THE TRAVELIFE AUDITOR CODE OF CONDUCT
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The Travelife Auditor Code of Conduct sets out the values and principles that must guide the daily work of Travelife auditors. The independence, powers and responsibilities of auditors place high ethical demands on Travelife and the individuals it employs or engages for audit work. Travelife believe that the conduct of auditors should be beyond reproach at all times and in all circumstances.
Any deficiency in the professional and personal conduct of auditors can have serious consequences; the integrity of auditors, Travelife, and the quality and validity of their audit work could be called into question with doubts being raised about the reliability and competence of Travelife itself.
The adoption and application of a code of conduct for Travelife auditors promotes trust and confidence in the auditors and their work. It is of fundamental importance that Travelife is looked upon with credibility. Therefore, all Travelife auditors must observe and comply with the principles and requirements set out in this Code of Conduct.
Integrity is the core value of a Code of Conduct and it can be measured in terms of what is right and just. Auditors have a duty to adhere to high standards of behaviour (e.g. honesty and candidness) in the course of their work and in their relationships with the staff of audited entities. In order to sustain public and private sector confidence, the conduct of auditors should be above suspicion and reproach. It is expected that all Travelife Auditors will: -
Observe both the form and the spirit of auditing and ethical standards
Observe and display the principles of independence and objectivity
Consistently maintain irreproachable standards of professional conduct
Always make decisions with the public interest in mind
Apply absolute honesty in carrying out their work and in handling the resources of Travelife
Independence from the audited entity and other outside interest groups (such as other hotels, hotel chains, tour operators and other related tourism services providers) is indispensable for auditors. It is expected that Travelife Auditors will: -
Always behave in a way that increases, or in no way diminishes, their independence
Strive to be independent of audited entities and other interested groups
Always be objective in dealing with the issues and topics under review
Are independent and impartial, not only in fact but also in appearance
Ensure they do not allow their independence to be impaired by personal or external interests such as external pressure or influence; personal prejudices about individuals, audited entities, projects or programmes; recent previous employment with the audited entity; or personal or financial dealings which might cause conflicts of loyalties or of interests
Refrain from becoming involved in all matters in which they have a vested interest
There is a need for objectivity and impartiality in all work conducted by auditors. Implicit upon accepting and undertaking an audit, the auditor declares that they will act impartially and not allow any commercial, financial or other pressures to compromise their impartiality. In addition, it is expected that Travelife auditors will; -
Produce accurate and objective audit reports
Draw conclusions and opinions that are based exclusively on evidence obtained and assembled in accordance with Travelife's auditing standards and the Auditor's Technical Guide
Make use of information brought forward by the audited entity and other parties. This information is to be taken into account in the opinions expressed by the auditors in an impartial way
Gather information about the views of the audited entity and other parties yet not let the auditor’s own conclusions be influenced by those views
Prior to and during the certification process, the auditor shall not give prescriptive advice to a client in a form and to a level of detail that could compromise its ability to undertake an impartial certification
Avoid providing undue advantage to entities being certified by ensuring that information is not provided to assist tourism service providers strengthen the sustainability of their operations that has not been made available to all other existing and potential clients
Ensure certification evaluations are not undertaken by anyone whose impartiality may be compromised by having provided consultancy to the client.
Auditors must declare any situations that may present them or Travelife with a conflict of interest.
When auditors are permitted to provide advice or services ("Consultancy Services") other than audit to an audited entity, Auditors should ensure that these Consultancy Services do not lead to a conflict of interest.
Under no circumstances is it acceptable that Consultancy Services and auditing services of an audited entity are provided by the same individual.
If Consultancy Services and auditing services are provided by an organisation, this organisation is obliged to establish a clear separation between the Consultancy Services and the auditing services and the individuals engaged to provide such services, and to demonstrate this has been achieved to the satisfaction of Travelife and in compliance with GSTC requirements.
Personal & Professional Relationships
Auditors should avoid all relationships with managers and staff in the audited entity and other parties that may influence, compromise or threaten the ability of auditors to act and be seen to be acting independently.
Auditors should not use their official position for private purposes and should avoid relationships which involve the risk of corruption or which may raise doubts about their objectivity and independence.
Auditors should not use information received in the performance of their duties as a means of securing personal benefit for themselves or for others. Neither should they divulge information that would provide unfair or unreasonable advantage to other individuals or organisations, nor should they use such information as a means for harming others.
Auditors should protect their independence and avoid any possible conflict of interest by refusing gifts or gratuities which could influence or be perceived as influencing their independence and integrity and should at all times act in accordance with Travelife's anti-corruption and anti-bribery policy.
Auditors have a duty to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and to apply high professional standards in carrying out their work to enable them to perform their duties competently and with impartiality including having passed the Travelife training requirements as described in the Agreement. It is expected that Travelife Auditors will: -
Not undertake work they are not competent to perform
Understand and follow applicable auditing, standards, policies, procedures and practices
Possess a good understanding of the constitutional, legal and institutional principles and standards governing the operations of the audited entity
Demonstrate fluency of both written and verbal English
Auditors should exercise due professional care in conducting and supervising the audit and in preparing related reports.
Auditors should use methods and practices of the highest possible quality in their audits.
In the conduct of the audit and the issue of reports, auditors have a duty to adhere to basic and generally accepted auditing standards.
In addition to the training requirements set out in section six, Auditors have a continuous obligation to update and improve the skills required for the discharge of their professional responsibilities.
In order to qualify as a Travelife Auditor a comprehensive training program must be completed. It is required that trainee auditors: -
Attend a 5-day auditor training programme
Successfully complete the Travelife Auditor Assessment
Shadow a minimum of one audit with an Approved Travelife Auditor
Carry out a minimum of one supervised audit, supervised by an Approved Travelife auditor
Receive from Travelife confirmation that the Training Programme has successfully been completed to Travelife's satisfaction and the Auditor is approved
In order to remain a Travelife Auditor it is required that auditors: -
Make all reasonable efforts to attend Travelife online meetings and online training sessions
Watch recordings of online meetings and training sessions that they were not able to attend live
Read all e-mails and other such updates issued by Travelife to auditors
Regularly visit the Travelife website to familiarise themselves with the latest information
Carry out at least one supervised audit every two years, supervised by an Approved Travelife Auditor or a member of the Travelife Certifications, Compliance & Quality Control team
Attend online or in-person refresher training at least once every two years