This Complainants Procedure is designed to hear and address our clients' concerns about ASIS members. We aim to respond to submissions within 10 days

Contents:

  • Principles

  • Instigation of complaints procedure

  • Overview of the process

  • Complaints Procedure in Detail

    • Stage 1 – Mediation

    • Stage 2 – Complaints Procedure - Written Submissions

      • a. Initial Steps

      • b. Ethics Panel Assessment

  • Types of Sanctions

  • Appeal

  • Monitoring

  • Non-compliance

  • Other Points

  • Database

  • ASIS Findings

 

Principles

This process is based on the following principles:

  • Emphasis on fair, fast, timely and transparent resolution to avoid unnecessary stress for all parties, within the limits of a voluntary organisation.

  • A resolution process that is supportive of all parties.

  • Proportionate response.

  • A clear, consistent and independent process.

  • Commitment to transparency through reporting at the Annual General Meeting and publication of findings on this page.

  • Commitment to inform other public bodies about relevant issues both for legal compliance and best practice reasons.

 

Instigation of complaints procedure

We will instigate the complaints procedure if we receive a complaint about a practitioner that we feel warrants further investigation regarding their conduct or fitness to practise.
 

Relevant matters might be raised by:

  • A member of the public

  • Another member of ASIS

  • A member of another, related, public body or professional organisation

 

Overview of the process

Stage 1

Resolution through mediation. If the issue cannot be resolved through mediation, we then move to written submissions..

Stage 2

Our complaints procedure is overseen by our Ethics Panel. For reasons of impartiality, the Ethics Panel includes practitioners and experts for consultation who are not ASIS members, in addition to members of ASIS.

1a. The Ethics Panel will request and assess written submissions from all parties.

1b. The Panel may request a meeting between the involved parties. Any such meeting could be in person or by video conferencing and will be recorded. If the parties decide to attend in person, they are responsible for their own costs of attending.

2. Distribution of ASIS' Findings and recommendations to all parties involved

3. Sharing submissions from all parties with all parties.

4. Publishing the Findings here to remain on view for a minimum of one year.

5. Developing and maintaining a confidential database of complaints.

6. If necessary, taking action in the case of non-compliance by practitioners.

 

Complaints Procedure in Detail

Initiating a complaint

  • To make a complaint or raise a concern, the complainant first needs to contact the Chair of the Ethics Committee (“Chair”) by email info@the-asis.org.

  • The Chair will assess the seriousness of the complaint and the implications for the member's practice, offer options for how this can be resolved and identify if other authorities need to be informed.

  • If the complainant is keen to try resolution through mediation in the first instance, they will be referred to a mediator / mediation team.

 

Stage 1 - Mediation

Mediation sessions are conducted by an experienced practitioner who is either a member of ASIS or a non-member who is familiar with the nature of the work of the ASIS practitioner in question; has mediation experience; and who both the complainant and therapist express written confidence in. It can take place by video conferencing (e.g. Zoom, Skype) or in person.

Any costs of the process will be met 50:50 by the complainant and the practitioner.

If either party chooses to engage additional expertise, for example a solicitor or external adviser, the cost will be met in full by that individual.

If the issue is successfully resolved to the mutual agreement of all concerned, the complainant and the practitioner sign a completion agreement, outlining the agreed actions, signalling the end of the dispute and committing them to any terms that have been agreed during the process, which entails the practitioner agreeing to these terms voluntarily.
 

Stage 2 – Complaints Procedure - written submissions

If mediation is not agreeable to either party and/or no agreement is reached, or if either party is not happy with the outcome of mediation, the Complaints Procedure commences with written submissions.

a. Initial Steps

The complainant will be asked to submit a written complaint and submit this to the Chair. If the Chair does not feel there is sufficient information to support the allegation(s), they will write to the complainant requesting clarification. The complainant may resubmit the concern again (once only) for clarification.

The Chair will also reassess at this stage if other authorities need to be informed of the nature of the complaint, such as the practitioner's training organisation.

If the content of the complaint suggests that a practitioner’s practice is putting the public at risk, an 'interim suspension from ASIS order' can be placed on the practitioner (when the online ASIS practitioner listing is in place this can be indicated publicly by the member's temporary removal).

A member of the Ethics Panel will ask the practitioner to submit a written response to the complaint received.

In the interests of transparency, both submissions will be shared with each party, either at the end of the process or earlier as deemed appropriate.

 

b. Ethics Panel Assessment

The Ethics Panel, consisting of the Chair and two or more members of the Ethics Panel will review the specific complaints and respond to each in their written Findings which may include specific recommendations or sanctions. The Findings will be will be notified to all participants in writing, logged on the confidential Complaints Database and published here for a period of one year (minimum).

A complaint can be quashed or upheld.

 

Types of Sanctions

The types of sanctions that can be imposed if a complaint is upheld by the Ethics Panel may include one or more of the following:

  • Practitioner is required to apologise in writing to the complainant, acknowledging their mistakes or errors in judgment and what they would do differently in future.

  • A warning letter is issued to the practitioner outlining areas of specific conduct issues or misjudgment.

  • The Committee requests that the practitioner submits a written report to the panel within a certain time period outlining what they have learned from this experience.

  • A requirement for further training over a specific time period is issued

  • A requirement for additional supervision or mentoring over a specific time period is issued.

  • Conditions are imposed on the practitioner’s practice for a specific time period.

  • A suspension order is issued for a period of up to two years, usually accompanied by a requirement for additional training/supervision, with assessment as to readiness for readmission at the end of the agreed period

  • The practitioner’s registration with ASIS is terminated. No refund of membership fees will be offered in this case and there may be implications for associated insurance held by the practitioner.

 

Appeal

  • A practitioner may appeal against a sanction if they feel it is too severe, or if they believe there has been an error in the conduct of the proceedings of the complaints process.

  • Appeals must be submitted within 28 days of the original decision to The Executive Committee.

  • If the Executive Committee discovers that there were errors in the procedural process that affected the outcome, the complaint will be referred to another Assessment (with at least one new Ethics Panel member or by the Executive Committee itself).

  • The Executive Committee may dismiss the Appeal or amend the outcome as it sees fit.

 

Monitoring

The Ethics Committee will monitor the actions requested of a practitioner for the appropriate time and update the database accordingly.
 

Non-compliance

If a practitioner does not comply with the sanctions, or is unable to give a reasonable explanation as to why they have not complied, the Ethics Panel will assess next actions, ultimately leading to terminating the practitioner’s registration if they do not comply and cooperate with them.

 

Other Points

The Complaints Procedure is valid for all members.

Any costs to be incurred by ASIS in the process must, unless in exceptional circumstances, be approved in advance by the Executive Committee.

This procedure is valid for anyone to make a complaint so long as the practitioner was on the ASIS register when the alleged incident took place and is still on the register when the complaint is submitted.

Complaints should be generally be made within 6 months of the incident occurring.

If a practitioner resigns to frustrate or avoid the complaints process, ASIS will refuse to accept their resignation until the complaint has been fully investigated.

If an allegation is brought regarding a practitioner’s physical or mental health, the member may be invited to attend an assessment with a suitably qualified medical practitioner appointed by ASIS at its own expense.

If a complaint is issued against members of the Executive Committee or Ethics Panel, they will be excluded from the specific proceedings whilst this case is being reviewed. If the case is dismissed they will be able to resume their role in full.

 

Database

All complaints will be logged onto a secure and confidential central database, cross-referenced with the membership database.

The database will:

  • Track how the complaint was handled

  • Contain details of the outcome

  • Log progress on follow-up and monitoring

  • Log which complaints were referred to outside bodies and which outside bodies were informed of the nature of the complaint

  • Record time taken to deal with each complaint, which will be published in an annual report

  • The information contained in the database will be used to publish an annual report disclosing

  • Number of complaints handled, with a summary of process and outcome of each.

  • The amount of time taken, and number of officers of ASIS required, to deal with complaints.

  • All significant costs (meeting venues, legal support etc).

  • Any other appropriate data that shows ASIS' commitment to responsible practices, honesty, openness, integrity and respect for individuals

 

ASIS Findings