Complaints - Professional Conduct

How we proceed with complaints against members and office bearers.

Overview

Engineers Australia has a detailed and regulated process for handling complaints against members and office bearers in accordance with Division 4 of the General Regulations 2013.

Download a copy of the General Regulations 2013 (PDF 645kb)

A complaint to Engineers Australia can only be considered if it relates to a member or office bearer who is alleged to have engaged in unacceptable conduct, has breached the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics, or the Office Bearer Code of Conduct.

'Unacceptable conduct' may include, but is not limited to:

  • a failure to observe one or more requirements of Engineers Australia's By-laws or Code of Ethics
  • a failure to maintain appropriate engineering standards as determined by the Professional Conduct Committee
  • conviction for an indictable offence or another offence that, in the opinion of the Professional Conduct Committee, renders the person unfit to be a member of Engineers Australia or be registered on the NPER, NETR or NEAR
  • conduct, whether an act or omission, that occurs outside the practice of engineering, that would justify a finding by the Professional Conduct Committee that a person is unfit to remain a member of Engineers Australia, an office bearer or to be registered.

Complaints against members of Engineers Australia are handled in accordance with Division 4 of the General Regulations 2013 (regulations 2.26-2.35).

Basis for complaints

If you are dissatisfied with the conduct of a member of Engineers Australia there are a number of steps you can take to try and resolve your concerns.

The first step is to raise your concerns directly with the member and give them an opportunity to explain and/or propose a solution. We encourage you to keep a record of the date of the communication and the outcome. If the matter cannot be resolved, we recommend that you call Engineers Australia to confirm that the person is a member.

If the matter still cannot be resolved and the issue is one which can be investigated by Engineers Australia, you can lodge a complaint.

However, prior to lodging your complaint, you should consider whether in the circumstances there are other avenues for resolving the matter or organisations that may assist, for example:

Legal issues

  • We do not get involved in commercial or personal disputes and do not provide legal advice to the public, you should seek your own independent legal advice.
  • Consider whether you can achieve your desired outcome through taking other more appropriate action, for example via an alternative dispute mechanism such as mediation or arbitration; through direct court action; or via regulator or statutory authorities.

Police and criminal matters

  • Criminal matters such as fraud, misappropriation of money or other non-fraud criminal matters are the responsibility of the police, or other relevant government agency.

Complaints about fees

  • You should consider contacting the fair trading or consumer protection Tribunal in your state or territory to see whether they can deal with your fee dispute.

Making a complaint

Anyone can lodge a complaint against a member of Engineers Australia. All complaints must:

  • be in writing
  • clearly explain the circumstances that gave rise to the complaint
  • provide evidence to support the allegations
  • include all documentation relevant to the allegations;
  • detail any prospective or ongoing tribunal or legal proceedings in relation to the matters raised
  • include the complainant’s full name and contact details (email is preferred).

Complaints should be addressed to either:
Complaints@engineersaustralia.org.au

OR by post to:

Chief Executive Officer
Professional Conduct Complaints
Engineers Australia
11 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600

Please note that lodgement by email is preferred.

Investigating a complaint

Your complaint will generally be acknowledged within 7 to 10 days of receipt. Further information may be requested or you will be advised if Engineers Australia decides that the complaint is not a matter that it can investigate.

If the matter can be investigated by Engineers Australia, your complaint and supporting evidence will be provided to the member for their written response. If you wish the matter to remain confidential, the complaint cannot proceed.

Once the member is given a copy of the complaint, they will have 28 days in which to provide a response. The member’s response will generally be provided to the complainant for further response.

If the complaint still cannot be resolved it will be referred to the Professional Conduct Committee for further consideration, investigation and to make findings.

Professional Conduct Committee

Unless the matter has been resolved in accord with the processes within the General Regulations, including Local Resolution, the matter may proceed for determination by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). The Chair of the PCC will consider whether the matter needs to progress to a hearing or a decision can be made on the documents in existence. Depending on the complexity of the technical aspects of the complaint, or where a site visit is required, an independent expert report may be required by the PCC.

Outcome of a complaint

Where a matter has progressed to the PCC and a decision has been made, the written reasons for the decision will be provided to the complainant and the respondent.

If the Professional Conduct Committee finds that the member did not engage in the conduct complained of, they will dismiss the complaint.

Where it is found by the Professional Conduct Committee that there has been non-compliance by the member, the sanctions are strictly limited to discipline of the member. The complaints process cannot provide any form of compensation or restitution to a complainant.

Sanctions may include a written warning or reprimand, suspension or cancellation of their membership, or removal of the member’s title

If the decision is to uphold the complaint and if sanctions are imposed, the respondent has a right to review.

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