CFAR Complaints Procedure
Organisational Complaints Procedure
Organisational Grievances fall under the remit of CFAR’s Management Committee and are separate from complaints concerning breaches of ethical principles and codes of professional conduct. (See below: Complaints Procedure: Breaches of Ethical Principles and Codes of Professional Conduct).
The purpose of CFAR’s Organisational Complaints Procedure is to provide a comprehensive and fair set of procedures to examine any claim by a CFAR member, trainee or student that, as an organisation and via its procedures and/or representatives, CFAR has in some way acted in an unfair manner in relation to its members, trainees or students.
A. Organisational Complaints Procedure
The Organisational Complaints Procedure has three stages. The first stage is an informal stage and represents a stage that is considered good practice in the handling of grievances within most organisations. Any member, trainee or student of CFAR who has a grievance would normally be expected to first raise their grievance in this way, though this in no way interferes with that person’s right to immediately or subsequently raise a formal grievance.
The formal organisational grievance procedure is comprised of two stages: the formal stage requires the formation of a panel to hear the grievance; the appeals stage provides the means and grounds for appealing the outcome of any such hearing.
- Informal stage: At this stage any member, trainee or student who has a grievance with an action taken by or on behalf of CFAR should raise their grievance directly and in the first place with the person, persons, or committee where this grievance is an issue. It may be that with open discussion and clarification of the issue(s) involved the grievance may be resolved. This action should be raised and completed within six weeks.
- Formal stage: Any person or persons bringing a formal grievance should notify this in writing to the Chair of CFAR. Upon receiving such notice, the Chair will then have the responsibility of establishing a panel to hear the grievance either immediately, or as soon as is practical. However, if the grievance is in relation to the Chair of CFAR the grievance should be addressed to the Management Committee (hereinafter ‘MC)’ which, as directors of CFAR, has the responsibility to appoint a director to oversee the handling of the grievance.
2.1 The panel to hear the grievance will be made up of three people: the first two will be comprised of one person from the MC and one person from the Training Committee, each of whom has been appointed by the Chair or an appointed CFAR director. The third person will be a CFAR member whose appointment will be agreed jointly by the person(s) bringing the grievance and the Chair, or an appointed CFAR director. This third person will chair the panel.
2.2 Following its formation, the appointed panel shall then schedule a date to hear the grievance, ideally within three weeks or as expeditiously as possible.
2.3 Prior to the hearing date, all parties involved will be advised that they may bring representatives, call witnesses, question witnesses and offer a summary of their case. All documents pertaining to the grievance must be with the panel a minimum of five working days before the panel meets to hear the grievance. The decision of the panel will formally be conveyed to all parties within five working days of the panel reaching a conclusion. All recommendations made by the panel will also be passed to the MC who, as CFAR’s directors, are responsible for any action that may need to be taken.
3. Appeals stage: If after receiving the panel’s decision the person or persons who brought the grievance, or the person or persons who was the object of the grievance, still feels aggrieved then they have twenty-eight days to lodge an appeal with the Chair of the MC or, if this person is temporarily unavailable, with a relevant member of the MC. No appeal will be entertained after this period.
3.1 Any appeal lodged must be in writing and clearly outline the original grievance and any supporting evidence, as well as contain a statement as to the grounds for making the appeal. Such grounds shall be restricted to the emergence of new evidence surrounding the grievance and/or a failure to follow proper procedure in the hearing of the original grievance. If grounds for the appeal are established the MC will then arrange a date for the appeal to be heard and notify all parties of this while also informing all parties of the procedures that will be followed by the MC. Concurrently, the MC, as director of CFAR, shall dissolve the original panel and convene a new panel to hear the appeal. This specially convened panel shall be comprised of CFAR members who are non-MC members. A panel appointed for this purpose may have fewer members than the MC itself.
3.2 Once notified of the MC’s decision to consider the appeal, both complainant and respondent may submit written representations to the specially convened panel. If after hearing new evidence, the specially convened panel finds cause to modify the decision reached by the original panel, it may advise the MC, but it is the sole responsibility of the MC to:
- (a) overturn the original recommendation(s) and find no cause for grievance
- (b) reconsider the disciplinary action recommended by the original panel and substitute a different course of disciplinary action
- (c) uphold the original decision
3.3 The MC will formally notify all parties of its decision within five working days of concluding and this decision will be the final decision by CFAR on this issue without prejudice to any party to take the issue further in law.
In so far as either the complainant or respondent is a member of the UKCP, it is important to note that UKCP’s Complaints and Conduct Process is not currently in a position of hearing grievances made about UKCP members when the grievance is made about them in their professional capacity as supervisor, or teacher or tutor.
Complaints: Breaches of Ethical Principles and Codes of Professional Conduct
Complaints concerning breaches of ethical principles and codes of professional conduct fall under the remit of CFAR’s Ethics Committee* and are separate from any claim made by a member, student or trainee against CFAR, its representatives or its organisational policies and procedures. (see above: Organisational Complaints)
The purpose of CFAR’s Complaints Procedure is to provide a comprehensive and fair set of procedures to consider any claim made by a member of the public – or by a CFAR member – that a member, or trainee, through their actions or conduct, is in breach of the ethical principles and codes of professional conduct as set down in CFAR’s Code of Ethics (see Article 10); and CFAR’s Code of Practice.
Members of CFAR who are registrants of UKCP shall also commit to the following:
(1) UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct (here);
(2) UKCP’s Complaints and Conduct Process, November 2017 (here) (see Section 2, Scope of the Complaints and Conduct Process, 2.1, 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.4)
B. Complaints Procedure
A complaint against a CFAR member or trainee shall be in writing and shall be passed to the Chair of the Ethics Committee (hereinafter ‘EC’. Following receipt of a complaint, the EC and/or its Chair will execute any necessary actions within a reasonable timeframe, ie, either immediately or as soon as is practical.
- Preliminary stage: At this stage, the EC Chair shall decide whether mediation is the appropriate option. If so, the Chair shall convene a meeting between the complainant and a member of the EC, or in certain circumstances another member of CFAR. This informal process of mediation can lead to a variety of outcomes dependent on the particularity of the case. If mediation fails to provide a satisfactory outcome then the Chair will decide if the complaint constitutes a prima facie breach of CFAR’s Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct. This decision should be arrived at as expeditiously as possible. The decision will be conveyed in writing to the complainant by the EC Chair within twenty-one days.
- Formal stage: If the EC is satisfied that there is a prima facie case that cannot be resolved via mediation requiring formal adjudication, the EC shall:
a) fix a date for the adjudication of the complaint and notify this to the member, trainee or student against whom the complaint has been made (hereinafter ‘the respondent’). The date for adjudication will be within forty-two days of the notice given.
b) forthwith give written notice of the complaint to the respondent, accompanied by copies
of the original complaint and any other relevant documents, and a fair summary of the issues at stake. Copies of these documents will also be sent to the complainant.
c) Shall appoint a Complaints Panel to act on its behalf. A panel appointed for this purpose may have fewer members than constitutes the EC itself.
3. The proceedings of the EC shall in all respects be in accordance with rules of evidence and natural justice. Members of the Complaints Panel shall be chosen from a pool of suitably qualified members elected for the purpose of serving on complaints procedure but have not participated in the prima facie case decision. The EC shall be entitled at any stage of the proceedings to appoint any person professionally qualified to advise the panel of any matter arising and, if considered necessary, to attend the adjudication to give such advice.
4. The complainant and the respondent shall at all stages of the proceedings be entitled, at their own expense, to legal or other representation, to give oral evidence to the panel and to call witnesses. Where such evidence is given, each party or his/her representative shall be entitled to cross-examine the other party or his/her witnesses. At the conclusion of the evidence the complainant and the respondent may make representations to the panel.
5. Save as shall be inconsistent with these rules. The conclusions shall be as determined by the Complaints Panel.
C: Disciplinary Action
- If the Complaints Panel shall find that the complaint has been proved and that CFAR’s Code of Ethics, and/or Code of Conduct has been breached, it shall have the power to take one or more of the following courses of action in relation to the respondent.
- The Complaints Panel shall have the power to recommend to the MC the following penalties:
(a) A warning in such form as considered appropriate
(b) A requirement as to further supervision, analysis or training as considered appropriate
(c) Suspension from CFAR for such period as considered appropriate
(d) Expulsion from CFAR
3. The Complaints Panel shall without delay notify in writing the complainant, the respondent and the MC of its decision(s) and recommendations. The MC may then take responsibility for any further action.
4. Appeals Stage (Complaints): The respondent may within twenty-eight days of the date of such notification give written notice of appeal against any disciplinary action to be taken by the MC. Such notice will be considered only if grounds for an appeal can be firmly established; namely, if there is new evidence relevant to the case or if CFAR’s procedures for hearing the complaint have not been followed.
The MC as director of CFAR is responsible for establishing that grounds for an appeal exist. In the case of recommendations made by the Complaints Panel, the MC shall choose to act on the recommendation(s) of the Complaints Panel or, as necessary, convene an Appeals Panel. This panel shall be comprised of CFAR members specially convened for considering the appeal. Henceforth, complainant, respondent and all concerned parties shall be notified of this action.
Following notification of the MC’s decision, to hear the appeal, both complainant and respondent may submit written representations to the specially convened panel, which may:
- overturn the recommendation(s) of the Complaints Panel, or
- reconsider the disciplinary action recommended by the Complaints Panel and choose to substitute a different course of disciplinary action.
- uphold the original decision.
- Insofar as the respondent is a member or under the guidance of UKCP, the MC is charged with communicating to the UKCP the final determination. It is to be noted that any appeal to the UKCP, following a CFAR appeals hearing determination, needs to be received by the UKCP within 28 days of this hearing.
A budget of £500 will be allowed to cover the expenses of any hearing including all legal costs in light of the resources that are reasonably available to CFAR as a charity. Any hearing which involves costs in excess of this will have to be approved directly by the Management Committee and further monies allocated only if this is deemed to be in the interest of the charity as a whole.
*Composition of the Ethics Committee
- The EC shall be a standing committee and shall consist of a Chair and three members.
- The EC shall comprise two members of CFAR. The third and fourth member of the EC shall be independent of CFAR, one of whom should ideally possess expertise and experience in the handling of such matters.
- All four members of the EC shall be appointed by the Members’ Council of CFAR.
- All EC members shall be appointed for a period of three years and may be re-appointed.