PSA OF PANAMA Ethics Committee and Compliance Procedures
This document provides details on the Professional Speaking Association of Panama’s Ethics Committee and Compliance Procedures. These notes should be read in conjunction with the PSA OF PANAMA Code of Conduct. It is the personal responsibility of members of the PSA of PANAMA to familiarize themselves with the Code of Conduct, the information below, and the procedures for dealing with a breach of that code.
1. THE ETHICS COMMITTEE
1.1. Selection of Ethics Committee (Criteria):
The Ethics Committee shall comprise three speakers in addition to the current national vice-president and immediate-past national president.
These members will be selected by the PSA OF PANAMA Board.
The criteria for selection of the three accredited members shall include consideration of the following:
An academic or demonstrated expertise and understanding of
applied ethics to professional and business situations
Be recognized within the membership as a role model of the principles of the Code of Conduct
A demonstrated and recognized understanding of the customary criteria involved in professional speaking relationships, including clients, meeting planners, venue owner/operators, bureaux and other speakers
A demonstrated working knowledge of the copyright laws as appropriate to the speaking profession
1.2. Complaints Against Standing Members of the Ethics Committee
In the event that a complaint is brought against a member of the Committee, that member shall stand aside for the duration of the investigation of that complaint, and such vacancy shall be filled by the next previous past-President.
1.3. Guiding Principles of Process
1.3.1. Core Approach:
The ethics complaints process shall ensure that the parties to a complaint shall be dealt with fairly and in confidence, and in accordance with the Process for Dealing with Breaches of the Code.
1.3.2. Basis for Complaints:
Complaints can only be made regarding breaches of the Code of Conduct of the Professional Speakers Association of Panama. The specific clause of the Code of Conduct must be stated in the complaint. Complaints of a general and unspecific nature will not be considered.
1.3.3. Convening the Committee:
The committee convenes by notification from the committee Chair that a complaint has been lodged with the PSA Secretary, in accordance with the standard procedures for lodging a complaint against a member (or associate) in breach of the Code.
1.3.4. Agreement and Action Process:
In the event that a unanimous agreement cannot be reached by the Committee concerning a complaint and its appropriate disciplinary action, the Committee Chair shall report its considerations to the PSA President for adjudication.
All recommendations of the committee are enacted on, only after final approval by the PSA President.
2. PROCESS AND PROCEDURES
Listed below are details of the process and procedures for dealing with complaints against members for alleged breaches of the Professional Speaking Association of Panama’s Code of Conduct
2.1. A complaint can be made by any associate or member of the association, committee, PSA board, or external person or agency.
2.2. A complaint must be lodged in writing to the National Secretary, and clearly marked "For the Attention of the Ethics Committee". Verbal and anonymous complaints will not be considered
2.3. Complaints must clearly state the clause or clauses of the Professional Speaking Association of Panama’s Code of Conduct that is alleged have been breached.
2.4. The envelope, sealed, will be immediately forwarded to the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
2.5. Upon receipt of the complaint, the chair of the Ethics Committee will advise the President of the name of the member about whom the complaint has been made, the clause of the Code of Conduct which it is alleged has been breached, but not the substance of the complaint. The President will in turn advise the relevant Chapter President of the same information.
2.6. The Chair of the Ethics Committee will, upon receipt of a complaint that meets the above criteria/process, will forward a copy of the complaint to the other members of the Ethics Committee. Note: No contact is to be made at this stage with the speaker allegedly in breach of the code by the Chair, any member of the committee, or the association President.
2.7. The Chair of Ethics Committee will contact the complainant and ascertain whether an attempt has been made to resolve the issue prior to the complaint being formally lodged.
2.8. If the complainant wishes to proceed with the complaint, the Chair of the committee will
a. call the speaker allegedly in breach of the code, and advise of the complaint,
b. send a copy of the complaint to that member and ask for a written response within two weeks of the date of the letter. Note: The name of the complainant will not be revealed in this letter.
2.9. In the interests of justice, prior to a response being received, the Chair of the Committee will make no contact with any person except the President, regarding the complaint or the people involved.
2.10. When a response to the complaint has been received, a copy will be sent to the other members of the Ethics Committee. No other person shall at this stage have access to any documentation relating to the complaint and the matter will remain confidential.
2.11. Within two weeks, or as soon as practicable, the Committee shall meet in person or by teleconference to discuss the complaint and response if received. At this meeting, the committee may delegate to one or more of its members the task of making direct inquires with either of the parties or other people, in order to ascertain the accuracy and credibility of claims made by either of the parties to the complaint.
2.12. Within one month the Ethics Committee will again meet to consider possible courses of action.
2.13. If the committee is satisfied that a decision can be made at this point, it will forward its recommendation to the President for ratification. Once ratified, the committee will, via the Secretary, forward the recommendation to the member and offer him/her the opportunity to accept the decision or meet with the Committee and where appropriate, the complainant.
2.14. The Secretary will also advise the complainant of the decision and course of action recommended.
Note: Courses of Action recommended by the committee may include (but are not limited to) the following:
Mediation between the complainant and the member in alleged breach of the Code
An official warning"with appropriate recommendations of actions to remedy the breach
Cancellation of accredited membership with Professional Speaking Association of Panama and cessation of all benefits associated with membership
2.15. When the matter is finalized, the Ethics Committee will prepare a written summary of the complaint, in objective terms and without identification of any party by name or chapter, either direct or implied, for publication on the website. This will raise awareness among the members of the nature of ethics complaints and the process of dealing with them.
2.17. Once the recommendations of the Ethics Committee are ratified by the President, they shall be final and no appeal permitted otherwise than would be available in accordance with applicable law.
This process is subject to change by the Board and cannot be varied in any way by the Ethics Committee or any other person or group without the approval of the Board.
If a change is made by the Board during the course of a complaint, no member involved in that complaint process can be penalized or in any way suffer detriment as a result of that change which would not otherwise have occurred.
Changes shall not apply retrospectively.