Below is a list of frequently asked questions by members of CIAT as to whether a complaint has been or could be raised against them:
A claim may be made against me with regards to a project I have been working on, and my clients have also advised that they may raise a complaint against me. What do I do?
If you are running a CIAT Registered Practice, you should consider both of the following courses of action:
Notify your professional indemnity insurer in relation to any potential claim.
Notify CIAT as your professional body of a potential complaint.
(Clause 8a) of the Code of Conduct requires you to report to the Institute any alleged breaches of the Code by themselves of which they become aware.)
Clause 8a) of the Code of Conduct requires you to notify the Institute of any alleged breaches of which they are made aware. You should contact the Practice Department and advise them in order to ensure a note may be placed on your file. Should the complaint materialise, you will be contacted and given the opportunity to respond to the complaint. We also advise that you use your best endeavours to assist in the investigation.
CIAT is under an obligation to investigate any and all complaints made against its members in an impartial manner. This practice preserves the reputation of the Institute and its members by giving confidence to the public that they have some form of redress following any wrongdoing. Members are advised to use their best endeavours to assist in the investigation of the complaint to prove ethical conduct.
CIAT is under an obligation to impartially assess and investigate any and all complaints that are raised against its members. If you do have a complaint raised against you, you are advised to use your best endeavours to assist in the investigation of the complaint, and provide as much evidence as possible to assist the Conduct Committee with this investigation in order that they make a fair assessment – (for example, this could a timeline). Cooperation is key to the Conduct Committee arriving at a clear determination.
CIAT is required to follow due process and investigate every complaint that it is presented with, and this process is transparent in that it provides a member who is the subject of a complaint to respond to the allegations that have been made against them. If a complaint is raised against the member of the Institute, this does not affect their membership of CIAT in any way, as the individual remains a member of the Institute during the investigation of the complaint.
CIAT has to be impartial, and we are therefore unable to assist in advising the member as to how to respond to the complaint that has been raised against them.
CIAT does not charge any fees for administering a complaint that has been raised against them. If a complaint is raised against you, it does not affect your membership with the Institute in any way.
All members have a duty of care towards anyone relying on their professional conduct. It is therefore irrelevant if they are a client or not. If they deem that your behaviour has been unprofessional and breaches the Code of Conduct, CIAT is under a duty to investigate it, You should cooperate with the investigation and provide as much substantial evidence as necessary to prove your case.
I have already resolved the matter with my client. Do you still have to follow the complaint through?
CIAT is under an obligation to investigate any alleged complaint brought against a member that falls within the grounds of an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct. Unless the complainant rescinds the allegation, or information is provided which CIAT deems contravenes its Code, it has to be seen through to its conclusion.
Yes. The Complaints Process is not a legal proceeding and has no bearing on any other allegations brought in tandem with a complaint. CIAT Conduct Committee's directive is to scrutinise whether or not a member is in breach of the Code of Conduct.
If you are a member of CIAT, you are bound by its Code of Conduct, regardless of your state of employment. If you have become bankrupt or your practice goes into liquidation or insolvency, you are required to notify the Institute as per Clause 9 of the Code of Conduct. You should familiarise yourself with the Institute's Bankruptcy and Insolvency Information Note to assist you in dissolving the company whilst protecting the public and yourself and ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct.
If you are a member of CIAT and a complaint has been raised against you, we are under an obligation to investigate any complaint brought against a member that falls within the grounds of an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct. This is regardless as to whether you are a sole practitioner, one of several equity directors/partners/or principals of a practice or an employee of a practice – if a complaint is raised against you whilst you are a member of this Institute, we have to follow due process in order to resolve the issues raised in the complaint.
I am a member based outside of the UK. What is the process in dealing with a complaint for members who are based overseas?
The complaints' process for members based in the UK and overseas is the same. The only thing to bear in mind is that members and complainants who reside overseas are given 35 days to respond to a complaint or provide additional information as requested.
Once you have been through the stages and a complaint has been heard by the Conduct Committee, it may mean that it has been decided that a disciplinary sanction commensurate with the severity of the breach is issued. This could range from a reprimand to expulsion from the Institute. You are advised to use your best endeavours to cooperate with the sanction and any advice issued to you.
Disciplinary sanctions that the Conduct Committee can impose are below. These sanctions will be published on the Institute's website and these sanctions will remain on the website for the following periods:
Reprimands – six months
Exclusion – for the length of the exclusion period plus six months
Expulsion – five years
If you do not agree with the decision or decisions that have been made by the Conduct Committee following the Conduct Hearing, you may submit an application to Appeal against these. The process is run by Construction Industry Council (CIC) and is independent of CIAT. Further information on this process can be found here.
This means that the disciplinary sanction issued against you stands and you will have to accept the decision. Any decision reached is carefully considered with the Institute's obligations to protect the public in mind. Once the period to submit an application to appeal has passed, the Conduct Committee's decision is published in the Institute's publication AT Journal and on our website.