Ethics & Integrity

APSCA has adopted a Code and Standards of Professional Conduct (“Code”) which establish the expected level of professional conduct by APSCA Members.

Consistent with its mission of increasing the value and effectiveness of independent social compliance audits by enhancing their professionalism and consistency, and the credibility of individuals and organizations performing them, APSCA has the authority to enforce the Code.  This includes disciplining Member Auditors who violate the provision of these documents.  These Disciplinary Procedures (“Disciplinary Procedures”) describe the processes for enforcing the Code with respect to Member Auditors, and the bodies authorized to do so.

Jurisdiction

The Disciplinary Boards oversees the disciplinary process for APSCA.  It is authorized to:

  1. Make rules for the handling of complaints against Members and the discipline of Member Firms and Auditors.
  2. Hear and decide cases involving alleged acts or omissions that violate the Code.
  3. Discipline Members when it determines there has been a violation of the Code.
  4. Take other such actions as is reasonably necessary to ensure an efficient and effective disciplinary system for APSCA.

Members are given 30 days to respond in writing and submit relevant supporting documentation and evidence to be considered by the Disciplinary Board, and shall have the right to appear in person or remotely before the Board.

To the extent feasible, APSCA shall present all matters to the Disciplinary Board in an anonymous format, without disclosing the name of the Member(s) involved.

The standard of review for the Disciplinary Board shall be a preponderance of the evidence, which generally means “more probable than not.”
The Appeals Board may only reverse a decision of the Disciplinary Board if it finds a clear error in the decision.

When the Disciplinary Board has reviewed an allegation that a Member Auditor has violated the Code, it may take any of the following types of actions.

  1. No Action
  2. Written Warning:  A written warning to the Member found to have violated the Code.
  3. Demotion:  A demotion in the Member Auditor’s level.
  4. Suspension:  A suspension of APSCA membership for a period of up to and including one year.
  5. Revocation of APSCA Membership.

The Importance of Paying Attention to Ethics and Integrity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has increased the financial and personal pressures for individual Member Auditors.  This added pressure may increase the temptation to take short cuts and to rationalize some unethical actions.  Therefore, ethics and integrity risks may increase during this difficult period.  It is more important than ever for companies, and for individual auditors, to understand and diligently follow APSCA’s Code and Standards of Professional Conduct.  Companies should monitor compliance, maintain strong oversight and internal controls, understand and address the pressures felt by employees, and continue to hold employees accountable for any misconduct.  

If you have any questions concerning compliance with the APSCA Code and Standards, please contact our Code and Compliance Manager, Carol Rice (carol.rice@theapsca.org).

Conflict of Interest
Members of the Disciplinary Board and the Appeals Board shall recuse themselves from participating in the consideration of any matter where such participation would result in, or give the appearance of, a conflict of interest.  

Disciplinary Action Relating to Misconduct During APSCA Exams
Guidelines for investigations and sanctions of suspected misconduct in connection with APSCA certifications exams are set out in a separate document.  Actions of the President & CEO under these guidelines are not subject to review by the Disciplinary Board or the Appeals Board unless either the President & CEO, or APSCA’s Senior Advisor, Ethics & Integrity, specifically refer the case to the Disciplinary Board for its review and action.

Confidentiality
Unless disclosure is required by a court order or other applicable legal requirements, decisions of the Disciplinary Board and Appeals Board shall be confidential, provided that APSCA may share actions by the Boards with the relevant Member Firm, and may publish on its website and elsewhere information on cases individually and collectively, provided that the name of the Member Auditor or Member Firm involved is not revealed.  

Ethics & Integrity Snapshots

Ethics & Integrity Documents

  • Disciplinary Framework and Procedures
  • Ethics and Integrity Guidance for Member Firms