The Disciplinary Procedures
The Age Friendly Business, International® (AFB®) Code of Professional Responsibility (the Code), which establishes the minimum standards of acceptable professional behavior for individuals who are entitled to use the designation Certified Professional Consultant on Aging® (CPCA®). A CPCA designee's use of the designation is a proclamation to the public that: the CPCA designee is a person to whom members of the public can entrust their affairs with confidence, and who will be true to that trust; the designee will hold inviolate the confidences of the client; and the designee will competently and promptly fulfill all responsibilities owed to the client. In order to maintain high standards of professional conduct, those designees who have demonstrated that they are unable, or are likely to be unable, to discharge their professional responsibilities shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures. Adherence to the Code is mandatory for all CPCA designees and its provisions will be strictly enforced.
The Board of Standards
The AFB Board of Standards (the Board) is an independent panel, of at least three Members, charged with the duty of investigating, reviewing and recommending appropriate action with respect to a CPCA designee's alleged violations of the Code. The Board has original jurisdiction over all such disciplinary matters and procedures. The Board is appointed by the AFB and is paid for time spent in the investigation, review and recommendation processes.
The Board is authorized to:
- Maintain the integrity of the CPCA designation by reviewing and investigating complaints against CPCA designees and, where appropriate, implementing penalties against those designees whose activities have been in contravention of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
- Periodically report to the AFB on the operations of the Board;
- Adopt amendments to the Disciplinary Procedures; and
- Adopt such other rules or procedures as may be necessary or appropriate to govern the internal operations of the Board.
Initiation of a Disciplinary Procedure
The disciplinary process is initiated by the filing of a complaint; anyone may file a complaint against a designee, including another designee, an allied professional, a client, a prospective client or any other third party, including the AFB itself.
The complaint is filed with the Board, concurrent with notification to the AFB. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Board will promptly notify the designee, by courier or registered mail, of the specifics of the complaint and request that the designee reply to the complaint within fifteen (15) days.
At the next meeting of the Board (in person or via teleconference), after the 15 days have elapsed, the Board will determine, in view of the filings, whether the allegations are sufficient to support a possible finding of ethical misconduct. If so, an investigation will be scheduled for the taking of evidence.
At the conclusion of the investigation and fact-finding process:
- If the Board finds that the evidence is insufficient to support the allegations of misconduct, the complaint will be dismissed.
- If the Board finds that the evidence is sufficient to support the allegations of misconduct, the Board shall notify the AFB of the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken. It is the further responsibility of the Board to ensure that the prescribed disciplinary measures have been implemented by the AFB.
In either event, both the complainant and the designee shall be notified, in writing, of the Board's decision and recommendation, at the earliest possible date.
The Investigation and Fact-finding Process
The fact-finding process will be conducted by a Hearing Officer, who shall be a Member of the Board of Standards, appointed by the Board as a whole to assume the role of Hearing Officer on a case-by-case basis.
The Hearing Officer's role is to gather sufficient information (from the complainant, the CPCA designee involved in the complaint, and any relevant third parties) to determine whether there has been a possible violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Information may be gathered by written query and response, email query and response, telephone interview, or face-to-face interview, as is appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Either the complainant or the CPCA designee may request that third parties be involved in the fact-finding process and such request shall be followed up by the Hearing Officer. Where appropriate, the Hearing Officer may re-interview either the complainant or the CPCA designee, or both, to seek clarification or rebuttal of information provided throughout the fact-finding process.
There are no rules of evidence for the fact-finding process.
Throughout the fact-finding process, the Hearing Officer shall report to the other Members of the Board on an ongoing basis and solicit their input with regard to the ongoing investigation.
At the conclusion of the investigation and fact-finding process, the Hearing Officer shall submit to the Board, within ten (10) days, his or her findings of fact and conclusions as to whether there was a violation of the Code. If the Hearing Officer concludes that there was a violation of the Code, he or she should recommend a penalty to be imposed on the CPCA designee.
If the Hearing Officer finds and concludes that there was no violation of the Code, the complaint shall be dismissed and the parties involved in the complaint shall be notified accordingly.
The Board as a whole, after receiving the Hearing Officer's findings, conclusions, and recommendations shall meet (in person or by teleconference, as is appropriate) and make the final determination as to whether there was a violation of the Code by the CPCA designee and the penalty that is to be assessed. Such determination will be made by majority vote of the Board. If a majority decision cannot be obtained it will be the vote of the Board Chair that shall be decisive.
The Board is empowered, in its sole discretion, to impose any of the following terms of discipline upon a designee who has been found guilty of misconduct against the Code of Professional Responsibility:
- Private Censure
In circumstances where it is the determination of the Board that the nature of the designee's misconduct is insufficient to warrant more serious penalty, or if the Board finds that there are mitigating circumstances, the Board may order private censure of a CPCA designee. That form of censure shall be an unpublished written reproach sent by the Board to a censured designee. A copy of the reproach shall also be filed with the AFB, for future reference. The Board, through the AFB, may choose to publish the case on its website without identifying the parties to the complaint.
- Public Censure
The Board may order that a public letter of censure be issued against a CPCA designee, which letter shall be a publishable written reproach of the designee's behavior. The details of such reproach shall be publishable on the AFB website.
The Board may order suspension of the right of the designee to use the CPCA designation for a specific period of time, not to exceed five (5) years, for those individuals it deems can be rehabilitated. In the event of a suspension, it shall be standard procedure to publish the fact of suspension together with identification of the CPCA designee on the AFB website, or in other such form of publicity as is selected by the Board. In some cases, where the Board determines that there are extreme mitigating circumstances, it may decide to withhold public notification. A CPCA designee who receives a suspension for a fixed period may apply for reinstatement immediately on the termination of the suspension.
The Board may order permanent revocation of a CPCA designee's right to use the designation. In the event of a permanent revocation, it shall be standard procedure to publish the fact of the revocation, together with identification of the CPCA designee on the AFB website, or in other such form of publicity as is selected by the Board. In some cases, where the Board determines that there are extreme mitigating circumstances, it may decide to withhold public notification. Revocation shall be permanent.