Standard Procedures for Program Integrity Matters
CCO’s Program Integrity Team is responsible for ensuring that matters involving program integrity and ethics & discipline are addressed and managed in a timely, efficient, and systematic fashion.
In general, CCO’s Program Integrity Team (PIT) procedures shall be applied so as to treat all parties fairly and equitably, and to ensure that all applicable matters are handled in a constructive, impartial and timely manner.
The following provides a summary of the standard procedures applicable to all Program Integrity matters.
Procedures for New Matters
(A) New Matters
(1) Potential violations/complaints brought to the attention of CCO Staff are forwarded to the PIT for review.
(2) To maximize the PIT’s ability to gather relevant evidence, complaints should be submitted as early as possible. In certain cases, complaints made after 90 days from the date of the incident may be closed with no action, at the discretion of the PIT.
(1) If a matter involving program integrity or ethics & discipline is brought to the attention of the PIT from outside of CCO, an acknowledge of the complaint will be sent.
(2) To the extent possible, CCO will also provide the complainant with notice of the conclusion and general outcome of the process by which the complaint was handled. As reasonably necessary or appropriate, CCO may also provide such notices to other interested parties.
(C) Preliminary Evaluation
(1) New Matters will be discussed at the next scheduled PIT meeting or, in any event, within 30 days of being added as a New Matter.
(2) In appropriate situations, a matter may be closed upon initial review without further action.
(3) If a matter is determined by the PIT to require further action, then a new Case is formally “opened.”
Procedures for the Investigation and Disposition of Cases
(A) Investigation of Cases
(1) The PIT shall be responsible for investigating each Case and for gathering and verifying any and all necessary information to validate each complaint.
(2) When the PIT opens an investigation, in general, the subject will be sent a letter notifying them of the investigation within 10 days of the PIT meeting at which the case is opened.
(3) An investigation report is prepared by the PIT staff, and reports may be discussed at subsequent PIT meetings for any further review that may be necessary. These reports may be utilized to determine further recommendations and/or action. Except where additional time is necessary, reports are generally completed within 60 days of a New Matter being added.
(4) In each Case involving a Practical Examiner, Test Site Coordinator, or Auditor, the PIT shall determine whether or not the program participant’s actions were “willful.”
- A willful violation is defined as “an act done voluntarily with either an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of CCO policies or relevant industry safety or other standards.”
- In the event of a willful violation, in addition to any other sanctions, an individual suspended or sanctioned in any one capacity is automatically suspended or sanctioned in every other capacity in the program; provided, however, that the individual’s certification(s) may or may not be suspended or sanctioned, at the discretion of the Ethics & Discipline Committee.
- In cases involving Practical Examiners, where an examiner’s actions are found to be willful, they will be required to request permission from the appropriate Committee for re-entry into the Practical Examiner Program after expiration of any revocation period. The examiner will be required to appear, either in person or by telephone, at the Committee meeting at which the foregoing request is heard.
(B) Referral of Matters/Cases
(1) As necessary or appropriate, and consistent with CCO’s Decisions/Appeals Process matrix, the PIT may refer matters and/or cases to another appropriate entity for further investigation and/or handling, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Ethics & Discipline Committee
- Practical Exam Audit Committee (PEAC)
- Practical Exam Management Committee(PEMC)
- Test Site Incident Report (TSIR) team
- CCO Legal Department
- CCO Testing Services Department
- CCO Certification Team
- CCO Marketing Department
(2) A matter or case may be referred to another entity in whole or in part, for exclusive or concurrent action, and before or after investigation and review by the PIT, depending on the on the nature of the subject matter and the entity to which the matter or case is referred.
(C) Disposition of Cases
(1) In the case of matters not otherwise referred, decisions regarding the disposition of a Case are made and approved by the PIT. As may be warranted under the circumstances, any members of the PIT previously and personally involved in the underlying subject matter of the Case should generally recuse themselves from the final decision regarding disposition.
(2) At the close of the PIT’s investigation, if a program participant or other person is recommended for disciplinary action, under the authority granted to CCO Staff, the PIT will send an appropriate letter reflecting the action taken and advising the participant or person of the action taken and any applicable rights of appeal. This letter is generally sent within 10 days of the PIT meeting at which the action was taken.
(3) If a program participant is revoked, the participant’s record(s) will be updated accordingly. In addition, the participant will be removed from the Verify CCO Online (VCO) database.
(4) Except in extenuating circumstances where additional time is necessary, investigations are to be completed, decisions shall be reached by the PIT, matters referred to another appropriate entity, and/or the participant or person shall be advised of any action taken and any applicable rights of appeal within 90 days of a New Matter being added. Cases involving suspensions are generally expedited for resolution.
Application of the PIT procedures is subject to considerations of confidentiality, circumstances permitting.
Additional Program Integrity procedures: