FiP Complaints Procedure
SUBMISSION OF A COMPLAINT
- 1.1 Any individual who feels that they have any reason or grounds for complaining against a member of FIP may do so in writing (including email) to the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
- 1.2 The individual raising concerns will need to:
- 1.2.1 identify the Practitioner;
- 1.2.2 provide a detailed outline of the nature of the complaint;
- 1.2.3 provide their contact details including address, telephone numbers and/or email address.
- 1.3 A complaint will be considered only if it is lodged within three years of the alleged misdemeanour.
- 1.4 The only exception to the above time limit will be in cases of alleged serious misconduct of a potentially criminal nature by a Practitioner towards the Complainant, for which the only applicable time limit shall be that as established under the United Kingdom justice system.
- 2.1 All complaints will be initially processed and handled by the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
- 2.2 Upon receipt of a complaint, the Complainant will be informed without delay but within 14 days, both verbally and in writing, that their complaint is being investigated and a timeframe provided for the investigation of the complaint.
- 2.3 The Practitioner will be notified in writing of the complaint within fourteen days of receipt of the complaint.
- 2.4 Within two weeks of the notification to the Practitioner under Clause 2.3, The Chair of the Ethics Committee will instruct a Complaint Investigator as described in Clause 3.1 for the purposes of examining the complaint.
- 2.5 The Chair of the Ethics Committee and will provide the Chair of the Executive Committee with an outline of the complaint.
- The Complaint Investigator shall be a senior member of FIP whose position in this process will be to independently collate all of the facts, details and information surrounding the complaint.
- The Complaint Investigator shall have the power to meet, correspond in writing (including email) and telephone, both the Complainant and Practitioner.
- The Complaint Investigator will consider obtaining any supervisory or consultation report deemed relevant to the complaint in question, or obtain documentation from any other relevant party.
- Once the Complaint Investigator is satisfied that all of the salient details of the complaint have been ascertained, the Complaint Investigator will compile a report which summarises the pertinent details of the complaint, identifying any possible breaches of the FIP Code of Ethics and Code of Practice.
- The report of the Complaint Investigator will be submitted to the Chair of the Ethics Committee within one calendar month from the date of receiving instructions from the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
COMPLAINT PROCESS - DETERMINATION STAGE
- 4.1 The Chair of the Ethics Committee and two other member of the Ethics Committee or Executive Committee shall examine the report of the Complaint Investigator in order to determine whether there is a case to answer by the Practitioner. The decision reached shall be deemed conclusive and final.
- 4.2 If it is deemed that the Practitioner has a case to answer, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will determine whether the complaint falls within the following three categories:
- Competence or negligence (where there are issues involving clinical matters);
- Malpractice (where the alleged complaint if of such a serious nature that the Practitioners' capacity or fitness to practice is under consideration);
- Possible criminal offences involving, for example, sexual assault, theft or fraud.
- 4.3 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall have the authority to recommend any practice requirements considered appropriate in respect of any complaint falling under Clauses 4.2.1, 4.2.2 and 4.2.3. The Chair of Ethics shall also have the authority to refer any matters of practitioner capability or fitness to the Chair of the Executive Committee.
- 4.5 The Chair of the Ethics Committee may at this stage offer and appoint or allocate mentors to provide emotional support to both the Complainant and Practitioner throughout the process as outlined in this procedure.
- 4.6 The cost of any mentoring provision shall be borne by FIP subject to the costs being reasonable and agreed in advance of any appointment.
COMPLAINT PROCESS - DISPUTE RESOLUTION
- 5.1 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall consider in the case of a complaint falling under Clause 4.2.1 whether Dispute Resolution by a duly qualified mediator (see Clause 5.3) is appropriate.
- 5.2 Dispute Resolution may include but is not limited to: mediation; facilitated conversations; and negotiation.
- 5.3 Dispute Resolution may only take place where the Complainant and Practitioner are both in agreement that this is an appropriate means of exploring and potentially resolving the issues surrounding the complaint.
- 5.4 If either the Complainant or Practitioner does not agree to Dispute Resolution as a suitable approach, the complaint will be dealt with through the Complaints Panel Process outlined in Clause 7 of this document.
- 5.5 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall have the authority to appoint any duly qualified mediator for the purposes of Dispute Resolution (the Mediator). The Mediator must not be known to either of the parties or hold or have held membership of FIP.
- 5.6 The Chair of the Ethics Committee will provide the Mediator with a copy of the report from the Complaint Investigator and any other statements or pertinent information once instruction to act in this position has been agreed.
- 5.7 The Mediator shall conduct the resolution process in such a manner as he or she determines appropriate in order to facilitate a timely settlement of the dispute. All discussions within the resolution process will be in confidence.
- 5.8 The role of the Mediator shall be to assist the parties to reach a facilitated agreement to their dispute.
- 5.9 An accurate record of the Dispute Resolution Process may be kept by the Mediator but only in strict accordance with current Data Protection legislation. These records, other than insofar as confirming the frequency and dates of meetings, shall remain confidential and shall not be used for any further function in the Complaint Process as outlined in Clause 5.12.
- 5.10 In the case of a satisfactory agreement of the process The Mediator shall inform the Chair of the Ethics Committee in writing and may recommend that any agreement reached be confirmed in writing to the parties.
- 5.11 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall have the power to require that any practitioner requirements or recommendations arising from the mediation agreement are implemented.
- 5.12 In the event that no mediation agreement is reached the Mediator shall inform the Chair of the Ethics Committee of such and advise in writing whether:
- 5.12.1 further Dispute Resolution should be undertaken;
- 5.12.2 an agreement has been reached as to the facts of the dispute but that no resolution of the dispute has been achieved.
- 5.13 Subsequent to any alleged complaint falling under Clause 5.12, the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall institute a Complaint Panel process (as outlined in Clause 7) if the Complainant indicates that they wish for the dispute to be so considered.
- 5.14 In the event that no agreement is reached in the Dispute Resolution Process, the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall instruct the Complaint Investigator to obtain any relevant additional statements from the Complainant and Practitioner.
COMPLAINT PROCESS - COMPLAINT PANEL ADMINISTRATION
- 6.1 In the event that Dispute Resolution is not agreed or an outcome is not achieved, the complaint will be referred to a Complaint Panel.
- 6.2 The Complaint Panel shall be appointed by the Chair of the Ethics Committee in consultation with the Chair of the Executive Committee.
- 6.3 The Complaint Panel shall be composed of three members; a senior FIP member, an independent qualified psychoanalytic practitioner (for example, UKCP/BACP/BPC registered) who is not a FIP member, and a lay person.
- 6.4 The Complaint Panel shall agree to convene for the purposes of hearing the complaint.
- 6.5 The Complaint Panel shall elect a Chair from their number prior to the date of the panel sitting.
- 6.6 In the event that no agreement can be reached in respect of the election of the Chair, the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall have the power to nominate one of the Panel as Chair.
- 6.7 Copies of all relevant documentation relating to the complaint including the report of the Complaint Investigator (and any supporting documentation) will be forwarded to the members of the Complaint Panel by the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
- 6.8 Upon consideration and evaluation of the complaint documentation in Clause 6.7, the Complaint Panel members shall have the power to request that the Complaint Investigator obtain clarification or any further information deemed appropriate.
- 6.9 The Complaint Panel Chair in consultation with the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall determine the place, date and time the complaint will be considered.
- 6.10 The Chair of the Ethics Committee will give at least 21 days notice in writing to the Complainant and Practitioner of the details of the Complaint Panel sitting.
- 6.11 Any request for postponement of the Complaint Panel sitting date by either the Complainant or the Practitioner shall be communicated to the Chair of the Ethics Committee in writing, citing the precise grounds and, if necessary, providing evidence for the postponement request.
- 6.12 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall inform the members of the Complaint Panel of the grounds for the requested postponement and upon due deliberation of the facts, the Complaint Panel Chair shall notify the Chair of the Ethics Committee whether or not the request has been approved by the Complaint Panel.
- 6.13 In the event of an agreed postponement the procedure outlined in Clause 6.9 will be followed.
- 6.14 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall have the power to:
- 6.14.1 pay the members of the Complaint Panel such allowances and expenses as are deemed necessary;
- 6.14.2 pay any other expenses pertinent to the Complaint Panel sitting.
- 6.15 The Complaint Panel will meet in London unless pre-agreed by consent of the Complainant and Practitioner.
COMPLAINT PROCESS - PANEL HEARING
- 7.1 The Complaint Panel shall in no way be construed as a judicial hearing. The Complainant and Practitioner shall have the right to attend, along with their FIP mentor and/or a friend or supporter to be present at any Complaint Panel sitting. Such individuals will be present as observers only and shall not be permitted to act in an official or legal capacity.
- 7.2 The Complaint Panel sitting shall be conducted as far as is possible in a non-adversarial manner with the sole purpose of assessing whether or not the alleged complaint is upheld and if so to recommend sanctions.
- 7.3 It is recognised that whilst it is important that the Complainant attends this part of the Complaints Process, some may find this experience potentially overwhelming. The Complaint Panel will view any request by the Complainant to be excused attendance sympathetically. Under such circumstances the Complainant will be offered the opportunity to submit a final statement which will be read and considered by the Complaint Panel at the sitting.
- 7.4 In the event that, for whatever reason, the Complainant or Practitioner chooses not to attend the Complaint Panel sitting, the Complaint Panel shall have the power to proceed in their absence.
- 7.5 The Complaint Panel shall have the power to request the attendance of any witness if they require further information which they are unable to obtain from any written statement provided.
- 7.6 The Complaint Investigator shall be present at the sitting to answer any questions arising.
- 7.7 The Complaint Panel shall have the power to consider the alleged complaint either through written statements or oral statements.
- 7.8 A Panel Note Taker shall be appointed to the Complaint Panel but solely in the capacity to keep an accurate record in writing of the proceedings at the sitting. This appointment shall be made by the Chair of the Ethics Committee.
- 7.9 Procedure of the sitting:
- 7.9.1 the Complaint Panel Chair shall read out the details of the alleged complaint;
- 7.9.2 the Complainant shall have the right to address the Complaint Panel;
- 7.9.3 the Practitioner shall have the right to respond;
- 7.9.4 the Complaint Panel members may ask any questions of all parties involved, the Complaint Investigator and any witnesses attending;
- 7.9.5 the Complainant may make a final address to the Complaint Panel if they so choose;
- 7.9.6 the Practitioner may make a final address to the Complaint Panel if they so choose;
- 7.9.7 the Complaint Panel members may ask for any clarification of any point arising from the sitting;
- 7.9.7 the Complaint Panel shall retire to consider the submissions;
- 7.9.8 decisions of the Complaint Panel shall be taken by a simple majority;
- 7.9.9 no Complaint Panel member may abstain from voting.
- 7.10 Once the Complaint Panel has come to an evaluation of the complaint under consideration, the Complaint Panel Chair shall notify the Chair of the Ethics Committee as soon as possible in writing of their decision as to whether or not the complaint is upheld, how this decision was reached, and how they recommend proceeding along with any sanction/s recommended.
- 7.11 In accordance with Clause 7.10 the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall inform both the Complainant and the Practitioner in writing of the Complaint Panel decision no later than 7 days after the sitting.
CONDUCT OF THE HEARING
- 8.1 Those taking part in the Complaints Panel are required to act in a manner that does not breach confidentiality and in a way that does not prejudice or improperly influence the outcome of the Panel.
- 8.2 Any breach of the above requirement will be deemed to be a breach of the Codes of Ethics and Practice and liable to a separate complaint under this Procedure.
- 8.3 In the event of any such breach, the Procedure may be halted by the Chair of the Complaint Panel and recommenced or adapted as may appear to her or him to be fair and appropriate.
- 8.4 Members of the Panel appointed to participate in the procedure in any capacity have a duty to declare any interest which may be seen as casting doubt upon their ability to perform the role with impartiality.
- 8.5 The Chair of the Panel will take into account the views, if any, of the Complainant and the person complained against when deciding whether any member of the Panel should be replaced within the Procedure upon any complaint.
- 9.1 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall notify the Practitioner in writing by registered post of any sanction imposed.
- 9.2 The implementation of any sanction shall be delayed until the appeal period in Clause 11 has either expired or alternatively the appeal has been heard.
- 9.3 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall have the power subject to Clause 11 to inform any other relevant organisation of a sanction imposed on the Practitioner.
- 9.4 The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall at all times keep the Chair of the Executive Committee informed of the status and details of any sanctions imposed against the Practitioner.
- 9.5 Practice requirements and recommendations
- 9.5.1 these may include but are not limited to the Practitioner consulting with a member of the Ethics Committee or a senior FIP member, to assist in reflecting on the nature of the complaint in an effort to promote facilitated and enhanced understanding, which may include referral for further training, consultation or continuing professional development in areas identified from the complaint if upheld. The Practitioner shall co-operate with the Chair of the Ethics Committee to implement the sanctions recommended by the Complaint Panel and the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall conduct regular reviews with the Practitioner and FIP member appointed to assist, thereby ensuring that the purpose of any practice requirements or recommendations are fully complied with and comprehensively met.
- 9.6 Withdrawal of membership.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH SANCTIONS
- 10.1 Any failure to comply with sanctions will be deemed to be a breach of the Codes of Ethics and Practice and will be treated as such.
APPEALING AGAINST A COMPLAINT PANEL DECISION
- 11.1 The Practitioner shall have the right to appeal in respect of a Complaint Panel decision and any sanction imposed provided that any appeal is submitted in writing citing the detailed grounds (under Clause 11.3) for the appeal to the Chair of the Executive Committee within 14 days of receipt of notification of decision under Clause 7.10.
- 11.2 The Complainant shall have the right to appeal provided that any appeal is submitted in writing citing the detailed grounds (under Clause 11.3) for the appeal to the Chair of the Executive Committee within 14 days of receipt of notification of the decision under 7.10.
- 11.3 Grounds for Appeal:
- 11.3.1 The procedure set out in this document was not adhered to and consequently had a fundamental impact of the decision reached by the Complaint Panel.
- 11.3.2 The Complaint Panel fundamentally failed in its duty to properly assess and evaluate the submissions laid before them.
- 11.3.3 Matters arising subsequent to the Complaint Panel sitting fundamentally prejudiced the decision reached.
- 11.3.4 Any sanction imposed is fundamentally disproportionate to the circumstances surrounding the complaint.
- 11.4 The Chair of the Executive Committee shall keep the involved parties informed of the status of any appeal.
- 11.5 An appeal will be considered by a panel, appointed by the Chair of the Executive Committee, an independent qualified psychoanalytic practitioner (for example, UKCP/BACP/BPC registered) and two senior FIP practitioners, all of whom hitherto have not been involved in the complaint.
- 11.6 The Appeal Panel shall consider the appeal within 28 days subsequent to the date of the appeal being lodged.
- 11.7 The Appeal Panel shall consider the matter in accordance with Clause 11.3 on the basis of the written submission from the appellant, along with the papers provided to the original Complaint Panel and the notes taken by the Note Taker to the original Complaint Panel.
- 11.8 The Appeal Panel shall formulate their decision in accordance with the following:
- 11.8.1 to uphold the original finding and any sanction imposed;
- 11.8.2 to uphold the original decision and to amend the sanction;
- 11.8.3 to amend the original finding and impose such sanction or sanctions as the Appeal Panel consider appropriate;
- 11.8.4 to reverse the decision of the original Complaint Panel and rescind the original sanction.
- 11.9 The decision of the Appeal Panel shall be taken by a simple majority. No Appeal Panel member may abstain from voting.
- 11.10 The Appeal Panel shall inform the Chair of the Executive Committee without undue delay of their decision in writing as to whether or not the appeal is upheld, how this decision was reached, and how they recommend proceeding in accordance with Clause 11.8. Thereafter the Chair of the Executive Committee will promptly inform the parties involved of the outcome in writing and providing a copy of the Appeal Panel written decision.
- 11.11 The findings of the Appeal Panel shall be deemed conclusive and final. There shall be no further right of appeal beyond this point under the FIP complaints procedure. The Chair of the Executive Committee shall, however, have a duty to inform the Parties whether any external route of appeal exists.
- 11.12 The Chair of the Executive Committee shall have the power to:
- 11.12.1 pay the members of the Appeal Panel such allowances and expenses as are deemed necessary;
- 11.12.2 pay any other expenses pertinent to the Appeal Panel sitting.
RESIGNATION OF MEMBERSHIP
- 12.1 No Practitioner against whom a complaint has been lodged shall have the right to resign membership during any stage of the process outlined in the Complaints Procedure.
AMENDMENTS TO THIS COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
- 13.1 FIP recognises, as a responsible self-regulating organisation, that from time to time this procedural document may require amendment. FIP hereby reserves the right to undertake any such amendments as it deems appropriate and necessary. Any such amendments will be circulated to all members within 28 days of being approved.
- 14.1 FIP will issue guidelines to the Chair of the Ethics Committee, Complaint Investigator, Mentors, the Panel Administrator, the Complaint Panel members, the Appeal Panel members and the Chair of the Executive Committee in order to ensure that the procedure outlined in this document is fully adhered to. These will be available to all members upon request.