Accredited Practitioner Register Sanctions Policy
The Accredited Practitioner Register (“Register”) looks to ensure that all registered practitioners on, or Organisational Members of, should at all times comply with their declaration of compliance, the Ethical Basis of Best Practice and defined Professional Standards.
It is important to note that this Sanctions Policy applies to all practitioners or individuals on the Register and as such the same must also be fully aware of the contents of this policy and the possible sanctions application as there is the possibility of a sanctions application against them.
This policy ensures the defined ethics and standards of the Register are maintained by those registered on, or in relation to, the Register.
This Sanctions Policy identifies:
- failure by registered individuals to comply with the declaration of compliance, Ethical Basis of Best Practice and defined Professional Standards of the Register;
- the actions that the Register may take when any such non-compliance arises;
- how the Register shall enforce non-compliance of its policies and procedures and how a breach of the same shall also trigger a breach of defined professional standards.
Approach to Sanctions
Sanctions are punitive actions that can be applied to an individual on the Register or an Organisational Member thereof, and/or threaten the integrity of the Register, act in such a way as to be seen to be in contravention of the conditions of membership, or act in such a way that is perceived to be contrary to public interest.
The decision to apply sanctions will made by the Professional Conduct Review Committee “PCRC” and will be confirmed by the Register’s Advisory Board.
The Register has a range of sanctions that can be imposed on individual or Organisational members depending on the seriousness of the situation, the level and track-record of non-compliance and the risk to the interests of for example service users or clients.
If sanctions are required then they will be applied depending on the nature of the situation. The following non-exhaustive list identifies examples for recommending and imposing sanctions if the individuals on the Register or Organisational Members has:
- outstanding actions;
- poor records to confirm assessment decisions;
- proven collusion or persistent bad marking of assessments;
- an upheld complaint raised against an individual registrant on the Register;
- suspected or proven cases of maladministration/malpractice;
- made certification claims before learners have completed the unit(s)/qualification(s);
- an increased likelihood of an Adverse Effect (e. an act, omission, event, incident or circumstance that gives rise to prejudice to potential or actual learners or adversely affects the ability of the awarding organisation to undertake the development, delivery or award of qualifications in accordance with its Conditions of recognition, standards of the qualifications they are delivering/awarding or public confidence in qualifications);
- refused access to premises and/or records to representatives of the Register or the regulatory authorities;
- breached any requirement contained in their individual or organisational application or approval for the Register;
- repeatedly breached requirements for Register membership.
The purpose of applying sanctions is to:
- to protect public interest and safety in all aspects of the delivery of Equine Facilitated Interactions;
- uphold the credibility and public confidence in the Register
- give time to investigate potential Malpractice and/or Maladministration whilst maintaining integrity;
- protect the business and/or Register
Sanctions that may be imposed:
Should an individual on the Register be found to have committed malpractice then the following sanctions may be imposed on them by the PCRC in accordance with the arrangements outlined in the APR Malpractice and Maladministration Policy and may be communicated to the same by the Register, in line with the following:
- can take anywhere from ten working days from receipt to three months or longer depending on what is being investigated;
- will depend on the nature of the non-compliance and risk to the interests of the Service User/learners;
- can include: (i) an action plan (ii) written warning (iii) greater scrutiny (iv) additional quality assurance visits (at the member’s cost); (v) suspension of registration and/or membership; (vi) increased risk rating (review of procedures); (vii) withdrawal (in full or in part) from the Register (temporarily or permanently);
- appropriate publication of individual details on the Register’s Professional Conduct Notices page on the website
Please note that any additional site visits to either an individual or organisational member of the Register™ shall be at their expense. All fees paid are non-refundable. For more information please see the Athena Herd Foundation Fees and Costs Policy.
Ensuring consistency in our approach
The length of time any of the above sanctions will be imposed will depend on the situation that warranted their introduction.
The Advisory Board and PCRC shall be responsible for regularly reviewing the application and maintenance of sanctions to ensure they continue to be appropriate, consistent and proportionate to the incident(s) and risk of future incidents occurring.
Failure to Meet Payment Terms
The Register reserves its right to withdraw / remove an individual or Organisational member pursuant to the applicable Terms & Conditions, and applicable policies and procedures, including this Sanctions Policy) suspend membership with any individual and/or Organisational Member that fails to meet, inter alia, its payment terms, or is deemed a financial risk. Ultimately any agreement between the same shall be terminated (including where applicable the Terms and Conditions).
An individual must inform the Register of any intention to withdraw their membership. Similarly, any Organisational Member.
Specifically individuals and/or Organisational Members with such intentions must ensure that Service Users are not disadvantaged through such a decision and are supported in finding an alternative service provider. Importantly, withdrawing individuals or Organisational Members must remove any reference to the Register or Athena Herd Foundation and the use of any applicable logos from its websites and literature, including publicity and delivery materials (please see the Athena Herd Foundation Brand Protection Policy, the applicable Terms and Conditions including policies and procedures).
Action will be taken against any individual or Organisational Member displaying a Register logo which has not been approved by the Register which may also include reporting the same to relevant regulatory authorities.
Decisions and the Publication of Findings in respect of Individual Registrants on Accredited Practitioner Register
The Professional Conduct Review Committee (PCRC) is responsible for reviewing any complaints raised by service users or clients in respect of services provided by individual registrants on the Accredited Practitioner Register™.
Any upheld complaints and subsequently agreed sanctions will be published on the Athena Herd Foundation website on the Professional Conduct Notices page. Conditions of publication are defined with the Professional Conduct Review Committee terms of reference and the Professional Conduct Publication Policy.
Notifications to Regulators and other Awarding Organisations
The Register will immediately inform any regulating body of any serious breaches of conditions on the part of any member which it deems may have an adverse effect on the integrity of the register, members of the public, or individual service users.
The Register will immediately inform the Professional Standards Authority and or any other accredited register where required in relation to any such breaches.
Notifications from Regulators and other Awarding Organisations
In cases where the Register is informed of sanctions imposed by, for example, a regulator or another accredited register, the Register will take appropriate action to check current activity, its quality assurance performance to date, undertake a Risk Assessment based on the information provided, and where appropriate, make arrangements to increase the Register’ monitoring processes.
Individuals have the right to appeal against any sanction which has been imposed. Appeals received by the Register will be acknowledged within 5 working days. Full details can be found in the APR Appeals Policy.
Monitoring and Review
An annual report on any cases of sanctions being applied, including those that have been withdrawn, will be made available to the Register’s Advisory Board. The Register will review the policy bi-annually as part of its self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary in response to individual and learner feedback, changes in its practices, advice from the regulatory authorities or external agencies, changes in legislation, or trends identified from previous instances of malpractice or maladministration.
Related Policies and Documents
This document is linked to the following Athena Herd Foundation policies and procedures:
- APR Professional Conduct Review Committee and Professional Standards Notices Policy;
- Where applicable, the Athena Herd Foundation Terms and Conditions;
- APR Appeals Policy;
- APR Maladministration and Malpractice Policy;
- Athena Herd Foundation Whistleblowing Policy.
The Advisory Board reviews this Sanction Policy bi-annually. Please note, however, a review will be carried out more frequently in the event that an issue arises in relation to sanction arrangements and/or in response to individual, service user or regulatory feedback.
|1||JG||Initial Draft||December 2021|
|2||GG||Initial amendments to cover requirements of accredited practitioner register||November 2022|
|3||GG||Update to provide specific detail to support sanctions applicable to registrants||17/02/2023|