The Management Committee has appointed a number of individuals for a Professional Practices Panel, each from outside the profession and appointed on the basis of their experience of EU institutions and affairs. The members of the Professional Practices Panel are professionals of high reputation and extensive experience of EU institutions such as former Members of the European Parliament, former Commission officials, academics, or members of Brussels think-tanks, NGOs or business.
In the event of a complaint to EPACA that the Code has been breached by a member consultancy, the Management Committee shall appoint a disciplinary panel consisting of three persons, drawn as necessary from the Professional Practices Panel. The Management Committee may exceptionally decide by a two thirds majority that the complaint does not warrant investigation by the Professional Practices Panel. In making its decision, the committee shall exclude from its proceedings any member(s) who work(s) for or represent(s) the consultancy against which the complaint has been made. The Management Committee shall make a referral to the panel within 30 days of the alleged breach being notified. The consultancy which is alleged to have breached the code has the right to meet with the Management Committee before a decision is taken on whether to refer the matter to the Professional Practices Panel.
The disciplinary panel shall report its findings to the Management Committee within 30 days of receiving the referral. In the course of its inquiries, the panel shall meet - or seek to meet - with the complainant and a representative of the member consultancy alleged to have breached the Code.
If the panel rules that the Code has been breached, it shall recommend that the Management Committee:
- reprimand the member consultancy and warn as to its future conduct, or
- suspend the member consultancy for a specific period, or
- expel the member consultancy indefinitely.
Any sanction taken by the committee against a member consultancy shall require the support of at least three quarters of votes cast. The member consultancy shall be informed in writing of the management committee’s decision. That decision and the panel’s report shall be made available to the public.