Boat Safety Scheme Quality Assurance Procedure BSSQA006

Procedure for investigation of alleged breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration:   BSSQA006.6 (Apr 2020)

Investigation and determination of complaints against BSS examiners for alleged breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration

A download of a BSSQA006 is available here.

1.0

Introduction

1.1

Complaints concerning alleged breach(es) of the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Examiner Conditions of Registration may arise from a number of sources. Examples include complaints from owners of vessels liable to BSS examinations, or participating Navigation Authorities, members of the marine trade or other BSS Examiners.

Information may also arise as a result of the BSS Quality Assurance arrangements, including performance monitoring.

1.2

Unsubstantiated complaints from one BSS Examiner about another BSS Examiner are handled in accordance with a separate procedure BSSQA021. If at any time evidence is forthcoming to substantiate the Examiner’s complaint, then the investigation will move to within the scope of this procedure.

1.3

The BSS Manager will be responsible for arranging for the appropriate investigation of alleged breaches as soon as practicable and for bringing substantiated complaints to the BSS Management Committee Executive for their determination.

1.4

In the assessment, investigation and determination of any alleged breach of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration the identity of an individual Examiner shall remain confidential within the BSS and to those directly involved in the investigation of the alleged breach, except where disclosure is deemed essential for reasons of public safety.

2.0

Initial Assessment

2.1

At the outset, persons submitting a complaint shall receive an acknowledgement and shall be requested to provide, in writing, as much initial information as possible as to the nature of the complaint.

2.2

If the initial information is of a nature suggesting there might be an immediate risk to persons or property, the BSS Manager may initiate any of the actions mentioned at 3.2 below prior to his initial contact with the Examiner.

2.3

The BSS Manager will assess the initial information and determine what level of investigation, if any, is required.

2.4

The Examiner concerned shall be advised verbally and then in writing of the nature of the complaint and any associated allegations, and shall be invited to provide an initial response to the matters raised without undue delay

2.5

If, after assessment of the initial information there is no apparent evidence of a breach of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration, the complainant and Examiner will be advised in writing that no further or formal action is to be taken by the BSS.

2.6

If, after assessment of the initial complaint and information and the Examiner’s initial response, the BSS Manager decides that any substantiated issues are of a minor nature and are acknowledged by the Examiner as shortcomings, he/she shall give a verbal or written warning to the Examiner as to their future observance of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration.

Where appropriate the BSS Manager shall take any necessary action regarding the continuing validity of a BSS Certification. The matter shall be reported to the BSS Management Committee Executive and the complainant and/or owner of the vessel shall be advised of the decision.

2.7

If, after assessment of the initial information and the Examiner’s initial response, the BSS Manager is of the opinion further investigation is warranted, any of the actions mentioned at 3.0 below may be initiated.  The BSS Manager shall inform the Examiner, complainant, owner of the vessel and any Navigation Authority which has issued a licence (or equivalent) to use the vessel, of the actions taken.

2.8

Where the BSS Manager decides that any substantiated issues arise in a situation where:

 

a) in the opinion of the BSS Manager that continuing, further or additional breaches of the Conditions of Registration are likely to occur; or,

b) the Examiner is in debt to the BSS.

 

Then the BSS Manager shall temporarily suspend the Examiner from participation in the Scheme until such time as that situation is deemed no longer to exist.

 

2.8.1 Any temporary suspension imposed by the BSS Manager shall be reported to the BSS Management Committee Executive to whom the Examiner has an immediate right of appeal.

The Examiner shall be advised that they have a right to attend the BSS Management Committee Executive meeting at which the appeal is to be considered, to be accompanied by a friend, Professional Body Representative, to call witnesses in support of their case, and/or be legally represented.

 

2.8.2 Following consideration of the BSS Manager’s report or following an appeal, the BSS Management Committee Executive may uphold or lift the temporary suspension, or identify the conditions that must be met for the suspension to be lifted.

3.0

Investigation

3.1

If the BSS Manager, having assessed the initial information, decides that the matter warrants further enquiries he/she may, as the circumstances require obtain any relevant evidence, including that in written and photographic form. The objective shall be to establish the facts of the case, in so far as is reasonably possible.

3.2

Where the warranted further enquiries concern allegations of an Examiner’s incorrect compliance decisions, inadequate checking procedures or errors of judgement made regarding BSS Requirements, the BSS Manager may:-

 

3.2.1 commission a BSS Quality Control Assessor to carry out a re-examination of the vessel in question; and/or,

 

3.2.2 commission a BSS Quality Control Assessor to carry out a full investigation into the alleged breach(es).

3.3

If, following an investigation into the facts, the BSS Manager forms the opinion that there appears to be a case to answer, the Examiner shall be provided with a summary of the facts as found to date and invited to provide a response to each allegation in light of that summary, with copies of any documents relied on, within fourteen days.

3.4

If, following any re-examination of a vessel, BSS requirements faults have been found which it is reasonable to believe were present at the time of the issue of any BSS Certification, the Examiner shall be provided with a written Notice of Faults found and invited to provide responses, including copies of their examination records, to the matters raised within fourteen days. 

3.5

The Examiner shall be provided with a reference to the web pages where the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration and these procedures are displayed, and printed copies shall be made available upon request.  Their attention shall be drawn to the actions available to remedy any substantiated allegations.

3.6

Any complainant shall be advised that further enquiries are being made and as far as practicable given an indication of the time likely to be taken to bring the matter to a decision.

3.7

The owner of the vessel in question shall be provided with a copy of any Notice of Faults.

3.8

The BSS Manager shall evaluate the summary of the facts as found to date in light of any response provided by the Examiner and any written Notice of Faults and shall take appropriate actions.  Actions as is necessary in the circumstances may include:-

 

3.8.1 temporary suspension of the Examiner’s authorisation to issue BSS Certifications (pending full consideration of the matter by the BSS Management Committee Executive under the provisions of Para 5.0 below); and/or,

 

3.8.2 where disclosure is deemed essential for reasons of public safety, making known the name of the Examiner, and/or,

 

3.8.3 cancellation of the validity of any BSS Certification issued for the vessel. 

3.9

Where actions involve temporary suspension of the Examiner’s authorisation to issue BSS Certifications the matter shall be reported to the BSS Management Committee Executive to whom the Examiner has an immediate right of appeal.

The Examiner shall be advised that they have a right to attend the BSS Management Committee Executive meeting at which the appeal is to be considered, to be accompanied by a friend, Professional Body Representative, to call witnesses in support of their case, and/or be legally represented.

 

3.9.1 Following consideration of the BSS Manager’s report or following an appeal, the BSS Management Committee Executive may uphold or lift the temporary suspension, or identify the conditions that must be met for the suspension to be lifted.

3.10

Where actions involve making known the name of the Examiner, the BSS Manager shall obtain the prior authorisation from the BSS Management Committee Executive.

3.11

Where actions involve cancellation of the validity of a BSS Certification the complainant, owner of the vessel, any Navigation Authority which has issued any licence (or equivalent) for the vessel to be navigated and the Examiner, shall be advised.

 

3.11.1 A risk assessment may also result in other boat owners who have had their boat examined by the same Examiner being contacted about possible inadequacies in their boat examination.

4.0

Determination by the BSS Manager

4.1

If, after assessment of the established facts there is no apparent evidence of a breach of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration, the Examiner, complainant, owner of the vessel, and Navigation Authority (if relevant) will be advised by the BSS Manager in writing that the complaint is unsubstantiated and that no formal action is to be taken against the Examiner by the BSS.

4.2

If, after investigation and consideration of the Examiner’s response, the BSS Manager decides that any substantiated issues are of a minor nature, and are admitted by the Examiner, he/she shall give a verbal or written warning to the Examiner as to their future observance of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration. Where appropriate the BSS Manager shall take any necessary action regarding the continuing validity of a BSS Certification. The matter shall be reported to the BSS Management Committee Executive and the complainant and/or owner of the vessel shall be advised of the decision.

4.3

Where an investigation and the Examiner’s response to it, indicates substantiated breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration other than of a minor nature, a detailed report shall be produced by the BSS Manager for consideration by the BSS Management Committee Executive.

A copy of this report shall be provided to the Examiner.

 

4.3.1 Before the report is put to the BSS Management Committee Executive for review and determination, the Examiner shall be given a further opportunity to comment and/or provide further written evidence.

4.4

In the event the Examiner has failed to provide any relevant information, paperwork or adequate responses to individual allegations concerning any alleged breaches, or in the event that a BSS Examiner fails to co-operate with the BSS Manager so that they may not be able to investigate the alleged breach further, the BSS Manager shall normally determine their investigations on the basis of any other evidence that has been provided to them.

4.5

When being provided with a copy of any detailed report as mentioned above the Examiner shall be advised that they have a right to attend the BSS Management Committee Executive Case Review hearing at which the report is to be considered, to be accompanied by a friend, Professional Body Representative, to call witnesses in support of their case, and/or be legally represented.

The Examiner shall be reminded of what actions the BSS Management Committee Executive can consider to remedy substantiated issues.

5.0

Determination by the Boat Safety Scheme Management Committee Executive

5.1

The BSS Management Committee Executive shall consider all aspects of the allegations, including any further submissions made by the Examiner in writing or in person at a hearing meeting and make a determination.

The BSS Management Committee Executive may meet in the form of a panel of members. The Panel is constituted from at least two navigation authority members of the BSS Management Committee Executive and one examiner body representative and one user group representative from the non-Executive BSS Management Committee.

5.2

If, after consideration of all the aspects of the allegations, the BSS Management Committee Executive determine that the allegations of a breach of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration are not substantiated, the Examiner, complainant, owner of the vessel, and Navigation Authority (if relevant) will be advised of the determination and that no formal action is to be taken against the Examiner by the BSS.

The BSS Management Committee Executive will aim to reach a determination and recommendation on a unanimous basis.  In the event a majority basis is achieved, the dissenting view will be made known in the report referred to below.

5.3

In the event the Examiner has failed to provide any relevant information, paperwork or adequate responses to individual allegations concerning any alleged breaches, or in the event that a BSS Examiner failed to co-operate with the BSS Manager’s investigation, the BSS Management Committee Executive shall normally arrive at their determination on any other evidence that has been provided to them and shall be entitled to draw conclusions from the evidence on the basis of a balance of probabilities.        

5.4

The BSS Management Committee Executive will report the facts of the case, in anonymised form, to the full BSS Management Committee and outline its determination and recommendation, including any proposed action to remedy any substantiated breach of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration.

In the event a majority decision, the nature of the dissenting view will be made known in the report.

The full BSS Management Committee may comment on matters of consistency in respect of the proposed remedy. The final decision regarding determination and disposal of the case will remain with the BSS Management Committee Executive.

5.5

Action by the BSS Management Committee Executive to remedy substantiated breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration shall include:-

 

5.5.1 permanent withdrawal of the Examiner’s BSS authorisation; or,

 

5.5.2 temporary suspension of the Examiner’s BSS authorisation, with a requirement to undertake   further training and satisfactory completion of a full competence re-assessment; or,

 

5.5.3 temporary suspension of the Examiner’s BSS authorisation pending satisfactory completion of a full or partial competence re-assessment; or,

 

5.5.4 temporary suspension of the Examiners BSS authorisation; or,

 

5.5.5 formal written cautioning of the Examiner with or without a requirement to give an undertaking as to their future observance of all the requirements of the BSS; or,

 

5.5.6 cautioning the Examiner as to the circumstances of their particular shortcomings in the application of the Scheme’s requirements.

5.6

In considering appropriate actions to remedy any substantiated breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration the BSS Management Committee Executive may take into account any actions taken to remedy previous substantiated breaches of the Conditions of Registration.

5.7

In considering appropriate actions and for reasons of wider public safety, in cases of substantiated breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration the BSS Management Committee Executive may:-

 

5.7.1 instruct the BSS Manager to conduct an assessment of the wider risks associated with the findings in relation to the Examiner’s proven shortfall in the application of the BSS Requirements. This may involve disclosure of the name of the Examiner,

 

5.7.2 upon review of the results of the assessment at 5.7.1 the BSS Management Committee Executive may decide to instruct the BSS Manager and/or advise Navigation Authorities to take further necessary actions in the interests of public safety. This may involve wider disclosure of the name of the Examiner,

 

5.7.3 report the outcome to any competent regulatory body to whom the Examiner has responsibilities, such as Gas Safe Register, where the shortfall in performance is relevant to the remit of that regulatory organisation.

6.0

Appeals

6.1

An Examiner shall have the right of appeal against any decision of the BSS Management Committee Executive to remedy breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration. Any such appeal must be made in writing, and within fourteen days of the date of the notification of the Committee’s decisions.

Appeals shall be decided by an independent arbitrator appointed for the purpose by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). The decision of that person will be final and binding on all parties. Appellants shall bear the costs of any unsuccessful appeal process.

6.2

The complainant shall be advised in writing of the decision of the BSS Management Committee Executive after expiration of the period allowed for the lodging of an appeal or completion of the appeal process, whichever is the later.

7.0

Records

7.1

Papers relating to alleged breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration shall be retained for a period as long as the Committee deems necessary, depending on the nature and seriousness of the breach and in accordance with Data Protection Act provisions; and in any case no longer than six years from the date of completion of any investigation or decision of the BSS Management Committee Executive whichever is the later.

- ENDS -

Process details

Doc Ref. No:

BSSQA006

Title:

Procedure for investigation of alleged breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration

Scope:

Investigation and determination of complaints against BSS examiners for alleged breaches of the BSS Examiner Conditions of Registration

Prepared by:

BSSAC working group February 2017

Reviewed by:

BSS Management Committee

Date:

April 2017

Revision:

4 (minor amends in terminology to replace 'Code of Conduct' with 'Conditions of Registration', 'CORGI' with "Gas Safe Register', Certificates with Certification. Sept 2016)

Authorised by:

BSS Executive members on behalf of BSSMC