The ECTE operates independently in full autonomy from other bodies and is fully responsible for its operations and outcomes.
Although the association is governed by the General Assembly and operates within a peer-accreditation scheme, accreditation decisions are performed by the ECTE Council independently, with no influence or interference from the General Assembly nor by the institutions that are the beneficiaries of the accreditation.
VETs (Visitation Evaluation Teams) make recommendations to the ECTE Council by means of written Review Reports following on-site visits, but do not participate in the accreditation decision-making processes. Both the independence of the reviewers and the independence of decisions are thus safeguarded.
The right to appeal the decisions of the Council applies to both institutions and organizations applying for membership and to institutions whose programmes are being accredited.
Since the ECTE Council acts for an autonomous and voluntary association of evangelical institutions of biblical and theological training, its decisions cannot be put in question by appeal to public law or to public courts. Two levels of appeal are available to a institution that does not agree with a decision made by the Council.
- First Level appeals must be made in written form to the Council itself though the General Secretary. The Council will discuss the appeal and reply in written form to the institution. If necessary, a visit or other forms of personal contact will be organized.
- If the first level appeal is not satisfactory, the institution may write a Second Level appeal to the General Assembly of the ECTE that meets every two years. Second level appeals should be sent to the General Secretary and brought to the General Assembly which will designate an ad hoc committee to deal with the specific appeal. Both the Council and the institution must submit to the decision of this committee. Failure to do so will cause the re-election of the Council or the exclusion of the institution from membership. Once the appeal procedure is complete, the ad hoc committee will disband.
All appeal procedures and relative results and statistics will be published on on this page of ECTE website. This procedure was approved by the General Assembly, 2007.
To date, there have been no appeals to the decisions of the ECTE Council.
Consultancy. Where the ECTE formally provides substantial training and consultancy to a institution in issues of accreditation and quality assurance, an appropriate period of time will elapse before the institution can apply for ECTE accreditation. Any individuals involved in the training and consultancy of a particular institution will refrain from participating in visitation reviews or accreditation decisions concerning that institution.
Visitations. The ECTE has a No Conflict of Interest Declaration meant to prevent situations where doubt is cast on an accreditation recommendations or decisions because those involved might not be fully impartial.
To ensure that the VETs performing review visits and the ECTE Council that is responsible for making the final accreditation decisions are free of conflict of interest, VETs and Council members (on being elected) will be asked to sign the No-Conflict-of-Interest Declaration that includes a declaration to decline review involvement should conflict situations arise.
In deploying the VET teams, care will be taken to safeguard operational independence in practice, in defining procedures and methods and nominating experts. The ECTE will not not send experts to visit institutions with whom they have proven close relations. Generally speaking, VET teams will also have an international composition so as to avoid regional competition or conflicts of interest.