APO Building Blocks for a Lasting Standard: Integrity (Part III)
According to a paper written for the American Journal of Public Health in 1965, “Medical quackery and the promotions of nostrums and worthless drugs were among the most prominent abuses which led to the establishment of formal self-regulation in business and, in turn, to the creation of the [National Better Business Bureau].” Today, the Better Business Bureau standard helps consumers make countless purchasing decisions. Similarly, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval remains a must-have when purchasing a juicer, mixer, refrigerator, or food item. Each appliance that bears the Seal comes with a two-year limited warranty. If you’re not satisfied with your product, the magazine will replace the product or refund the purchase price. About 5,000 products have earned the Seal.
It might surprise you to know that the BBB and Good Housekeeping were both accused of actions less becoming the standards we count on today. Accusations were leveled against the BBB after a bogus company received an “A+” rating, but only after the company had paid its dues. Good Housekeeping was said to have exaggerated some of its claims and the actual Seal of Approval language had to be amended to more accurately represent the product testing actually taking place.
To avoid such shortcomings in the parking industry, two important features were built into and protect the integrity of the Accredited Parking Organization (APO) program. These are third-party review and a code of ethics.
Each applicant is required to seek a qualified, authorized site reviewer to confirm the facts and specifics of their application. The reviewer is trained by IPI but is an unbiased third party to the actual application and to IPI. This ensures that undue influence is guarded against and that the evaluation is based on factual evidence and empiric information.
The APO Board has also adopted a Code of Ethics, outlined on p. 12 of the APO Manual for Applicants, that establishes the expected level of professional conduct and practice for an organization that holds APO Accreditation. To promote and maintain the integrity of the APO program for the benefit of designation holders and stakeholders, the APO Board has the ability to enforce the provisions of the Code of Ethics, including sanctions against APOs that violate the regulations as written in the Code of Ethics.
With unbiased review and a professional code of ethics, APO Accreditation is designed to provide the parking public and communities that rely on parking organizations confidence and peace of mind.
Casey Jones, CAPP, is vice president, institutional services, with SP+.