Complaints and appeals

Page owner: Standards director

The complaints procedure

The SfEP rarely receives complaints, but it investigates each one thoroughly and even-handedly. If you have a complaint, please email complaints@sfep.org.uk or contact the SfEP office. The complaints and appeals procedures are briefly explained below, with links to the relevant documents.

The person complained of (the complainee) must be an SfEP member; the complainant may or may not belong to the Society. Both will be asked to provide evidence. Every case is different, and members of the complaint panel aim to be scrupulously fair to all parties.

Complaints

When a complaint is received, the chair appoints a complaint handler and a disciplinary committee of three or more directors or former directors. All their contacts with the complainant and complainee go through the complaint handler.

Briefly, the complaint panel normally have 28 days to produce a detailed report with their recommendations, on which the SfEP council votes. The complaint may be rejected. If the complaint is upheld, in whole or in part, any disciplinary action is proportionate and appropriate. The complaint handler promptly informs both sides of the council's decision(s) and sends them both a copy of the complaint panel's report.

All stages of handling a complaint – who does what, and when – are shown on the complaints flowchart (39KB PDF).

Appeals

Both sides are also told that they have a right to appeal within 28 days. They must explain what part of the council's decision they are appealing against, and why; they can also submit further evidence. The chair appoints an appeal panel, none of whom may have been on the complaint panel in the same case. They have 28 days to review all the evidence and the previous decision, and to report with their recommendations, on which the SfEP council then votes. All stages of handling a complaint – who does what, and when – are shown on the appeals flowchart (41KB PDF). The full procedure is documented in the Complaints and Appeals Procedure (221KB PDF), sections 7 to 11.

What happens afterwards

If a complaint is upheld, in whole or in part, the investigation and its result will be reported to the members of SfEP. However, the names of the complainant and complainee will not be reported, except that the complainee may be named if they are expelled from the Society.

Disciplinary actions can range from advice, written warning, retraining or mentoring to downgrading of membership or expulsion. The complainant may also be given advice.