Endorsing measures, but not accredited for them?

Posted on : Friday, 23 July 2021

... Expect an audit ...

 

Between January and mid-July, 2021, FPA Australia received thirty-one (31) complaints about Fire Safety Assessors and Fire Systems Designers. 

 

Of these, eight complaints resulted in an investigation audit.   Two of these practitioners had their accreditation suspended.  


By far the most common complaint received by FPA Australia involves Accredited Practitioners (Fire Safety) endorsing essential fire safety measures (EFSMs) on Annual Fire Safety Statements without holding the correct accreditation.  


In one case, a practitioner attended various sites and endorsed EFSMs for which they weren't accredited at the time.   A final copy of the Annual Fire Safety Statements for these sites was submitted with the complaint, showing conclusively that the work had been carried out before the practitioner was accredited for the relevant measures. 

 

Activities such as these pose a risk to clients and the building occupants, because the practitioner has not demonstrated appropriate knowledge and experience to complete the regulated work and (perhaps more importantly) is unlikely to be covered by an insurer if something were to go wrong.  

 

In this situation, the practitioner was the subject of an Investigation Audit, which meant that FPA Australia: 

 

  • examined the regulated work the individual had completed since becoming accredited; 
  • reviewed evidence of the practitioner's prior experience to ensure that they were eligible to apply for accreditation.  


As a result of the audit, FPA Australia was satisfied by the evidence and determined that further action was required.  

 

A Show Cause Notice was issued to the practitioner detailing the investigation's findings, giving them 14 days to respond to all of the information considered by the auditor.  

 

The practitioner was also able to consider the likely penality identified by FPA Australia and suggest actions that they thought might be suitable to resolve the complaint as an alternative.  


Once a response was received from the practitioner, the case was reviewed by FPA Australia's Case Management Committee, a panel of FPA Australia staff who review and decide upon outcomes in accordance with the Disciplinary Framework.  Their decision was supported by FPA Australia's Chief Operating Officer. 

 

As a result, the Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) was issued a Notice of Decision suspending their accreditation for six months for the EFSMs they endorsed when not accredited.  


FPA Australia has developed dynamic processes to ensure complaints and audits are sufficiently investigated, while giving procedural fairness to the subjects of the audit. 

 

Accredited practitioners must comply with the Code of Practice, and with all relevant laws, legislation, and codes at all times while accredited.  A failure to do so may result in penalties.  

 

For more  information on how FPA Australia manages the compliance of accredited individuals, visit our website here.