Panel Membership and Operation paper
Terms of Reference
Functions of the Panel
- The Regulatory Centre for Irish Sign Language Interpreters Ireland CLG has been established for the purpose of maintaining the Register of Irish Sign Language Interpreters (RISLI), a voluntary, national, professional register. A person who wishes to provide Irish Sign Language interpretation for a court or public body in Ireland must have their competence verified as having been accredited by RISLI. This is referred to in the Irish Sign Language Act of 2017.
- A Panel has been appointed to RISLI, which carries out the role of decision-maker in relation to all relevant matters connected with the Register. This paper contains information regarding the functions of the Panel, its duties and obligations, its terms of reference and membership criteria.
- The Panel is responsible for:
- ensuring that RISLI bye-laws are established and updated when the Panel deems appropriate;
- maintaining the register of Irish Sign Language interpreters;
- defining and setting entry requirements and standards for registration and requirements to maintain registration;
- formally recognising education and training programmes for the purposes of registration and its maintenance;
- setting criteria for the selection and registration of individual assessments for Irish Sign Language interpreters, as required; and
- specifying standards of practice for registered Irish Sign Language interpreters including the establishment, publication, maintenance and review of —
- appropriate guidance on all matters related to professional conduct and ethics for registered Irish Sign Language interpreters;
- appropriate guidance on the maintenance of the professional competence of registered Irish Sign Language interpreters;
- a Code of Conduct for registered Irish Sign Language interpreters;
- maintaining the Code of Conduct for registered Irish Sign Language interpreters and other policies, codes or documents relating to matters including the ethics and professionalism of registered interpreters;
- giving guidance to registered Irish Sign Language interpreters on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and evidence of work practice requirements;
- setting fees for entry to and / or retention on the register, if the Panel considers it appropriate;
- monitoring and reviewing quality standards, policies and practices.
Panel Duties and Obligations
- Members of the Panel serve on a voluntary basis and are requested to devote as much time as is necessary for the proper and efficient discharge of their duties.
- Members may be nominated to serve on Sub-Committees or sub-groups, to be established by the Panel as required.
- Members are obliged to comply with the relevant provisions of the Code of Conduct for Panel Members.
- While there is no remuneration for the position, members can claim travel and subsistence allowances, which will be paid in respect of necessary journeys undertaken to attend meetings or to transact its business. This will be in accordance with approved public sector rates.
- Most communication between Panel Members will be by electronic means. Members must be willing to accept communications through electronic means. Equal respect will be given to the use of Irish Sign Language (ISL)/English and ISL/English interpretation will be provided where required.
- Members shall not, unless authorised by the Panel or required by law so to do, disclose confidential information obtained by him or her in his or her capacity, or while performing duties, as member of the Panel. Members should abide by the confidentiality policy as set out below and be mindful of the circumstances where information shall be disclosed as outlined below.
- The Panel will act with autonomy and independence in the best interest of RISLI. All decisions in relation to the operation of the Register will be made by the Panel.
- A Chairperson will be appointed by the members of the Panel. If no Chair is in attendance for a particular meeting the Panel Members will elect a member from within the Panel Members present to act as Chair for that meeting.
- Decisions will be primarily made by consensus, or on the casting vote of the Panel Chairperson. In circumstances where a consensus cannot be reached, a vote may take place with the decision of the Panel made by way of simple voting majority (50% plus one). In the event of a tied vote, the Chairperson shall have a second or casting vote.
- The Panel can change and amend its own policies and procedures by a majority vote at a Panel meeting. Any such changes must be included in the Annual Panel Report for publication on the website (www.risli.ie) by the Secretariat (See Section 1.6.5), as well as communicated to registrants where necessary and implemented in the online versions of the policies and procedures at the earliest instance.
- Outside supports, such as legal and other advice, may be accessed by the Panel as required.
- The Panel may sit in Sub-Committees as deemed necessary, to perform any function specified by the Panel.
Meetings & Reporting Mechanisms
- Meetings will take place as necessary. It is expected that the Panel would meet at least four times a year. Minutes of each meeting of the Panel will be prepared.
- A quorum for the purposes of a Panel meeting shall be 50% of appointed members plus one.
- Panel Members should endeavour to attend all Panel meetings, and all meetings of Sub-Committees of which they are a member. If a member misses three consecutive meetings, their membership of the Panel/Sub-Committee may be revoked by the Panel, at their discretion, with the member concerned abstaining from the meeting where any such decision is being considered.
- There may be circumstances in which members are unable to attend a meeting, in which case they should send their apologies as soon as possible to the relevant Chairperson and/or the Secretariat of the meeting of the Panel or Sub-Committee.
- The Company Secretary or a Director will provide updated Annual Reports in writing, as prepared by the Secretariat, for submission to the Companies Registration Office where necessary, and for publication on the RISLI website (risli.ie). Annual Reports to be published on the RISLI website may include some or all of the following:
- general information in relation to the Register;
- names of those accepted onto the Register;
- policies, procedures, and any changes thereto;
- Panel Members are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards in their role, standards are contained within the Code of Conduct for Panel Members.
- Panel Members should bear in mind due to the manner of their role, even when they consider themselves to be working in a private capacity, or for another organisation, they should be mindful of their conduct.
- Any breach of the Code of Conduct for Panel Members may result in action being taken against the Panel Member, including, but not limited to ceasing their membership of the Panel/Sub-Committees.
- A Panel Member must act in a manner which is consistent with the aims and interests of Panel, and shall seek to enhance its reputation.
The Secretariat will provide administrative and operational support to the Panel. This includes, but is not limited to, the drafting of the Agenda of the Panel meetings in collaboration with the Chairperson; the preparation and circulation of papers for such meetings; ensuring they are sent to members in a timely fashion; and the drafting of Minutes for each meeting.
Panel Membership – Selection and Appointment
The Panel will consist of up to eleven (11) members who serve on a voluntary basis is intended that the Panel will comprise of:
- three Deaf experts in interpreting and the Deaf Community;
- one registered Irish Sign Language interpreter;
- one academic expert in interpreting or Deaf studies;
- one professional interpreting representative;
- one public body representative;
- three members with experience of contributing to an established professional regulatory body, which may include one member with international experience regarding sign language interpreting registration or accreditation schemes; and
- one member with legal expertise
Appointment of the Panel
- New members of the Panel will be appointed by the Citizens Information Board, from within the recommendations of the Panel.
- Where vacancies arise on the Panel, it is intended that applications for membership of the Panel will be advertised publicly including on RISLI’s website. Expressions of interest for panel membership can be reviewed by the Panel, with a list of recommendations being submitted to the Citizens Information Board. .
- Where a member is not in a position to complete his or her term of office such that a vacancy occurs, the Citizens Information Board will appoint a replacement Panel Member from within the recommendations of the Panel, whilst ensuring that the constituency requirements set out at 2.1.2 are met. The term of office for the replacement member will be the balance of the term of the original Panel Member.
Criteria for Panel Membership
Efforts shall be made to ensure Panel Members shall be selected who are:
- familiar with the Deaf and/or disability sectors, or can demonstrate capacity to acquire this knowledge, as well as the legislative, educative, and regulatory environment in which the Panel operates;
- experienced in Panel, Sub-Committee or board membership and/or public administration experience.
Panel Members should ideally possess the following qualities:
- relevant experience of the Deaf community and interpreting world, or the corresponding profession or industry in which they are based;
- effective judgement and decision making;
- demonstrated experience in identifying solutions to complex issues and understanding their impact and implications;
- excellent interpersonal and team-working skills, with proven ability to build relationships with different stakeholders;
- excellent communication skills in written / spoken English and/or Irish Sign Language, with the ability to negotiate and challenge when necessary; and
- a strong sense of ethics and integrity with the ability to bring objectivity and scrutiny to the operation of the Register.
Induction will be provided to new Panel Members. This induction will involve ensuring that Panel Members have familiarity with all the functions, policies and processes of the Panel. Topics within the induction may include some or all of the following:
- the governance structure of the Panel;
- the legislative and administrative framework in which the Register sits;
- the Code of Conduct for Panel Members;
- the complaints and appeal processes; and
- Confidentiality and GDPR requirements as they pertain to the Register.
Terms of Office
It is envisaged that a member of the Panel appointed will hold office for a term of three years from the time of appointment, unless otherwise specified by the Panel..
The Panel will be chaired by one of its members, who will be appointed by the Citizens Information Board for an initial term of three years.
Panel Members cannot remain members for more than three consecutive terms. It will be a matter for the Citizens Information Board to re-appoint members for further terms.
A Panel Member may be removed from the Panel in the following scenarios:
- Resignation of the Panel Member;
- A breach of the Code of Conduct for Panel Members; and
- Non-attendance of a Panel Member at least three (3) successive Panel meetings.