Code of Ethics and Complaints Process Review
A review of AIG’s Code of Ethics, Complaints and Ethics and Standards processes is nearing completion.
The review of AIG’s Code of Ethics and complaints process was initiated in April 2018. Several, valuable submissions were received from members and considered during review.
Interim results were presented to the AIG Council at it’s recent, annual face to face meeting in Sydney, where several additional questions were raised. Legal advice on these issues is currently being sought. The review will result in changes to the Code of Ethics that will be presented to members for consideration and review by members at an extraordinary general meeting of the Institute by the end of 2018. The changes will be designed to ensure that the Code of Ethics remains a viable set of principles, to support AIG’s role of maintaining demonstrably high standards of professional practice by members.
The revised Complaints and Ethics and Standards processes include a timeline for notification and review of complaints relating to practices of members.
Complaints relating to the professional conduct of AIG members may be lodged by any member of the public. Complaints must be lodged in writing, by email to email@example.com or using the on-line form provided on the AIG website. A description of the complaints process is also available on the website.
Complaints and Ethics and Standards Committees
Procedural fairness for members subject to a complaint is ensured by a two tiered complaints handling process, involving receipt and initial review of each complaint by the Complaints Committee that refers complaints considered to warrant detailed consideration and action by the Ethics and Standards Committee. Disciplinary action against members is recommended by the Ethics and Standards Committee to the Institute Council. Members have the ability of appealing Ethics and Standards decisions to the Council.
The Chairpersons of the Complaints and Ethics and Standards Committees are currently Andrew Waltho FAIG RPGeo and Michael Edwards MAIG RPGeo respectively. The current chairpersons of all Council committees and subcommittees are published in each issue of AIG News.
Advice to Members
Two complaints have been received since the AIG AGM in May.
One complaint is currently being considered by the Ethics and Standards Committee. The second resulted in the member being confidentially advised of an adverse finding in relation to compliance with the JORC Code (2012).
The announcement in which the member was nominated as the Competent Person included the following shortcomings:
- failure to observe the JORC Code’s underlying principles of materiality and transparency by not meeting minimum standards of disclosure for public reporting of mineral resource estimates provided by Table 1 in JORC (2012), including disclosure of information on an “if not, why not” basis.
- Use of JORC as a brand by using “JORC compliant” to describe the mineral resource statement, which is a breach of Clause 6 of the code and highlighted in Clause 6 as being potentially misleading. The words “JORC compliant” must be used to refer to the manner of reporting, not to the estimate.
- Use of inappropriate rounding of the Mineral Resources, in breach of JORC (2012) Clause 25. Reporting of grade and tonnage estimates must not imply unsupported confidence in the estimates that is inconsistent with uncertainty inherent in the estimates, geological interpretation and data on which they are based.
- Use of a competent person statement should follow the form of a statement presented in Appendix 3 of JORC (2012). Neither AIG or AusIMM register Competent Persons (JORC 2012 Clause 9). Competent Persons are Members or Fellows of AIG or AusIMM, or a recognised overseas professional organisation with a minimum of five year’s experience in the activity, commodity and style of information covered by the announcement.
- Use of the term “ore” in describing Mineral Resources, which is a breach of JORC (2012) Clause 28.
- Metal equivalents must not be included in a Resource statement without addressing JORC (2012) Clause 50 which, for polymetallic deposits, requires disclosure of material factors contributing to the net value presented by the metal equivalent.
The issues addressed in the complaint decision refer to JORC (2012) clauses 6, 9, 25, 28 and 50, Appendix 3 and Table 1.
The member was advised to carefully review the announcement in relation to the relevant sections of the JORC Code (2012) to prevent recurrence of the identified shortcomings in future work as a Competent Person and given 14 days to submit an appeal relating to the Ethics and Standards Committee decision.
Review of the nominated sections of the JORC Code by all members acting as Competent Persons is recommended.
Chair, Complaints Committee
The AIG Council has initiated a review of AIG’s Code of Ethics and Complaints / Ethics and Standards disciplinary processes. The review is being conducted with the assistance of a leading, national law firm.
All members agree to comply with the Institute’s Code of Ethics upon joining AIG. The Code sets standards of professional conduct and practice through the code itself, and other standards including the JORC and VALMIN codes that are referenced by it.
The Code of Ethics has been little changed since AIG was formed and has been proved to be a robust and fair set of principals to be followed by members. Minor changes have been introduced on one or two occasions to deal with the impacts of changes to Australian corporate law. AIG’s complaints process was redesigned some years ago to increase procedural fairness for members affected by allegations of poor professional practice. The principal impact of these changes was the separation of the responsibilities for investigating and ruling on complaints with the formation of a Complaints Committee to work in hand with the Institute’s Ethics and Standards Committee. The review will also address changes to the Code of Ethics needed due to the implementation of a revised AIG Constitution in 2016. The recent judgement of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in Ridley v AusIMM provided a catalyst for the review.
Members are invited to submit comments and ideas to be considered during the review. Please submit comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 22nd April, 2018.
The review will be finalised during May. Proposed changes will need to be submitted to AIG members for review and approval.
Maintaining the security of personal computer systems is a constant challenge facing all of us.
Recent, global ransomware attacks that affected a number of businesses around the world area high profile example of what can happen if unauthorised, inappropriate access is obtained to any computer used for professional practice purposes. Members have a professional and ethical responsibility to maintain confidentiality of information that may be commercially sensitive, irrespective of whether you work for a company or are a self employed consultant.
There are many and varied techniques used by people, intent on accessing others’ personal information, data, or simply intent on causing disruption and inconvenience to discuss individually. There are, however, several basic principles that can be followed to help make your computer and data more secure, to prevent unauthorised access, and resilient if your computer is compromised.
- Keep your system software up to date. New security holes are being regularly identified in all computer operating systems. Software vendors are usually very responsive in issuing patches to correct identified problems.
- Use the latest version of your preferred Internet browser. Browser software incorporates security features that form part of your computer’s front-line defence. This has the added attraction of ensuring that your computer remains compatible with web content, which is constantly evolving to use features provided by new standards to enhance the experience of web site users. If you are experiencing a problem reading on-line content or completing on-line forms, chances are you are using a legacy browser that you should consider updating.
- Install and maintain data security software. There are a number of good security software applications, these days usually sold as a subscription service that includes regular, frequently automatic updates to the data used by this software to detect and deal with potentially malicious content.
- Protect your identity. Don’t give your username and passwords for on-line accounts to anyone.
- Don’t open suspicious email attachments. If you aren’t expecting an attachment from someone, delete the email or set it aside and call the sender to help verify that the attachment is safe. Security software installed on your computer will frequently identify malicious content, but there may be a time lag between new threats to your computer being deployed and your security software being updated to recognise them. Avoid executable code in email attachments. This can be embedded in HTML, Office document and Zip archives received as attachments as well as executable files themselves.
- Maintain up to date backups of your computer. Good practice would be to make regular backups, to a disk that can’t be accessed on-line or to a cloud service, or both. The advantage of using a cloud service is that you can access your data if your computer (and back up disks stored with it) is lost or destroyed (e.g. in a flood or fire), allowing you to get back to work quickly and easily. Even if you only use a computer for personal reasons, the loss of family photographs or other material stored on it could be catastrophic.
In Australia, internet service providers are not obliged to report intrusions to their systems resulting in unauthorised access to client data. This is not the case in the USA, Europe and a number of other countries where disclosure can alert Australian users of on-line services to issues.
There are several on-line services that can be used, safely, to check whether your email account has been compromised, which can be a clue to identifying more serious issues where email addresses are used as account names by on-line services. I regularly check https://haveibeenpwned.com to check whether my email address(es) are known to have been compromised.
Finding your email on one of these lists should prompt you to immediately change your password for the affected account.
Unfortunately, these are issues that we all need to deal with in an on-line world. Taking a few simple steps can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your data and on-line identity as safe as practicable.
The list of ideas above isn’t exhaustive. It’s a summary of what I do routinely, day to day, and the measures are not onerous. Do you have any ideas and experiences to share? Add a comment to this post using the form below.
Andrew Waltho FAIG, RPGeo
The VALMIN Committee, in collaboration with its parent bodies (The AusIMM and AIG), will be conducting an extensive program of seminars around Australia, to build industry professionals’ understanding of the VALMIN Code, 2015 Edition.
These important professional development seminars will support the effective implementation of the revised VALMIN Code.
VALMIN 2015 has been updated to complement the changes in the 2012 JORC Code.
The seminars will be a valuable refresher for the experienced practitioner. And for those new to the use of the VALMIN Code, an introduction to the principles and key points to be aware of when preparing a technical or a valuation report.
A hypothetical case study will be presented to Illustrate the application of VALMIN 2015. Opportunities for Q & A sessions will be available at all seminars.
Roadshow workshops are being held in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Refer to the attached brochure for venues, dates and times in each city.
$132 AusIMM & AIG member $220 Non member
$66 AusIMM Map member, AIG unemployed or underemployed member
$66 AusIMM/AIG Student member
The 2015 Edition of the VALMIN Code is available here.
The VALMIN Code (2015 Edition) will be effective from 30 January 2016 and becomes mandatory for AusIMM and AIG members from 1 July 2016.
During the transition period of 30 January to 30 June 2016, Public Reports are able to be published in accordance with either the 2005 or new 2015 Edition of the VALMIN Code –all Public Reports published in this period should clearly state which version of the Code has been applied.
The core purpose and principles of the VALMIN Code remain unchanged, but this new edition includes some important changes:
- Clearer structure and plain-English Code text
- Alignment with the JORC Code (2012 Edition) and other relevant guidelines and laws
- Clarity about the definitions for and roles of VALMIN Practitioners
- Clarity about the types of Public Reports, their development and use
- Guidance on valuation approaches and methodologies
- Increased transparency requirements for Public Reports
- Exclusion of petroleum from the mandatory provisions of the Code (however, the 2015 Edition VALMIN Code provides guidance that can be applied for petroleum valuation reports).To access the VALMIN Code (2015 Edition) and for more information about the changes it introduces, see www.valmin.org.
Compliance with the VALMIN Code is mandatory for AIG members.