This category is for a client of a student or trainee of NCHP or a member of NSTT. Please note that clients of members of UKCP must use UKCP’s Complaints and Conduct Process directly.
Before bringing a complaint, there is an option to discuss the issue with NCHP’s Dispute Resolution Officer to explore the situation and clarify the appropriate means of resolving the issue and determining the outcome.
The Regulatory Complaints Process must begin before the expiration of one year from the date that the situation arose unless the matter falls within the public interest, which the Ethics Committee will determine. The Complaints Officer must receive the Grievance and Complaints Form to begin the process.
All complaints processes are confidential unless all parties expressly agree on a waiver. NCHP reserves the right to publish any sanctions and relevant clauses of the breached code of ethics. Any breach of confidentiality may result in the withdrawal of access to this process.
Once The Complaints Officer receives the form, the following process begins:
- The Complaints Officer will confirm receipt, ask any clarifying questions necessary and request all documentary evidence pertaining to the complaint within seven days. The Complainant will have fourteen days to submit all documentary evidence and witness statements (including their own) upon which they intend to rely. No further evidence from the Complainant will be allowed into the process after the fourteen days unless The Complaints Officer agrees upon an extension. The complaints Officer pays attention to defining a realistically achievable desired outcome which cannot include financial settlements.
- The Complaints Officer will set up a Dropbox folder (The Repository), place the form (and any other documentation submitted) within it and give access to both parties. Because they may need to contact their insurer, the Respondent will have thirty days from the date of first access to the Repository to place their evidence (documents and witness statements, including their own) into it. Detailed guidance on using the Repository is provided for those unfamiliar with Dropbox.
- No further evidence will be admitted from the Complainant after the fourteen days and none from the Respondent after the expiration of the thirty-day period after that.
- Before completing the Regulatory Complaints Procedure, any resignation from the NSTT will be received but not accepted until the process is complete or the complaint withdrawn.
- The Complaints Officer will present the case to the Ethics Committee. The Committee determines whether the case will proceed within fourteen days. The Committee dismisses cases outside this process or when insufficient evidence exists that a breach of a code of ethics has occurred. Dismissed complainants can resubmit the complaint once.
- Where the same or similar matter is considered or adjudicated in another forum (including the criminal justice system), NCHP reserves the right to pause the process and consider the findings before deciding whether to continue this process.
- In the event of dismissal, the parties receive the reasons for the decision.
- If the case continues within this process, it moves to the pre-hearing level where:
- We offer mediation unless the Ethics Committee determines that the potential need for sanctions would make this inappropriate. If either party refuses mediation, we require a reason for this refusal, which The Ethics Committee will consider. A mediator will be appointed if both parties accept, and The Complaints Officer schedules an in-person (live or online video) mediation. Both parties must facilitate this happening within 21 days of the request.
- Mediation will be conducted based on the principle of seeking repair to any interpersonal rupture (‘the principle of rupture and repair’).
- The mediator will write a report to be shared with both parties and sent to The Ethics Committee. If both parties agree on a satisfactory conclusion, the case will be closed. If not, this process will continue.
- Both parties to the process may only rely upon evidence that has been placed in the Repository no later than fourteen days before a level one hearing.
- Level One Hearing:
- The Complaints Officer will produce a report within thirty days to inform a panel consisting of a Chair, two ordinary members and a lay member, who will review the materials provided and determine whether there is a potential breach of any relevant code of ethics.
- The panel will discuss the matter within twenty-one days of receiving the materials.
- If they find evidence to suggest a breach, they will provide a report stipulating the clauses in question.
- The panel presents findings (the clauses considered and the evidence submitted) to the parties within fourteen days of the hearing.
- Level Two Hearing:
- A panel of a Chair, two ordinary members and a lay member (different members from those in the level one hearing) is convened. In addition, an in-person hearing (either live or online video) convenes. A three-week hearing window opens, and parties provide details of their availability (and that of their witnesses). The Complaints Officer will fix a date when all parties can attend within that window.
- A friend may accompany both parties, but the friend will not be an active participant in the hearing.
- Failure of either party to attend or give less than seven days’ notice of an inability to attend is noted by the panel’s Chair, who will decide whether to continue in the party’s absence, adjourn or end the process.
- The Complaints Officer conducts the hearing, and both parties will present their positions and evidence. Both parties and any panel member can ask questions to clarify their understanding.
- Witnesses will attend by online video and must make themselves available. Non-attendance of prior-arranged witnesses will not be a cause for adjournment unless due to circumstances beyond their control, in which cases the panel will adjudicate.
- The panel will decide based on the balance of probabilities test. Then, it will report findings and any recommendations of sanctions to The Ethics Committee for ratification and, after that, to the parties. The first step is within fourteen days, and the second step is within a further seven days.
- If either party believes that the outcome of a level one or two hearing is unjust, the relevant party will have thirty days to appeal.
- A decision may only be appealed on the grounds of a procedural irregularity or new evidence coming to light that could not reasonably be presented at the initial hearing.
- The Appellant must lodge the grounds of their Appeal in writing (with any documentary evidence in support and any witness statements, including their own) into The Repository.
- The Complaints Officer notifies the relevant party of the Appeal as soon as the Appeal documents are lodged.
- The Respondent in the Appeal will have thirty days from the date of notification of the Appeal to place their evidence (documents and witness statements, including their own) into The Repository.
- An Appeal Panel consisting of The NCHP Senior Management team, The Ethics Committee and a lay member will convene within twenty-one days to consider the Appeal.
- The Appellant and Respondent to the Appeal are notified of the result of the Appeal within twenty-one days of the Appeal Panel’s decision.
- The Appeal Panel’s decision is final.
The Complaints Officer can adjust all timescales in reasonable circumstances.
All communication is to be conducted by email except for mediation or in-person hearings.
All panel members must consider and declare potential conflicts of interest. The Ethics Committee determines whether the member can continue in their role or be replaced. In addition, ethics Committee members with a potential conflict of interest may be recused for a particular case if deemed necessary.
Ethics Committee and panel members will have access to the Repository at the appropriate juncture and only for as long as they are involved in the process. Access is removed on completion of the process, and data retained according to NCHP’s Privacy Notice.
The NCHP and NSTT reserve the right to notify in writing the CNHC and/or the UKCP or any other relevant regulatory or governing body with which the respondent to a regulatory complaint may be registered or affiliated of the outcome of a regulatory complaint.
The NCHP and NSTT also reserve the right to publish the outcome of a regulatory complaint where in the public interest to do so in accordance with the NCHP/NSTT publication of decisions policy.
Date of the last amendment to this document and ratification by The Academic Board – 16/5/2022