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Code of Conduct

Responsible Trades Australia Ltd

1st January, 2022

Background
Responsible Trades Australia Ltd (RTA) is committed to becoming the Peak Industry Body and a clear voice for all service providers and skilled tradespeople Australia-wide. To that end, this Code of Conduct (the Code) represents a founding principle of our mission, which is as follows.

Our mission
To provide a highly informed, progressive association, attracting Members who are committed to the ideals and reality of plain English contracts and ethical compliance with regulation and social norms.

Purpose
The Code is designed to assist Members to:

  • set and achieve higher standards than ‘then-current’ consumer protection regulations
  • clearly define each Member’s role and responsibilities within their business operations, along with their obligations to each customer    
  • build a culture of best practice for all Members
  • build on each Member’s reputation as a trusted, skilled, and responsible service provider.

Application of the Code
The Code was supported and passed unanimously by the Board after extensive consultation by the Industry Best Practice Committee with Members and is effective from 1 JANUARY 2022.
A Member is required to apply the Code to their operation no later than three (3) months from being accepted as a Member of RTA under the Constitution.
Full membership is subject to production of a Compliance Certificate.

Definitions
The following words have special meanings:

  • ‘NCC’ means the National Construction Code.
  • ‘Board’ or ‘the Board’ means the Board of Directors of the RTA.
  • ‘Code’ or ‘the Code’ means the Responsible Trades Australia Code of Conduct.
  • ‘Constitution’ means the Responsible Trades Australia Constitution.
  • ‘DRC’ means the Responsible Trades Australia Dispute Resolution Committee.
  • ‘Member’ or ‘Members’ means a fully paid Member of Responsible Trades Australia.
  • ‘RTA’ means Responsible Trades Australia.
  • ‘Us’, ‘we’, or ‘our’ means a Member of Responsible Trades Australia.

Governance
The Board is responsible for the administration of the Code. The Code may be periodically amended upon recommendation to the Board by the Industry Best Practice Committee.
Members will receive written notice of any amendments and will be required to demonstrate compliance within twelve (12) months of receiving notice.
The Code does not replace nor intend to replace any statutory requirements, licensing requirements, or building regulation as required by each Local Government office, state or territory, or as referenced in the NCC or any applicable law. If any part of the Code is in contravention of any of these, a Member will adopt the applicable law and without being in breach of the Code.

Review of the Code
The Code will be reviewed at least every two (2) years; or, as required where it is apparent that a review needs to take place either by a change in the laws or regulatory regime; or as proposed by a Member to the Industry Best Practice Committee.

Publication and Amendments
The Code and any amendments will be published on the RTA website at rtal.org.au and the website of participating Members.

Compliance Certificate
This refers to an Audit Certificate produced by a recognised external audit firm.

Breaches of the Code
Any person or organisation may report breaches they believe in good faith to have been committed by a Member by writing to the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) at:  committee@rtal.org.au
All reported breaches will be treated in the strictest confidence by the DRC and a response will be issued to the complainant within thirty (30) days with any findings and remedied where applicable.
All Members are required to cooperate in any investigation by the DRC, which is appointed and acts in response to a reported potential breach. Where a Member refuses to cooperate, this will be seen as a breach of the Code.
The remedies available to the DRC where a breach of the Code is substantiated will include suspension of membership until either an investigation is completed and a determination made, or remedies have been made to comply with the Code. For severe cases, a recommendation may be made to the Board to terminate membership.

Audit
Members will commit to an initial audit of compliance with the Code by a recognised external auditing firm and provide an Audit Compliance Certificate to RTA as part of the application for RTA membership. All Members will be required to attest to compliance annually as part of the membership renewal process. To retain membership, all Members must also submit an audit compliance certificate supplied by a recognised external audit firm every three (3) years. Any breaches of the Code by a Member that are deemed significant as uncovered in any audit will result in an immediate suspension of membership until the breaches are remedied to the satisfaction of the external auditor.

Obligations under the Code
Each Member must abide by the Code by adopting the following standards:

  • Comply with current legislation
    Ensure all Members comply with any applicable law or current legislation (Local, State, Territory and National), governing their trade or industry sector.
  • Skilled and knowledgeable
    All Members must demonstrate competency in their trade or service provided, verified by an accredited source.
  • Trained and competent staff
    Ensure that dealings between consumers and the Member are handled respectfully, by trained and competent staff who are able to assist consumers to resolve any issues that may arise.
  • Licensed and registered
    Where licensing or formal registration is required to operate in your region, all Members must hold current certificates to demonstrate proof of current registration or license.
  • Insurance
    All members must hold current insurances, including personal indemnity, to fully protect each employee/contractor and workplace site against any financial risk.
  • Police Check
    All Members must agree to undergoing a Police Check to demonstrate proof of good character.
  • Our selling techniques
    Members will conduct all sales activity and outreach to customers in a professional manner, including all advertising and marketing activity.

Caring for the vulnerable
We will take particular care with vulnerable people in our community who have:
•    some form of impairment
•    experienced family or domestic violence
•    been a victim of financial abuse
•    suffered serious mental or physical illness.
However, we will only be able to support consumers if they tell us about their circumstances.
When informed by a consumer, we will ensure our staff act respectfully and confidentially to work with the consumer on the best method to transact with us.

Privacy
Members will meet all requirements under the Privacy Act to protect customer data and personal information.
Each Member must adhere to a privacy policy which is published and available on the Members’ website.

Communicating with consumers
Make staff available to consumers by publishing business hours on the Members’ website and provide multiple methods that consumers may use to contact Members. Telephone number/s and address details to be listed and readily available.

Complaint resolution
Members must have an internal dispute resolution process that complies with the law and regulatory guidelines as published by ASIC.

Special consideration: PANDEMICS or STATE OF EMERGENCIES
Ensure that we operate in a safe and responsible manner and abide by the medical advice issued by the relevant federal health officials as at the time we may transact with you.
We recognise that the outcomes of pandemics or a state of emergency may place some consumers at risk of hardship, and we will look to work with consumers should they indicate that their livelihood has been negatively affected.

We recognise that Member businesses may also be affected, regarding their capacity to either supply or complete agreed works. Early communication with customers is expected.

If you would like to be emailed a copy of the RTA Code of Conduct, please use this request form and a copy will be sent to you.

Responsible Trades Australia

Helping Australian Independent Contractors and Consumers

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