The CIPD is attempting to boost the professionalism of the HR industry by strengthening its code of conduct and boosting its complaints and disciplinary procedures to ensure more effective enforcement.
The revised code of professional conduct, which is due to come into force for all Institute members on 1 July, was drawn up by a steering group that included senior members of the profession.
It was based on an extensive consultation and replaces the current code, which will remain in place until 30 June. The new code lays out its requirements for each member’s conduct under four key headings:
- Professional competence and behaviour
- Ethical standards and integrity
- Acting as a representative of the profession
Vicky Wright, chair of the CIPD’s nominations and professional conduct committee and immediate past president, said: “Our new code of professional conduct is an evolution of our existing code. But it also marks a raising of the bar in terms of the maintenance and enforcement of clear, simple, rigorous standards in HR professional practice.”
The new complaints and disciplinary procedures, meanwhile, were “crucial to ensuring that the CIPD has the tools and capacity to maintain and uphold the highest standards in HR practice by its members”, she added.
Designed by members, they differ from former procedures in that investigatory and discplinary activities have now been separated out. “This represents the establishment of modern best-practice self-regulation for the HR profession, and for the greater good,” Wright said.
Under the old procedures, investigations were led by the Institute’s secretary, who would pass cases on to a disciplinary panel drawn from members of the Nominations and Professional Conduct Committee (a subcommitee of the CIPD’s board) if it was deemed necessary.
Under the new procedures, however, two voluntary, member-based ‘pools’ will be set up – an investigation pool (CIPD members only) and a disciplinary pool (members and expert non-members).
If the investigation panel, which will comprise three pool members, determines that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that an individual has breached the Insitute’s code of conduct, their case will be referred to the disciplinary panel, which will likewise comprise three members taken from its respective pool.
If HR professionals are found to have been in breach of the code, they will be subject to as yet unspecified penalties.