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††Surprise inspections

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Author Topic:†† Surprise inspections
Gordon H. Barland
posted 09-15-2007 04:11 PM ††† Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon H. Barland † ††Edit/Delete Message
Please note that Iím neither referring to nor commenting on the inspection of the Marston Academy. Iím not qualified to do so, for as Barry has pointed out several times, we donít have the facts. Instead, I am raising a generic issue.

There were remarks in a previous thread that the APA should not (or perhaps may not) conduct surprise inspections, that all inspections must be announced in advance. I should like to suggest that surprise inspections ought to have a necessary place in the APA inspection repertoire.

Granted, some types of inspection ought to be announced in advance. This acts as an incentive, a deadline, to get the paperwork together, review the accreditation guide, ensure youíre up to snuff, and be prepared to answer questions. The chairs and tables are lined up, the shades pulled to the same height, and the students and instructors stand at attention (at least psychologically) as the inspector enters the room with a flourish of drums.

Nobody, nor any school, is perfect. None can pass a truly intense scrutiny without any imperfection or room for improvement being detected. Perfection is an unattainable goal, not a realistic expectation. However, when allegations of misconduct are being investigated, I believe itís important for the inspector to see the realities of everyday conduct, warts and all, not a Potemkin village which disappears when the inspectorís back is turned. This can often only be done by a surprise inspection.

Iím proud that APA and TV OíMalley can and will go to the expense of a surprise inspection, including surveillance, when a serious allegation arises. If thereís nothing wrong, it is that type of inspection which is most likely to determine that the allegation was baseless. Itís analogous to taking a polygraph examination when one is innocent. Itís unpleasant, itís intrusive, but itís sometimes necessary. Although itís tough on the school and individuals who are thus scrutinized, I believe thatís the cost of an effective policing of the standards expected of our profession.

Neither liberty nor ethics nor reputation come cheaply.

Just my two cents worth. Well, alright, a ha-penny.



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posted 09-15-2007 06:46 PM ††† Click Here to See the Profile for stat † ††Edit/Delete Message
I think suprise inspections are good. I think that the APA protocol on inspections should be followed, as they seem to be written with fairness. However, if someone only need to lodge an anonymous complaint to cause money to be spent, inspections/audits to be engaged, and suspicions to be levied, than what stops a jerk from merely phoning in phony complaints either on individual examiners or schools. It would be an effective way to stall your competitors and disrupt their business. The Germans were quite good at fostering such anonymous informants and/or sabotaging competition with such "dime dropping"----and I am not the sort to use "nazi" analogies with whimsy.

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Barry C
posted 09-15-2007 08:53 PM ††† Click Here to See the Profile for Barry C ††Click Here to Email Barry C†† ††Edit/Delete Message
I'm not opposed to surprise inspections either - unless they are a veiled attempt to usurp the authority, say for example, the grievance committee who is only supposed to investigate complaints with known complainants.

I think this shows a need for policies in advance. It's too easy to say somebody is being picked on without them.

Do the ends justify the means? Is it okay to break the rules (knowingly and willingly) break the rules to see if somebody else is breaking the rules? What if they (the one being investigated) weren't breaking the rules?

(I don't know that we know that happened, mind you. This is a hypothetical that grew out of something, albeit a mysterious something, that is very real.)

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posted 09-16-2007 07:52 AM ††† Click Here to See the Profile for stat † ††Edit/Delete Message
I believe that Ted Todd uses waterboarding and bamboo shoots laced with LSD in his post test. Could someone please immediately freeze his insurance, surveil him, audit his reports, and spend $2000 of APA treasurey money to do so?


p.s. That was too easy Dr. Barland

[This message has been edited by stat (edited 09-16-2007).]

[This message has been edited by stat (edited 09-16-2007).]

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Ted Todd
posted 09-16-2007 09:23 AM ††† Click Here to See the Profile for Ted Todd † ††Edit/Delete Message
See Stat....that is exactly how these rumors get started. In my post test interviews, I only use the approved Louisville Slugger confession unit. It has proven to be more reliable than the Everyready Rabbit!


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posted 09-16-2007 11:21 AM ††† Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson ††Click Here to Email rnelson†† ††Edit/Delete Message
It is sometimes important to recognize the distinction between an "agency" and an "association." All kinds of feathers get ruffled when we forget this.

For individual examiners, the APA is an association. It is primarily our local licensing and certification agencies that enforce compliance and respond to complaints.

For schools, the APA is an accrediting "agency," regardless of what we think about the strength of that accreditation.

The issues here seem to get clouded by what we perceive to be the objective

, or what may appear to some as mean-spiritedness.

There is nothing to prevent any agency from enacting permissions for surprise inspections.

However, if our hierarchy of objectives is to avoid problems first, and then to catch them when they are not avoided, then we may need to start to think about some form of continuum of process, in which we address concerns first by direct communication. Those activities tend to foster trust and productive relationships.

Responding to complaints is a special matter, and often requires and articulated form of due process - often beginning with direct communication. There is still nothing to prevent an agency from conducting a surprise visit in the context of a serious or egregious concern.

Moving too quickly to surprise inspections has the effect of possibly circumventing due process for the accused violator, and sets the primary objective at catching vs avoiding or fixing problems. The long term cultural effect within the professional populace can be anticipated as that of fostering division and mistrust.



"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)

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