Conform to codes of ethics and conduct
Independent/no conflict of interest
No double role as inspector and consultant
Resist attempts to influence decisions
In giving advice to manufacturers, it is also important to ensure that the credibility of the inspectorate is not compromised. The credibility depends on the technical competence and the integrity of each inspector. We have already looked at some technical qualities that an inspector should possess, let us also spend some time on the aspect of integrity.
Many inspectorates have their own codes of ethics and conduct. This is recommended in the "WHO Quality Systems Requirements". Such codes should apply to both the permanent staff of the inspectorate and to external consultants and specialists.
It is crucial to the credibility of any regulatory authority that the inspectors are perceived to be independent. All persons employed or used by an inspectorate must be free from any commercial, financial or other interests which may affect their judgement and decisions. In other words, there must be no conflict of interest.
An inspector is not independent if he/she inspects a manufacturer where he/she has been involved in its design or maintenance on behalf of (and paid by) the company. Providing advice to a company, not as a paid consultant, but as an inspector is another matter which we will come back to later.
Inspectors may experience that some manufacturers which they inspect try to influence their decisions. They might be exposed to various kinds of pressure, from moral ("if we do not get the GMP certificate, our workers will loose their jobs") to promises of financial remuneration. Inspectors must be able to resist such attempts. It will be easier for inspectors to do so if there is more than one inspector taking part in each inspection, and by rotating inspectors in order to avoid that a company is always inspected by the same inspector.
Inspectors must respect rules about confidentiality, and not divulge to others information they have obtained about the companies they have inspected.