A new independent panel “to strengthen transparency around decision-making and drive forward best practice regulatory processes at the CAA” is to be set up by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The announcement comes nearly a year after FLYER’s Ian Seager first called for such oversight and scrutiny of the CAA.
In the November 2020 edition of FLYER, Ian said, “The time has come for independent external oversight and scrutiny of the CAA. The best parts of the organisation will be supported, the not-so-good parts will have to change and improve, the trust and relationship between regulator and regulated will improve and the CAA should become the kind of world-leading organisation that we all want.”
The DfT’s announcement this morning said, “The panel will sit outside of the CAA and will be available to review complaints made by individuals about the process by which the CAA has made decisions that affect them.
“It will be open to individuals whose cases meet a certain threshold if they remain unsatisfied following the CAA’s internal two-stage complaints processes.
“Eligible complaints will cover licensing and certification decisions, such as those following an airspace infringement or the decision to suspend a licence or endorsement to an instructor or examiner.
“The panel will consider whether the CAA correctly followed its processes and procedures in arriving at a decision. It will have the power to remit the case back to the CAA where it investigates and considers the CAA has not done this.”
However, the CAA has retained its position as “the ultimate decision-maker”, according to the announcement.
“However, in the exceptional event that the CAA chooses not to reconsider a case process in light of a recommendation to do so from the panel, it will need to explain its rationale to the complainant, the panel and the Minister for Aviation,” it continues.
Aviation Minister Robert Courts said, “This new panel will provide greater strength, clarity and assurance on decisions that affect individuals working in the aviation sector.
“The DfT is responsible for setting up and recruiting the new panel. It will be made up of people with expertise in investigative processes and procedures.
“To ensure it is considered truly independent, panel members will not be expected to be aviation experts and will need to be independent of both the CAA and those individuals or sectors that have an interest in the decision.”