Disciplinary Committee hearing on 05 February 2015

IOSH member not named

The Disciplinary Committee considered the case of an IOSH member who admitted a breach of Code point 1.4 in the IOSH Code of Conduct. This Code point requires members to avoid conflicts of interest wherever possible and if one arises promptly take appropriate steps to manage it.

The member was the managing director of a training company. At the relevant time the company was an accredited centre for health and safety examinations of a particular awarding body. The member registered as a candidate to sit one of those examinations at his own company’s centre.  He thus had had two apparent interests, one professional and one personal, which the complainant perceived and indeed the public could perceive to be in conflict. The member had a professional interest as managing director in maintaining the integrity of all examinations held at his company’s centre in order to retain accreditation. He also had a personal interest in passing the examination he sat there.

The member could have sat the examination at a different centre that he did not control and could thus have avoided any conflict of interests. The apparent conflict arose one week before the date of the examination, when he registered to sit the examination at his own company’s centre. The member could then have promptly taken steps to manage the apparent conflict appropriately by, for example, arranging for an external independent third party, with whom he had no previous connection, to act as invigilator for that examination.

The person scheduled to be the invigilator for the examination was an employee of the member’s company, his wife. The member said that it was only when he arrived to sit the examination that he realised it was inappropriate for him as ‘head of centre’ to be in the same room as the other candidates. The member then asked a longstanding acquaintance, whom he had previously employed, to attend and be his invigilator for the examination, which he sat separated from the other candidates.

IOSH did not allege any examination malpractice by the member. He allowed his own integrity to be undermined by the situation he placed himself in. The Disciplinary Committee thanked the member for attending the hearing. It accepted from him that he had no intention to derive a financial benefit from his actions. Nevertheless his conduct had fallen well short of the expectations of both IOSH and the Disciplinary Committee. It therefore determined that it was proportionate to impose a Reprimand as a penalty. It also ordered the member to contribute £250 towards the costs of IOSH. 

Finally the Disciplinary Committee ordered publication of its decision without naming the member who breached Code point 1.4 as, in all the circumstances, it did not consider this necessary. Publication on this occasion is firstly to demonstrate enforcement of standards. Secondly it is to educate other members on avoiding conflicts of interest and managing any that arise appropriately