfounded
20.2.4. The complaint is well-founded.
20.3.
The complaints committee is not obliged to reveal the internal voting proportions.
20.4.
The complaints committee is obliged to motivate its ruling in writing.
20.5.
If the complainant does not cooperate in carrying out these regulations or otherwise hinders the complaints committee from carrying out its duties, the committee is entitled to break off the hearing as well as declare the complaint manifestly unfounded.
20.6.
If the accused does not cooperate in carrying out these regulations or otherwise hinders the complaints committee from carrying out its duties, the committee is entitled to rule mid-term, declare the complaint well-founded and determine measures.
20.7.If the complaints committee declares the complaint well-founded the committee is obliged to determine a sanction.
21.
SANCTIONS
21.1.
If the complaints committee declares the complaint well-founded the committee will proceed to determine a sanction.
21.2.
The rules and regulations distinguish six main sanctions, namely:
21.2.1. No measure because of special circumstances
21.2.2. Caution
21.2.3. Written reprimand
21.2.4. Written reprimand with a notification to the branch and/or professional organization with which the practitioner is affiliated.
21.2.5. Suspension of the certification for a fixed term with a maximum of one calendar year per suspension.
21.2.6. Confiscation of the certification
21.3.
If the complaints committee declares the complaint well-founded, the committee can proceed to determine not only the main measure but also an additional sanction or additional sanctions. An additional sanction can have the purpose to guide the conduct and behavior of a practitioner or serve a higher purpose of the professional organization.
22.
ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS
22.1.
The rules and regulations distinguish three additional sanctions, namely:
22.1.1. Determining further conditions to the continuation of the current certification.
22.1.2. Determining further conditions to (re)certification.
22.1.3. Excluding of re-certification or re-entry-qualification
22.1.4. Making the ruling public.
23.
ARCHIVE AND INFORMATION
23.1.
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP is in charge of registering all documents (the archive) which are linked to these regulations and its execution. This also includes all files of complaints.
23.2.
The archive mentioned in article 8.1 is not accessible for third parties and non-practitioners.
23.3.
GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP will make a statement in its annual report of the number of complaints lodged , the decisions made and the sanctions that were imposed. The report is anonymous except for making it public as meant in article 22.
24.
FINAL CLAUSES
24.1.
Liability. GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP does not accept any liability whatsoever for actions and/or behavior resulting from this document. GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP emphatically denies liability of any kind.
24.2.
Authority. GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP is authorized to set and alter this code.
24.3.
Confidentiality. GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP, its management, its committees as well as individual committee members are obliged to keep their knowledge of practitioners and/or third parties, information regarding companies, agencies, and any organizations and/or persons about which they have information as a result of their role within GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP strictly confidential. Any breach of confidentiality is grounds for the removal of the person from his/her position and if they are practitioner's grounds for examination of compatibility with the code of conduct and the standing rules regulating complaints and disciplinary action.
24.4.
Disputes. Should a dispute occur because this code does not or does not adequately cover a situation, GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP is authorized without prejudice to the provisions of the articles of association to leave no stone unturned to alter the statutes of GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP. If the GLOBAL NETWORK GROUP does not settle the dispute, the dispute will be subject to mediation. If mediation is not successful, the dispute will be brought before a Dutch court.
24.5.
Multilingual. In cases where more than one language is in use, English will be the language of choice.
24.6.
Law. This code shall be governed by Dutch law only.