UKAHPP Organisational Complaints Procedure

Introduction

The UKAHPP is committed to providing a quality professional service and welcomes feedback from members of the public and other organisations about their experience of UKAHPP. From time to time the UKAHPP as an organisation, its officers or representatives may fall short of these expectations and give rise to concern and disappointment.

In the first, anyone with a concern about the UKAHPP or the conduct of its officers is advised to raise the matter with the person(s) involved. If this not appropriate or if matters cannot be resolved, concerns can be raised informally by contacting the UKAHPP General Secretary who will try their best to bring matters to a swift and satisfactory conclusion. However, in some cases the UKAHPP recognises that it may be necessary to initiate a formal complaint.

The UKAHPP Organisational Complaints Procedure (the procedure) provides a formal framework to ensure that complaints about the UKAHPP are taken seriously and that a fair and impartial investigation is conducted.

This procedure applies to complaints about the UKAHPP as an organisation and the service it provides. Disciplinary proceedings may be invoked against an individual as the result of an Organisational Complaint.

The UKAHPP has a separate Complaints Procedure for complaints about the practice of a Registrant on the UKAHPP Register of Humanistic Psychotherapists and Psychotherapeutic Counsellors.

In accordance with the UKAHPP Memorandum of Association this procedure does not apply to regulations relating to the UKAHPP and relations between employees and workers or organisations of employers and organisations of workers.

General Principles

a. Complaints will normally be progressed within a prescribed time frame, which can be extended with agreement with the General Secretary.

b. The person raising a complaint (the Complainant) must be identifiable as anonymous complaints cannot normally be considered under this procedure.

c. If a UKAHPP Officer is implicated in a complaint or has a conflict of interest as the result of a complaint, will have no involvement in the procedure and will be replaced by a deputy. If their position is compromised by information they are not already aware of this information will be disclosed.

d. The UKAHPP will fund venue costs for Panel Hearings but is not responsible for travel or other out of pocket expenses incurred by the Complainant or witnesses at any stage of the procedure. The UKAHPP will negotiate Mediation fees with the Complainant.

e. There are three stages to the procedure:

  1. Investigation
  2. Adjudication
  3. Appeal

1. Investigation

1.1 Organisational Complaints are to be made in writing to the UKAHPP General Secretary at the UKAHPP published address or via email to admin@ahpp.org.uk with a detailed outline of the circumstances of the complaint, including: date; time; place;  individuals involved and witnesses.

1.2. Complaints are to be addressed to the UKAHPP Board of Directors if the General Secretary is the subject of a complaint.

1.3 A complaint must be received within one year of the incident being reported.

1.4 The General Secretary will normally acknowledge receipt of a complaint in writing within 7 days of submission.

1.5 The General Secretary (or their deputy) will convene a meeting of the Chair of the Board of Directors and the Chair of the Ethics Committee to:

  • Determine if the complaints falls within the scope of the Organisational Complaints Procedure or another procedure
  • To initiate a fact finding investigation and to take statements from those involved and witnesses
  • Determine if Alternative Dispute Resolution would be acceptable to the Complainant
  • Re-convene to consider and implement an action plan/remedy, which may include an admission of culpability and an apology which will communicate to the Complainant in writing by the General Secretary.
  • Seek clarification whether the Complainant is satisfied with the implemented action plan/remedy offered.

1.6 Completion of the Investigation stage of the procedure will not normally exceed 8 weeks.

1.7 If the complaint falls outside the scope of an Organisational Complaint Procedure, the General Secretary will contact the Complainant to discuss how their concerns be addressed by other means.

1.8 If the Complainant is satisfied with the action plan/remedy offered and confirms this in writing the complaint will be closed.

1.9 The General Secretary will acknowledge in writing the Complainant’s decision to close the complaint.

1.10 The Adjudication stage of the procedure will be invoked if:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution was inappropriate, ineffective or rejected
  • The Complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the Investigation stage, even if the UKAHPP has admitted culpability and has apologised.

1.11 The complaint cannot be closed on completion of the Investigation stage until the Complainant has confirmed in writing that they are satisfied with the outcome and withdrawn the complaint; if not the Adjudication stage of the procedure will be invoked.

2. Adjudication

2.1 An Adjudication Panel Hearing will convene within 28 days of the completion of the Investigation stage of the procedure, to determine if the UKAHPP as an organisation has operated in accordance with its governance standards, procedures and commitment to public protection.

2.2 The Adjudication Panel will consist of one Ethics Committee Member; two UKAHPP Full Accredited and Registered Members; and one Lay Member at a minimum, with no prior involvement in the complaint or relationship with the Complainant. Additional members with specialist knowledge may be co-opted as necessary.

2.3 The Adjudication Panel will nominate from its ranks a Chair who will preside over proceedings.

2.4 The Panel will make decisions on a one member one vote basis with the Chair having a casting vote if necessary.

2.5 A Complaint Coordinator will be appointed co-ordinate proceedings.

2.6 The Complaint Coordinator will attend all Adjudication Hearings and Panel Meetings, with responsibility for guiding and advising the Adjudication Panel Chair, not the Panel, on procedural points only and will not participate in deliberations and decision making.

2.7 The Complaint Coordinator is also responsible for ensuring that the Panel has access to all documentary evidence relating to a complaint.

2.8 If the UKAHPP admits culpability, the Panel may make a ruling binding on the UKAHPP without calling a formal Adjudication Hearing.

2.9 Following consultation with both parties and the Adjudication Panel the Complaints Coordinator will confirm:

  • Arrangements for a Hearing – date, time and venue
  • Who will be in attendance
  • Any professional representation

2.10 The UKAHPP’s case will be put forward by a nominated representative.

2.11 A Hearing will take place within 28 days of the Panel’s appointment, though this date may be extended at the discretion of the Complaint Coordinator if there are any difficulties in agreeing a suitable date and venue.

2.12 A Hearing may be re-arranged if sufficient notice is received from either party confirming that they are unable to attend due to extenuating circumstances or for health reasons.

2.13 Proceeding may progress in the absence of either party: if they fail to give adequate notice of nonattendance; in cases of repeated cancelation/nonattendance; or where lack of availability frustrates proceedings.

2.14 The Adjudication Panel via the General Secretary has the discretion to invite witnesses to attend the Hearing to answer questions.

2.15 The Complainant may be accompanied by a colleague or ‘McKenzie Friend’ for support. A supporter may not speak on behalf of the person they are representing or ask questions of the Panel or witnesses.

2.16 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.

2.17 With the consent of both parties and at the discretion of the Chair an electronic recording of proceedings may be made for Appeal purposes only. The recording will be held in secure conditions by the UKAHPP Administrator and will normally be deleted within 21 days of the deadline for submitting an Appeal or 21 days following completion of an Appeal.

2.18 The Adjudication Panel will convene prior to formal proceedings to determine the structure of the Hearing and to attend to any additional business relating to the Hearing. In exceptional circumstances and at the Panel’s discretion it may rule that the Complainant and UKAHPP’s Representative have no direct contact and hear their representation separately. The timing and structure of the Hearing will be determined by the Panel and include provision for:

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

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

2.20 The Hearing will be re-convened to inform both parties of the Panel’s ruling.

2.21 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 the Complaint Coordinator will inform both parties of the decision via telephone or email.

2.22 The Complaint Coordinator will confirm the Panel’s ruling in writing to both parties normally within 14 days of the Hearing.  

2.23 The Complainant will be informed of their right to submit a written appeal against the Panel’s ruling to the General Secretary within 14 days, stating how they believe the procedure was not applied in accordance with the published requirements OR how they believe the Panel’s ruling is unfair or disproportionate.

2.24 Otherwise the Panel’s ruling and recommendations will be binding and implemented by the UKAHPP Board of Directors.

3. Appeal

3.1 An Appeal Application can be submitted on procedural grounds and must be submitted in writing to the General Secretary within 28 days of the Panel’s ruling, detailing how proceedings have not been applied in accordance with the published procedure OR how any remedies are disproportionate. Any evidence relied on at the Appeal Hearing must be attached.

3.2 The General Secretary will acknowledge receipt of an Appeal within 7 days of submission and will inform the UKAHPP Representative of the fact.

3.3 The General Secretary will forward the written Appeal and any supporting evidence to association’s External Moderator whose role it is to review proceedings in order to make a ruling to uphold the Appeal or not. The External Moderator will determine which of two modes is most appropriate for conducting an appeal:

3.4 Appeal Panel Review:

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

3.4.2 The Appeal Panel may call a full Appeal Panel Hearing – if not the Panel’s   ruling will be final, there is no further right of Appeal.

3.4.3 Where possible, proceedings of the Appeal Panel Review will be governed by provisions outlined in the Appeal Panel Hearing.

3.4.4 In addition to the External Moderator, the membership of an Appeal Panel will include two UKAHPP Full Accredited and Registered Members; one Lay Member; and one Ethic Committee Member, at a minimum. Panel members will have had no prior involvement in the complaint or relationship with the Complainant or the Registrant. Additional Panel members may be co-opted with specialist knowledge as necessary.

3.5 Appeal Panel Hearing:

3.5.1 An Appeal Panel Hearing Chaired by the External Moderator will convene within 28 days of the General Secretary’s notice acknowledging receipt of the appeal.

3.5.2 The aim of an Appeal Hearing is to allow the Appellant and the Complaint Coordinator, on behalf of UKAHPP, to put forward their representations, to allow the Panel to determine whether proceedings have been discharged in accordance with the published Procedure and whether any recommendations have been applied fairly – this is not an opportunity to re-investigate the complaint.

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

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

3.5.5 The External Moderator will request the General Secretary to prepare a pack containing the Adjudication Panel Report and any documentation relating to proceedings, which will available also be made available the Appellant.

3.5.6 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.

3.5.7 The structure of the Hearing will be determined by the External Moderator to allow the Panel to arrive at the facts and make a ruling.

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

3.5.9 The Appeal Panel will consider the evidence presented 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 apply additional remedies
  • Uphold the Adjudication Panel’s ruling and modify existing remedies
  • Dismiss the Adjudication Panel’s ruling, but may put modify remedies for the UKAHPP Board to apply

3.5.10 The Panel’s decision will be communicated to both parties by the General Secretary as soon as a decision has been reached.

3.5.11 The External Moderator will provide a written report to the General Secretary who will ensure that the Panel’s rulings and any recommendations are implemented.

3.5.12 The General Secretary will write to the Complaint within 7 days of receiving the External Moderator’s Report, summarising the outcome of the Appeal and any actions or recommendation.

3.5.13 The Panel’s ruling and remedies are binding and will be implemented by the UKAHPP Board of Directors.

3.5.14 The Panel’s ruling is final there is no further right of Appeal.

4. Record Keeping

4.1 On completion of the procedure, the Complaint Coordinator will forward all hard copies of correspondence and documents relating to the complaint, held by Panel members and other officers involved in the complaint, to the UKAHPP Administrator for archiving. Once the UKAHPP Administrator has acknowledged receipt, the Complaint Coordinator will instruct Panel members and other officers to delete all electronic files relating to the complaint from their storage devises.

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

Note: Full data protection information is available on the Information Commissioners Office website

Version Control:

Version Status Description Date Completed
1.2 Approved Revision 2018/06/30
1.1 Approved Complete revision 2016/03/17