Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct (hereinafter referred to as “Code”) lays down the standards of confidentiality, integrity and professionalism which all members of International Institute of Certified Forensics Investigation Professionals (hereinafter referred to either as IICFIP or as “the Institute”) shall adhere to in the course of their professional engagements; while dealing with the Institute and other members of the Institute. This Code is applicable to all members of the Institute whether they are full time or part time practitioners of the profession of forensic investigation or are involved in occupation other than the practice of the profession of forensic investigation (hereinafter referred to as “Members.”) This Code is also applicable to students pursuing a program for the award of Certification by the Institute or such other programs where the Institute is involved as an academic partner or as a knowledge partner. However, in the case of students, only such portions of the Code shall be applicable as are not expressly addressed to holders of IICFIP Certification credentials.
2. Maintain Integrity of the Profession
Integrity establishes trust. Integrity also means and includes fairness in professional dealings and truthfulness. It represents the manner in which professional services are offered to clients and employers. Unflinching adherence to the principles of integrity and fairness is expected in all circumstances; particularly when opportunities arise where interpreting evidence in different ways can lead to presenting the case in different, often conflicting ways. Members shall document and maintain sufficient background notes and archive all the material on which they arrived at the professional judgment; whether it is likely to be challenged or not.
Members shall not use any inside information to which they are privy by virtue of their professional relationship with the client or employer. No member shall use any inside information to be the basis of any action initiated or supported by such member; irrespective of whether such actions result in benefits accruing to such members or not.
Where, in the course of professional association with the client or employer, a Member is of the opinion that there is real or potential weakness in any control system and such weakness has come to light in the course of the engagement, the Member is expected to bring such control weakness to the attention of the client even if such a process is not envisaged in the engagement brief.
No Member shall take any action that brings discredit to the Institute.
Members of the Institute shall maintain total confidentiality in respect of all information that comes to their possession during and as part of the professional engagement with clients or with their employers.
This obligation of confidentiality continues even after completion of their professional engagement or employment for such periods of time as may be signified in the agreement governing the engagement or employment. Where no such term is signified in the agreement or if no formal agreement exists defining the relationship between the Member and Client or Employer, the period of confidentiality will be governed by the laws applicable to the jurisdiction governing the relationship between the Member and the Client and /or Employer.
The requirement under this clause is not limited to maintaining the information in a stage of confidentiality but extends to the requirement that any information that Members come to know of, shall not be used for the benefit of a Member, a related party or any third party to whom such information is disclosed by the Member directly or indirectly. For the purposes of this clause, “related party” shall have the same meaning as found in an appropriate statute applicable to the jurisdiction governing the relationship between the Member and the Client and /or Employer.
Every member shall also ensure that the requirement of confidentiality as contained herein shall be abided by all third parties with whom the Member has necessary and sufficient reasons to discuss client or employer related matters that is being handled by the Member, as part of a professional engagement. Members shall ensure this through an appropriate, legally enforceable agreement with such third parties.
Members acting as Officers of the Institute shall not disclose any information relating to the affairs of the Institute, to unauthorized parties. Exception to this rule shall be on a case-to-case basis. Information covered by this clause includes, but it is not limited to, information regarding the testing process of any individual applying for certification or recertification. A member in his Official Capacity may be in breach of confidentiality provision regardless of means of communication: verbally, by email or any other means.
Members may disclose confidential information under the following circumstances:
a. Where such disclosure is authorized by the client or the employer, as the case may be, provided the Member has taken sufficient care to ensure that such authorization is bona fide and appropriate under the circumstances
b. Disclosure is pursuant to an obligation cast by a statute or an order, generic or specific, passed under a statute by a person of competent jurisdiction
c. Required by a court of competent jurisdiction
Where a disclosure is so made in keeping with the above requirements, Members shall consider the following before effecting the disclosure:
a. The disclosure shall clearly demarcate the nature of the information being disclosed – facts as gathered and validated; facts whose veracity cannot be validated; substantiated and unsubstantiated opinions; professional judgment; etc.
b. The principle of “minimum disclosure” shall be followed by the Member and what is disclosed shall be the minimum to meet the requirements that is forcing the disclosure
c. Members shall promptly notify their clients and / or employers when information related to them are the subject matter of such disclosure
d. If the client or employer decides to contest the order or process requiring such disclosure of confidential information in a court or a quasi-judicial forum, the Member shall provide such assistance to the client or employer as may be required of a professional in possession of information relating to third parties.
e. Members shall actively consider taking a professional legal opinion before effecting the disclosure.
Members must exhibit highest level of professional objectivity in gathering, evaluating and drawing conclusions based on the evidence available and its interpretation. Members must ensure that their professional actions, as an investigator, shall be devoid of any prejudices and is not influenced by personal opinions and bias. Members shall also ensure that they are not succumbing to pressures or influences in the course of executing their role as a professional investigator.
Members must recognize that it is not only required of them to be objective in their approach to their professional engagements but must also appear to be objective. In view of this, reasonableness should prevail in identifying circumstances and relationships that are likely to, or appear to, impair a member's objectivity. An inability to uphold one or more of the fundamental principles in this Code of Conduct would indicate a lack of objectivity.
Members should not engage in any business, occupation or other activity which impairs or might be perceived to impair their objectivity in carrying out their professional responsibilities to the client or employer. They should advise their employers or clients of all forms of interests if they believe that it may result in a conflict of interest situation. Members are to make a formal declaration of possible conflicts of interest. There may be circumstances where a declaration of conflict of interest may not be sufficient to remove the perception of lack of objectivity in the relationship between the Member and the Client or employer. If a Member perceives such a situation, the Member must not accept that engagement or employment.
Members shall determine the competencies and resources required for each engagement and shall not accept any engagement for which they are not competent and / or for the execution of which, they do not have sufficient resources. All members accepting assignments shall imply a moral undertaking of conformity with due professional care and diligence in the performance of their roles. They need to apply appropriate knowledge, skills and competencies in all services that they perform.
The maintenance of professional competence requires a continuing awareness of developments in the forensic investigation and audit profession including relevant national and international pronouncements on accounting, forensic auditing and other relevant regulations and statutory requirements. Members are encouraged to demonstrate this by participation in the Institute's CPD programme. In order to maintain their membership in good standing, 48 Continuous Professional Education (CPE) or Continuous Personal Development (CPD) points are required every year, of every professional member. Professional members are all holders of CFIP or FCFIP credential of the Institute unless such a member is generally or specifically exempt from the requirements of annual CPE / CPD requirements. As the Institute grows and offers other certification credentials, this clause will apply to holders of all those credentials also unless expressly exempt or a revised set of CPE / CPD requirement is announced for those credentials.
Members should be aware of the risks to their own and the Institute's reputation from incompetent work. Members should ensure that they meet statutory requirements, investigation, legal and auditing standards, wherever applicable even if such standards or requirements are not expressly referenced in the charter of engagement or appointment letter. Where the Institute has issued any practice guidelines, they must be followed while executing professional engagements. It is possible that on a specific engagement, there may be circumstances that may not permit following of such practice guidelines either fully or in part. In such cases, Members must record the reasons for deviation in writing with appropriate supporting documentation and this should be available for as long as the working papers of that engagement are required to be maintained.
Members are strongly encouraged to make use of the Institute’s network of affiliated academic institutions of higher learning to further their academic credential in Forensic Investigation, auditing, criminology, law, and forensic accounting. A member who receives a post graduate degree from a recognized degree awarding institution in the afore-mentioned areas, is exempted from CPE or CPD filings for three years.
Members shall not misrepresent their certification, training and experience to any party. Mutual support and cooperation among members is essential to maintaining strength, effectiveness and vitality of IICFIP. Members shall assist each other, whenever possible and as circumstances permit. Members must defend the core values and promote the objectives of IICFIP, advocate and support development of standards for practice, review and endorse academic training & certification programs and develop and promote enforceable ethical framework for professional practitioners.
6. Proper Conduct
Members must not engage in conduct, whether in pursuit of their profession or otherwise, which would discredit, be prejudicial to or likely to diminish public confidence in them in their professional capacity, or the forensic investigation profession in general or the Institute. They should promote the fundamental ethical principles through leadership and example.
A member who has evidence of professional misconduct by another member, should take necessary steps to protect the public, the profession, the Institute, the employer, and the other member. Before taking any action, a member should establish the facts and any report of misconduct must be honest and sustainable. The member observing such misconduct shall report the same to the Institute.
If a member reportedly breaks the law, this diminishes public confidence. The severity and nature of the offence would have to be taken into account by the Institute in determining the disciplinary action that may follow.
Proper conduct also encompasses personal behaviour. Members should conduct themselves with courtesy and consideration towards all with whom they come into contact during the course of performing their work.
7. Advertisement and Logo use
Members can advertise their professional forensic investigation services or skills in a manner that can be perceived as informative but not discrediting other members’ services whether they be members of the Institute or not. A member may place advertisement when: -
a. Seeking staff, a partnership or salaried employment;
b. Acting on behalf of a client;
c. Informing the general public or a section of it about the services they offer without indicating prices or competitors’ weaknesses; and
d. Informing the general public or a section of it upon the opening of a new office, changes in partners, and contacts of the firm.
All members of the Institute are allowed to display the Institute Logo on all their business documents in such a manger that will not indicate that the member is a partner or director of the Institute. The logo must always be accompanied by “www.iicfip.org” so that any person receiving the business document can, if so desired, access the website of the Institute.
Members may be listed in any directory provided that the listing follows the advertisement guidelines or principles stated above.
Professional Literature produced by members must be in accordance with good professional taste. Literature describing services rendered and technical literature may be distributed to clients or to other practicing forensic investigators/auditors. It may be sent to non-clients, on request.
8. Description and Designatory Letters
A member may use the appropriate designatory letters at all times and describe himself/herself as a “Certified Forensic Investigation Professional” or descriptive of such other certification credential offered by the Institute, as the case may be. In this connection the designatory letters of the Institute, as of now are CFIP; DFIP; or CACC. Members who have been conferred the Fellow Status of the institute can use the designatory letters FCFIP.
Members admitted to the IICFIP on the basis of their membership of recognized overseas professional investigation or accounting Bodies or are otherwise members of such other professional bodies, are allowed to use the designatory letters of such bodies in addition to those of the Institute.
A practice in which all partners are members of the appropriate category of the Institute may be described as “Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals” or “Certified Digital Forensics Professionals” or “Certified Ant-Corruption Consultants’’ as the case may be. Where a practice is so described, no additional words of any description may be used.
A member who holds a national or service honour or academic degree awarded by degree-granting institutions duly recognized by the laws of the territory where such institutions are incorporated (e.g. B.Sc., MBA, MA., Ph.D., and Dip. etc.) is entitled to use the appropriate designatory letters after his/her name in addition to the IICFIP professional designations. In this case the IICFIP designations should be displayed first.
However, such degree letters will not be necessary or appropriate in signing reports of investigation but may be used in business communications.
Name-plates and sign-boards should only contain the name of the firm followed by the words “Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals” or “Certified Digital Forensics Professionals” or “Certified Ant-Corruption Consultants”as the case may be.
There is no restriction on Corporate Practice as an unlimited or limited liability company, except where such corporate practice of the profession is prohibited by the Law. All shares in such practice must be beneficially held by Fellows or Associate members of the Institute. A member in corporate practice is subject to the same ethical and other requirements as a member practicing as an individual.
Member practicing as an incorporated consulting company whose liabilities are limited will be individually liable for negligence in the execution of their engagements without any restrictions on the quantum of such liability.
9. Penalty for Breach
All the members who knowingly or intentionally violate any provisions of this Code of Conduct will be subjected to appropriate disciplinary action. The Institute, on receipt of a complaint of violation of the Code or suo moto, shall initiate disciplinary proceedings. The Institute shall, as a first step, send to the member whose action is deemed to be in violation of this Code, a notice asking why action should not be taken against the said Member for violation of the Code. On receipt of a response from the Member or in the absence of a response within reasonable time, the matter will be referred to a Disciplinary and Disputes Committee.
The Institute’s Disciplinary and Disputes Committee shall be chaired by the Global Chair and the following shall be ex-officio members: The President and CEO and all Continental Directors. The Committee may unanimously decide to include such other person(s) as additional members of the Committee and such additional members shall have the same rights, privileges and obligations as other members of the Committee. Where the complaint of non-conformity to the Code is against any member of the Disciplinary and Dispute Committee, such member shall not participate in the proceedings of the committee in so far as such proceedings relate to the complaint against the said member. This shall not vitiate other actions of the Committee where such member was present and participated in arriving at any decision.
The Committee will, on examination of the complaint and the response received from the member against whom the compliant had been lodged and after considering such evidentiary materials that may be relevant, record its findings and recommendations. These shall be sent to the Global Board of IICFIP for further action based on the recommendation. The Committee is not restrained in terms of the nature of recommendation that it can make to be Board so long as such recommendation is not inconsistent with the legal provisions of the jurisdiction of the residence of the member in question. The Global Board, on receipt of recommendation from the Committee shall act to enforce the recommendations made by the Committee. Where the Global Board is of the opinion that the recommendation of the Committee is inconsistent with the nature and gravity of the compliant, it may refer the matter back to the Committee for re-consideration indicating the reasons for asking that the recommendation be re-considered. The Committee shall review the reference from the Board and decide if a re-review is warranted and if so, carry out such re-review of the matter and send its final recommendation to the Board. The Board shall deliberate the final recommendation of the Committee and decide to act on the recommendations, with or without such modification as it may decide provided it gives in writing the reasons for any deviation from the recommendations of the Committee. During any stage of this process, the member against whom the complaint is being investigated has the right to present facts and adduce evidence to the Committee in defence of his / her action.
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