UKAHPP Complaints Procedure

(Registrants)

Introduction

As a professional organisation, the UKAHPP maintains high standards of practice for professionals (Registrants) on the UK Register of Humanistic Psychotherapists and Psychotherapeutic Counsellors. However, there are times when Registrants may fall short of these standards and complaint proceedings have to be initiated.

This procedure provides a framework for conducting fair and impartial investigations into complaints about the practice of Registrants in accordance with the UKAHPP Code of Ethical Principles and the UKAHPP Code of Practice.

This procedure is not to be used for complaints against the UKAHPP as an organisation, which can be progressed through the UKAHPP Organisational Complaints Procedure.

General Principles

a. The current version of the Complaints Procedure will be used for processing all complaints. The versions of UKAHPP Code of Practice and Code of Ethical Principles in force at the time of a historical complaint will be used to determine if a Registrant has breached codes, not the current versions.

b. A complaint may be withdrawn at any stage of proceedings and a.be re-submitted at a later date. If the Complainant and the Registrant arrive at an agreement to resolve the complaint and this is put in writing to the Ethics Committee via the General Secretary the complaint will be declared closed, unless serious concerns remain about a Registrant’s fitness to practice and which poses a high public protection risk.

c. In accordance with the UKAHPP’s commitment to public protection, if the allegations made against the practice of a Registrant are credible and of significantly serious in nature, the UKAHPP will invoke investigation proceedings even if the complaint is withdrawn or an agreement has been reached to resolve the complaint.

d. Any individual with responsibility for discharging the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure who becomes the subject of a complaint or has a conflict of interest that is likely to compromise their impartiality will have no involvement in proceedings and will be replaced by a deputy until the matter is resolved. If an Officer’s role is compromised by information they are not aware of, this information will be disclosed to the Officer.

e. In accordance with UKAHPP By-Laws membership resignation cannot be accepted from a member who is the subject of a practice complaint.

f. The General Secretary may negotiate changes to the framework of the published procedure, with regards to physical and mental health equality requirements such as:

  • Mode of communication – including secure video link and pre-recorded evidence
  • Use of an interpreter, signer or translator
  • Representation
  • Structure
  • Time-tabling
  • Physical amenities – including privacy screens

g. The UKAHPP will send all correspondence relating to a  complaint by Recorded Delivery.  All correspondence will pass through the General Secretary for quality assurance purposes

h. In the interest of fairness the Complainant and the Registrant will normally receive copies of all documentary evidence the other party intends to put forward in support of their representation, except in cases where:

There are multiple Complainants and confidential client-specific information is contained in documentation, in which case an appropriate redacted response may be acceptable.

The Ethics Committee has excluded: irrelevant; vexatious frivolous; or duplicated evidence.

There are seven stages to the procedure:

  • Statement of Complaint
  • Risk Assessment
  • Facilitation
  • Mediation
  • Investigation
  • Adjudication
  • Appeal

1. Statement of Complaint

1.1 The UKAHPP Complaint Procedure will be invoked on receipt of a Complaint Disclosure Form, available on line or from the UKAHPP Administrator and to be returned to the UKAHPP General Secretary at the published address or as an email attachment to admin@ahpp.org.uk .

1.2 All complaints are to be submitted on a Complaint Disclosure Form stating:

  • The Complainant’s name, home address and contact details
  • The name of the Registrant complained about
  • Details of the complaint
  • Consent for the UKAHPP to use any other information provided in accordance with procedure.

1.3 All Complaint Disclosure Forms must be signed and dated by the Complainant or by an authorised adult acting on behalf of a vulnerable adult or parent/guardian in the case of a minor under the age of 16 years in Scotland, 18 years for the rest of the UK – electronic facsimile signatures are acceptable.

1.4 Anyone can submit a complaint against a Registrant including:

  • Any members of the public – including actual or potential service users
  • An authorised adult acting on behalf of a vulnerable adult or parent/guardian in the case of a minor under the age of 16 years in Scotland, 18 years for the rest of the UK.
  • Third parties authorised to act on behalf of a named
  • Third parties reporting serious misconduct about a Registrant’s practice

1.5 Complaints from third parties, where there is no authorisation to act on behalf of a client or member of the public, will be accepted if the Registrant’s identity is known and where there are clear and significant public protection concerns or where there are clear indications that a criminal offence has been or is likely to be committed.

1.6 As a complaint cannot be progressed if the identity of the Registrant is not known, the UKAHPP has made provision for individuals to discuss their concerns in confidence and to discuss the potential risks to public protection if the Registrant’s identity is not disclosed.

1.7 The UKAHPP will not normally accept a complaint on the basis that the Complainant will not be identifiable, unless identification would place the Complainant at risk OR the Complainant provides a written statement affirming that they may be identified or become identifiable if the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure is implemented.

1.8. A complaint may be progressed if the Complainant remains unidentifiable whilst making allegations about the conduct of a Registrant’s practice, which give rise to clear and significant concern about public protection or indications of a criminal offence. In the interest of public protection the General Secretary will invoke investigation proceedings under the Complaints Procedure with the UKAHPP Board of Directors being identified as the Complainant for procedural purposes...

1.9 The General Secretary will normally acknowledge receipt of a complaint within 7 days of submission.

2. Risk Assessment

2.1 The General Secretary will conduct a risk assessment within 7 days of receipt of the Complaint Disclosure Form.

2.2 If allegations indicate that a criminal offence has or is likely to be committed, the General Secretary will refer the matter to the Police and inform the Complainant that the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure has been suspended pending completion of any Police investigation.

2.3 In exceptional circumstances the General Secretary in consultation with the Ethics Committee Chair may issue an Interim Suspension Order preventing a Registrant from practicing under the auspices of the UKAHPP pending investigation of a complaint if:

  • Allegations give rise to a serious risk to public safety
  • Allegations have been made about serious physical, emotional or sexual abuse that may be re-committed
  • There is evidence that a criminal offence has been or is likely to be committed
  • The complaint was upheld there is high probability it would result in the issuing of a Dismissal Order and termination of registration

2.4 An Interim Suspension Order may be issued if a complaint has been forwarded to the Police for investigation.

2.5 As an Interim Suspension Order is a precautionary safeguarding measure not a disciplinary action and it may be withdrawn at any stage of proceedings. An Interim Suspension Order will be recorded on the UKAHPP Register and published in the public domain of the UKAHPP Website with an explanatory note emphasising that due to the seriousness of allegations, the order has been served in the interest of public as a safeguarding measure whilst a full investigation is conducted.

2.6 When considering issuing an Interim Suspension Order the General Secretary must balance the interest of the member to earn a living with the organisation’s commitment to public protection.

2.7 The General Secretary will write to the Registrant (with a copy to the UKAHPP Registrar) within 3 days of the decision to issue an Interim Suspension Order explaining that:

  • A complaint has been received about their practice – with a copy of the Statement of Complaint Form, other evidence provided by the Complainant and a copy of the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure.
  • An Interim Suspension Order has been issued as a precautionary measure – with information about the nature and conditions of the order
  • Non-observance of the Interim Suspension Order may affect their UKAHPP Registration status and affiliations with other registers and agencies
  • There is no appeal against an Interim Suspension Order but it will be reviewed at each stage of the Complaints Procedure.
  • The Ethics Committee will provide details about how the complaint will be progressed

2.8 A Panel may withdraw an Interim Suspension Order at any stage of the procedure with immediate effect. Membership and registration status will be restored and all reference to the Order will be removed from the UKAHPP website and the Registrant’s personal file held by the UKAHPP.

3. Investigation

3.1 The General Secretary will forward the Complaint Disclosure Form and supporting evidence (the complaint) to the UKAHPP Ethics Committee within 10 days of receipt of the complaint

3.2 The Ethics Committee will convene via secure teleconference meeting within 14 days of receiving a complaint from the General Secretary with subsequent teleconference meetings as necessary and determine:

3.2.1 Whether a complaint is valid and there is a case to answer, with details of which aspects of the UKAHPP Code of Practice and Code of Ethical Principles, if any, may have been breached. The Panel may request additional information from either party.

3.2.2 If it is in the interest of public protection to issue or uphold an Interim Suspension Order.

3.2.3 If the Registrant has dual registration and if so which register is best placed to progress a complaint.

3.2.4 Make arrangements for appointing a Facilitator if requested – see section 4.

3.2.5 If consent has been given for Mediation and if so to implement arrangements – see section 5.

3.2.6 Appoint an Adjudication Panel to conduct a hearing after any Mediation has been completed.

3.3 The Ethics Committee will appoint a Complaint Coordinator from its ranks to oversee subsequent stages of the Complaints Procedure and to liaise with the General Secretary.

3.4 Complaints will normally be accepted if they are submitted within three years of the occurrence giving rise to allegations, or three years from the date the complainant became aware of occurrence, whichever is later. Complaints that fall outside this time limit will be assessed if it is deemed to be in the public’s interest.

3.5 All complaints will be considered on their own merit and without prejudice. A complaint will not normally be progressed if it is determined that:

  • It would be inconsistent or in conflict with UK law or any enactment of the UKAHPP’s constitution, Code of Practice or Code of Ethical Principles.
  • It would not be in the public interest or feasible to implement a complaint owing to legal or other constraints.
  • The complaint is being handled by another organisation or UK legislature, in which case the UKAHPP will accept their rulings
  • It would be a substantial duplication of an existing complaint or undermine the rulings of a previous complaint.
  • It is outside the scope of the organisation’s objectives.
  • It is vexatious. Regardless of its merits a vexatious complaint is unwarranted, designed to harass or cause inconvenience, irritation, expense and distress to an adversary OR the disruption of UKAHPP – they are malicious born out of ill will and spite. A Complainant may express angry and being aggrieved without a complaint being vexatious
  • It is Frivolous complaints are trivial and have no serious purpose or value. An investigation would be out of proportion to the seriousness of the issue complained about.
  • The Registrant complained about is deceased – Concerns about the practice of a deceased member may be investigated under the terms of the Complaints Procedure but formal proceedings cannot be invoked.

3.6 To determine whether a complaint is vexatious or frivolous may not be possible at this stage and or proceedings, if there is any doubt the decision will be deferred to the Adjudication phase of the procedure.

3.7 If the Ethics Committee is of the opinion that a criminal offence has been or is likely to be committed it will inform the Police via the General Secretary and suspend UKAHPP proceedings until the Police have concluded their investigation.

3.8 The Ethics Committee via the General Secretary will inform the Complainant that the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure has been suspended pending completion of a Police investigation.

3.9 If the Ethics Committee determines that a complaint is NOT valid and there is no case to answer the complaint will be closed subject to the completion of any Appeal process.

3.10 The Registrant will NOT normally be informed if a complaint is NOT accepted.

3.11 The Ethics Committee via the General Secretary will normally write to the Complainant within 7 days of the Ethics Committee decision that the complaint has NOT been accepted, giving the reasons for not progressing the complaint.

3.12 If a satisfactory outcome can be agreed between the Complainant and the Registrant a complaint may be withdrawn at any stage of the procedure, subject to agreed actions.

3.13 In cases where serious practice concerns have been raised, the UKAHPP will have an obligation under its public protection commitment to conduct a full Investigation, regardless of the Complainant’s decision to withdraw the complaint.

3.14 Where a Registrant has acknowledged at their own admission a breach of UKAHPP Codes, has addressed the matter with the Complainant, has issued an apology and an undertaken not to repeat a breach, the Ethics Committee may discontinue proceedings if it is of the opinion that the Registrant is remorseful and the breaches are relatively minor in nature. Provided that a similar breach is not repeated in the near future, in which case proceedings may be re-opened.

3.15 If a complaint is submitted against a member who has dual registrations, the General Secretary in consultation with the UKAHPP Registrar will liaise with other register holders to determine which organisation is best placed to progress a complaint. The Complainant and the Registrant will be informed of this decision.

3.16 Complaints about Registrants with dual UKAHPP and UKCP Registration will be progressed through the UKCP Complaints and Conduct Process and forwarded to the UKCP within 7 days of the Ethics Committee convening.

3.17 If the Ethics Committee agrees that there is a case to answer, the Complaint Coordinator via the General Secretary will write to the Complainant normally within 7 days of the Ethics Committee’s decision to confirm:

3.17.1 That the complaint will be progressed in accordance with the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure a copy of the procedure will be attached.

3.17.2 That the Complainant has no contact with the Registrant of any kind, other than that warranted by the procedure or authorised by the UKAHPP.

3.17.3 That a ‘Facilitator’ may be appointed or they may nominate their own supporter.

3.17.4 That the Complaint Co-ordinator via the General Secretary will confirm arrangements for an Adjudication Panel Hearing following any Mediation.

3.18 If the Ethics Committee agrees that there is a case to answer, the Complaint Coordinator via the General Secretary will write to the Registrant normally within 7 days of the Ethics Committee’s decision to:

3.18.1 Confirm that the complaint will be progressed in accordance with the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure – a copy of the procedure will be attached.

3.18.2 Provide a copy of the Complaint Disclosure Form and other documentary evidence, including witness statements, provided by the Complainant – this documentary information will have been provided in accordance with 2.6 if an Interim Suspension Order was issued.

3.18.3 Advice that the Registrant that they are required to submit within 28 days a written statement in response to the complaint, including any documents and witness statements the Registrant intends to call on in response to the complaint.

3.18.4 Remind the Registrant they are bound by the procedure and that they may not resign their UKAHPP Membership whilst their practice is the subject of a complaint

3.18.5 Confirm within the next 7 days whether they wish to request Mediation as a way of addressing concerns with the Complainant

3.18.6 Stress that they must have no contact with the Complainant of any kind, other than that warranted by the procedure or authorised by the UKAHPP

3.18.7 Affirm that a ‘Facilitator’ may be appointed or nominated for support

3.18.8 That the Complaint Co-ordinator via the General Secretary will confirm arrangements for Adjudication Panel Hearing following any Mediation.

3.19 The Complaint Coordinator via the General Secretary will send a copy of the Registrant’s written response and supporting documentary evidence, including witness statements to the Complainant within 7 days of receipt from the Registrant.

3.20 The Ethics Committee may request additional documentary information from the Complainant or the Registrant but they are not compelled to supply such information.

3.21 There is can be no Appeal against the outcome of an Investigation decision.

4. Facilitation

4.1 The Complaint Coordinator will ensure that the Complainant and the Registrant (the parties) have access to the support of a confidential Facilitator whose role it is to assist them to clarify and formalise their case through each stage of the procedure. Either party may decline the offer of a Facilitator.

4.2 The Complaint Coordinator may appoint a member of the UKAHPP to act as a Facilitator or the parties may nominate their own Facilitator.

4.3 Both Facilitators must declare any conflict of interest and must have had no previous involvement with the other party (the party they are not supporting).

4.4 Before formal investigation proceedings commence, the Facilitators will explore with both parties the possibility of resolving the complaint through a Mediation process.

4.5 Agreeing to Mediation will not deny either party access to a formal investigation.

4.6 If both parties are in agreement the Complaint Coordinator will initiate the Mediation process. If Mediation is declined by either party, or it is deemed to be inappropriate by the Ethics Committee, due to the seriousness of the complaint, the Investigation phase of the procedure will be initiated.

5. Mediation

5.1 Within 28 days of consent being given by both parties OR and 14 days of the decision to progress the complaint, whichever is the latest,  the Ethics Committee will appoint a qualified Mediator agreeable to both parties.

5.2 The Mediator will have no prior connection to either party and may be: a UKAHPP member; from a specialist mediation organisation or trade union; or be a lay person.

5.3 The UKAHPP will fund one the venue and Mediator’s fee for one Mediation Meeting. The cost of any subsequent meetings will be borne by the Complainant and the Registrant.

5.4 The UKAHPP is not responsible for travel or any other out of pocket expenses incurred by either party or witnesses at any stage of the procedure.

5.5 Through negotiation with both parties the Complaints Coordinator will arrange a Mediation Meeting to take place within 28 days of the appointment of a Mediator.

5.6 If the parties are unable to agree a Mediator, a suitable date or venue within 14 days of Mediation being agreed, the Mediation phase of the procedure will be deemed to have lapsed and the Adjudication stage will be implemented.

5.7 With the agreement of both parties the Complaints Coordinator will provide the Mediator prior to the Mediation Meeting with copies of all relevant information about the complaint, if requested.

5.8 Both parties are expected to attend the Mediation Meeting. They may choose to be supported by a friend or a Facilitator as they think fit, OR by an authorised adult acting on behalf of a vulnerable adult OR a parent or guardian in the case of a minor under the age of 16 years in Scotland and under the age of 18 years for the rest of the UK.

5.9 The structure of the Mediation Meeting will be determined by the Mediator so as to help both parties clarify their concerns and reach a satisfactory outcome agreeable to both parties if possible. The structure will allow:

  • The Complainant to put forward their representation
  • The Registrant to put forward their representation
  • Both parties to ask clarifying questions
  • Both parties to state what would be a satisfactory outcome.

5.10 The Mediator will provide the Complaints Coordinator within 14 days of the last Mediation Meeting with a written report signed by both parties, documenting the outcome of Mediation including resolution and any agreed future action for either or both parties to complete within a specified time.

5.11 If agreed actions are not confirmed by both parties or completed in full, it will be as if no agreement had been made and the Adjudication stage of the Complaints Procedure will be implemented.

5.12 If a satisfactory outcome cannot be reached through Mediation the Adjudication stage of the Complaints Procedure will be implemented.

5.13 The Mediator will have no further involvement in the procedure.

6. Adjudication

6.1 The Adjudication stage of the procedure will be implemented once the Ethics Committee’s decision that there is a case to answer has been communicated to the Complainant and the Registrant OR within 7 days following notification of Mediation being   unsuccessful.

6.2 The Adjudication process will determine if the complaint will be upheld and whether any Sanction Orders will be applied.

6.3 The Adjudication Panel appointed by the Ethics Committee will consist of four members at a minimum: one lay member; a member of the Ethics Committee; and two UKAHPP Registered Members. If the Registrant is a Full Accredited Member, the two Registered Members must hold Full Accredited Membership. Additional members may be co-opted to the Panel should specialist knowledge relating to the complaint is necessary.

6.4 Panel Members will have had no previous involvement with either party, must complete a Confidentiality and No-Disclosure Form and declare any conflict of interest that may impede impartiality.

6.5 The Complainant and the Registrant will be given the names of Panel members and may request the replacement of any Panel member if they can evidence there is a conflict of interest.

6.6 The Panel will nominate from its ranks a Chair who will preside over Panel Meetings. The Panel will make decisions on a one member one vote basis with the Chair having a casting vote if necessary.

6.7 The Complaint Coordinator will attend Panel Meetings and will be responsible for guiding and advising the Adjudication Panel Chair, not the Panel, on procedural points only and will take not participate in Panel deliberations and decision making.

6.8 The Complaint Coordinator will ensure that Panel has access to all documentary evidence relating to the complaint.

6.9 An Adjudication Panel Hearing will normally convene within 49 days of the Adjudication stage of the procedure being implemented. This deadline may be extended at the discretion of the Complaint Coordinator if there are difficulties in agreeing a suitable date and venue.

6.10 Following consultation with the Complainant, Registrant and the Panel the Complaints Coordinator via the General Secretary will confirm, with a minimum of 14 days notice, arrangements for an Adjudication Panel Hearing:

  • Confirming date, time and venue of the hearing
  • Seeking confirmation of any representation

6.11 UKAHPP Adjudication Panel Hearings are confidential and will be heard in private.

6.12 A Hearing may be re-arranged if sufficient notice is received from either party confirming that they are unable to attend for health reasons, supported by a covering letter from their GP or NHS consultant or due to extenuating circumstances

6.13 The Panel Chair in consultation with other panel members may progress proceedings in the absence of either party:

  • If adequate notice of nonattendance is not received
  • In cases of repeated cancelation/nonattendance
  • Where a lack of availability from either party frustrates proceedings.

6.14 The UKAHPP will pay the venue cost of the hearing but is not responsible for travel or any out of pocket expenses incurred by either party or witnesses at any stage of the procedure.

6.15 The Panel via the General Secretary may exercise discretion and call additional expert witnesses to attend the Hearing and answer questions.

6.16 Either party may be accompanied for support by an appointed or self-appointed Facilitator, colleague or ‘McKenzie Friend’. A supporter may not speak on behalf of the person they are supporting, ask questions of the Panel or witnesses.

6.17 The Complainant’s case may be put forward by an authorised representative or by a parent, guardian in the case of minor under the age of 16 years in Scotland, 18 years for the rest of the UK. Representatives may not answer questions on behalf of the Complainant.

6.18 The Registrant may choose to be represented by a recognised trade union or professional organisation, at their expense, in which case they are required to inform the General Secretary within 7 days of the hearing date. Professional representatives may not answer questions on behalf of the Registrant.

6.19 At the discretion of the Chair and with the consent of both parties an electronic recording of proceedings may be made for Appeal purposes only. The recording will be held in confidential and secure conditions by the UKAHPP Administrator and will normally be deleted 21 days after the deadline for submitting an Appeal or 21 days following completion of an actual Appeal.

6.20 The structure of the Hearing will be determined by the Panel with provision for:

  • The Complainant to put forward their case, followed by any witness statements.
  • The Registrant to put forward their case in response, followed by any witness statements.
  • The Complainant to ask through the Panel Chair, clarifying questions about the case put forward by the Registrant and witnesses they have called.
  • The Registrant to ask through the Panel Chair, clarifying questions about the case put forward by the Complainant and witnesses they have called.
  • The Panel to ask questions about the case put forward by the Complainant and the Registrant and any witness they may have called.
  • The Complainant and the Registrant to make a final statement.

6.21 In exceptional circumstances and at the Panel’s discretion it may rule that Complainant and Registrant’s representation will be heard separately and that there will be no contact between the Complainant and the Registrant at the Hearing.

6.22 Where allegations against a Registrant are of a sexually nature, the Registrant will not be permitted to ask the Complainant questions – questions may be raised by the Registrant’s appointed representative or via another option approved by the Panel Chair.

6.23 The Adjudication Panel Chair may exclude any person whose conduct disrupts the orderly conduct of proceedings. Its reason will be given to the Hearing.

6.24 With reference to the Ethics Committee’s previous decision regards the submission of documentary evidence, the Adjudication Panel will decide what evidence is admissible at the Hearing.

6.25 If during the course of the Hearing significant new evidence emerges of a nature different to the original complaint and which cannot be substantiated during the hearing, the Chair may decide adjourn proceedings until such time as an investigation of the new evidence has been completed.

6.26 If the Adjudication Panel is of the opinion that insufficient evidence has been produced to uphold the complaint, it may dismiss the complaint without hearing the Registrant’s representation.  

6.27 The Chair will adjourn the Hearing for a maximum of 90 minutes; all parties will withdraw to allow the panel to deliberate.

6.28 If the complaint is upheld and the Panel rules that the Registrant has breached the UKAHPP Code of Conduct or Code of Ethical Principles, the Panel will decide if any Sanction Orders are to be applied.

6.29 Sanction Orders are to be applied in accordance with Indicative Sanctions Guidance documents provided by the Ethics Committee, whilst taking into account:

  • Whether Sanction Orders are reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances
  • What action was taken in similar cases
  • Previous complaints against the Registrant still on record
  • Any mitigating or aggravating circumstances affecting the Registrant
  • The Registrant’s conduct since the complaint was submitted

6.30 The Sanction Orders available to the Panel include:

  • No Sanctions
  • Written Warning
  • Final Written Warning
  • Improvement Order
  • Conditions of Practice Order
  • Suspension Order
  • Dismissal Order

6.31 The Hearing will be re-convened to inform both parties of the Panel’s ruling which will apply with immediate effect. The Registrant will be informed of Sanction Order details in writing.

6.32 If the Panel is unable to reach a decision, the Chair will adjourn the Hearing and reconvene deliberations the following working day by email or conference call as necessary and both parties will be contacted by the Complaint Coordinator by telephone or email once a ruling has been made.

6.33 The Panel may continue to convene via teleconference and or email to agree any Sanction Orders.

6.34 The Complaint Coordinator via the General Secretary will confirm the Panel’s rulings in writing to both parties normally within 14 days of the Hearing, detailing any Sanction Orders including time scales, monitoring and the consequences if they are not adhered to.  

6.35 Both parties will also be informed of their right to submit a written Appeal Application, against the Panel’s ruling to the General Secretary within 14 days, on the grounds that procedure was not applied in accordance with the published procedure OR that Sanction Orders are unfair and disproportionate.

6.36 An Interim Suspension Order may remain in place until the Appeal process has been completed. If no Appeal is lodged within the specified deadline, any Sanction Orders imposed by the Adjudication Panel will come into immediate effect.

6.37 If a Sanction Order is not adhered to or if further complaints are submitted of a similar nature the Ethics Committee will reconvene the Adjudication Panel with original or new members to consider what action is to be taken.

6.38 In the event of an Appeal against a Suspension or Dismissal Order requiring the Registrant to cease practice, an Interim Suspension Order will be imposed until the Appeal process has been completed.    

6.39 The Panel’s ruling will be included in the Ethics Committee Chair’s Report for information, to the UKAHPP Board of Directors on completion of the Appeal process.

7. Dismissal Order

7.1 A Dismissal Order should only be used as a last resort where there is a serious and realistic threat to public protection and other Sanction Orders have been exhausted or are simply not proportionate to the risk. A balance must be struck between the interests of the Registrant and their right to earn a living, against UKAHPP’s commitment to public protection.

7.2 A Panel may issue a Dismissal Order if it can be proven that a Registrant:

  • Is unfit to practice.
  • Is a threat to public safety as the consequence of serious, deliberate or reckless breaches of trust involving sexual, psychological, physical, racial or financial abuse – and other Sanction Orders are not appropriate.
  • Their general conduct is seriously prejudicial to their good standing as a practitioner.

7.3 A Dismissal Orders for practice related issues will appear on the UKAHPP Hearings and Determinations website page and be recorded on the UKAHPP Register for a minimum of 5 years.

7.4 The General Secretary will normally confirm in writing within 7 days of the date of the Dismissal Order, confirming the reasons for the dismissal, enforcement details and the Registrant’s right to submit an Appeal. 

7.5 An Appeal must be submitted to the General Secretary within 14 days of a Dismissal Order being issued, stating how the Registrant believes proceedings have not been applied in accordance with published Procedure OR how they believe a Dismissal Order is unfair and disproportionate.

7.6 Once the deadline for submitting an appeal has expired or an appeal has been completed, the General Secretary will inform the UKAHPP Registrar of the outcome of the Appeal to allow adjustment to the UKAHPP Register of Humanistic Psychotherapists and Psychotherapeutic Counsellors as necessary. The Registrar will inform other registers and agencies with whom the Registrant has affiliation, including relevant employers such as the NHS and Social Services.

8. Appeal

8.1 The Complainant and Registrant may Appeal against the Panel’s ruling on the grounds that due process was not followed in accordance with the published Complaints Procedure or that Sanction Orders are unfair and disproportionate. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the General Secretary within 28 days of the Panel’s ruling, detailing their reasons for the Appeal. Any evidence in support of the Appeal must be attached.

8.2 The General Secretary will acknowledge within receipt of an Appeal within 7 days of its submission and will inform the other party of the fact.

8.3 The General Secretary will notify the Ethics Committee of the Appeal and forward the written Appeal and any supporting evidence to the association’s External Moderator whose role it is to make a ruling on upholding the Appeal or not.

8.4 The Ethics Committee will appoint members to the Appeal Panel which will convene within 28 days of the General Secretary’s acknowledgment of the Appeal.

8.5 In addition to the External Moderator, membership of the Appeal Panel will include one UKAHPP Full Accredited/Registered Member and one Lay Member at a minimum. Members with specialist knowledge may be co-opted to the Panel as necessary.

8.6 Panel members will have had no prior involvement in the complaint or relationship with the Complainant or the Registrant.

8.7 The External Moderator will determine which of two modes is most appropriate for conducting an Appeal. 

8.8 Appeal Panel Review:

8.8.1 The External Moderator in consultation with the Appeal Panel will convene a teleconference meeting(s) supplemented by email correspondence to review the Adjudication Panel’s ruling.

8.8.2 If necessary the Appeal Panel may call a full Appeal Panel Hearing – otherwise the Panel’s ruling will be final. There is no further right of Appeal.

8.8.3 Where appropriate proceedings of the Appeal Panel Review will be governed by provisions outlined in the section concerning the Appeal Panel Hearing.

8.9 Appeal Panel Hearing:

8.9.1 An Appeal Panel Hearing Chaired by the External Moderator will be called within 63 days of the General Secretary’s notice acknowledging receipt the appeal.

8.9.2 The aim of an Appeal Hearing is to allow the Appellant and the Complaint Coordinator, or their nominated deputy, to put forward their representation, to allow the Appeal Panel to determine whether proceedings have been discharged in accordance with the published Complaints Procedure and whether Sanction Orders have been applied fairly – this is not an opportunity to re-investigate the complaint.

8.9.3 The General Secretary will provide procedural guidance to the External Moderator.

8.9.4 The External Moderator will preside over meetings. The Appeal Panel will make decisions on a one member one vote basis with the External Moderator having a casting vote if necessary.

8.9.5 The External Moderator will request the General Secretary to provide a pack containing the Panel’s Report and other documentation relating to proceedings. In the interest of fairness the Appellant will be provided with copies of all documents.

8.9.6 An Appeal Panel Hearing will be held with 35 days of the Appeal Panel’s appointment.

8.9.7 Details of an Appeal Hearing confirming date, time and venue will be communicated to the Appellant by the General Secretary at least 21 days before the date of the Hearing.

8.9.8 The structure of the Panel Hearing will be determined by the External Moderator.

8.9.9 The External Moderator will adjourn the Hearing and all participants will withdraw to allow the Panel to deliberate its findings.

8.9.10 The Appeal Panel will consider the evidence put forward in order to reach a unanimous or majority decision to:

  • Uphold the Adjudication Panel’s ruling in full
  • Uphold the Adjudication Panel’s ruling and uphold, modify, increase or reduce
  • Dismiss the Adjudication Panel’s ruling and withdraw all Sanction Orders.

8.9.11 The Panel may make recommendations to the Board of Directors to review aspects of the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure, which will be conveyed to the Ethics Committee.

8.9.12 The Panel’s decision will be communicated to both parties by the Ethics Committee via the General Secretary, once a ruling has been made.

8.9.13 The External Moderator will provide a written report within 14 days of the Hearing to the General Secretary who will ensure that the Panel’s ruling, any Sanction Orders and any recommendations are implemented.

8.9.14 The General Secretary will write to the Complainant and the Registrant within 7 days of receiving the External Moderator’s Report, summarising the outcome of the Appeal, any actions to be taken and the consequences of non-compliance.

8.9.15 The General Secretary will inform the UKAHPP Registrar of any ruling relating to the UKAHPP Register of Humanistic Psychotherapists and Psychotherapeutic Counsellors.

8.9.16 The Panel’s rulings will be final there is no further right of Appeal.

9. Record Keeping

9.1 Once the Complaint and Appeals process have been concluded, the Complaint Coordinator will forward all hard copies of documents relating to a completed complaint, held by the Ethics Committee and officers involved in the complaint, to the UKAHPP Administrator for archiving. Once the UKAHPP Administrator has acknowledged receipt, the Complaint Coordinator will instruct the Ethics Committee and officers involved in the complaint to delete all files relating to the complaint from electronic storage devices.

9.2 In accordance with UKAHPP’s public protection function, an electronic copy of all correspondence and documents relating to a complaint will be held by the UKAHPP Administrator on a password protected computer held within a secure room, for a minimum of 5 years after which they will be deleted.

9.3 Any reference to Sanction Orders held by UKAHPP in the Registrant’s personal file, website and public available register, will be removed on completion of all Sanction Orders and in accordance with any stated time constraints.

9.4 Complaints where it was determined that there was no case to answer and where a complaint was not upheld will be included in Ethics Committee statistics but all correspondence and documents relating to the complaint will be deleted from electronic storage systems and all hard copies destroyed  within 6 months after the case was closed. Unless there is significant cause to do so the UKAHPP will not acknowledge or deny the existence of such complaints.

Note: Full Data Protection information is available on the Information Commissioner’s Office website

Version Control:

Version Status Description Date Completed
3.2 Approved Revision June 30 2018
3.1 Draft Revision May 2018
2.2 Approved Amendments 2 December 2017
2.1 Approved Complete Revision 25 February 2017
1.2 Approved Minor Revisions 2003/2009/2011
1.1 Approved Revision November 2002