Complaints against Registrants
PTUK's Complaint Procedures
We try to ensure that all PTUK members deliver the highest standards of therapeutic care. However, if you become unhappy with the service that you are given, or are worried about the conduct of a PTUK member, we suggest that you talk to our registrant first about your concerns to try and sort things out informally. Every practicing member has to have a Clinical Supervisor, so you may wish to talk to them as well.
However, if for any reason this is not possible, or hasn’t solved the issue, then you can always raise your concerns directly with us. To make complaints hearings as quick, fair and effective as possible we have a three stage process:
- Pre-hearing assessment
- Professional Conduct Hearing
Phone 01825 761143 stating that you wish to complain about a PTUK Member, with brief details and your own contact phone number. You will then be given an email or postal address for you to provide more details. If you call out of office hours please leave a message. We aim to respond within 48 hours.
Alternatively you can write to:
The Chief Executive
Play Therapy UK
The Coach House
Mark your letter: Highly Confidential and Urgent
The Chief Executive will contact you, normally within 48 hours and ask you for details: the name and address of the child or young person; the name and work address of the person that you are complaining about; details of the services used including dates and number of sessions and any other relevant details.
Please provide concise details of what has happened, the circumstances and the outcome that you are looking for. If you have difficulties in writing these we suggest that you contact a relative, close friend or colleague to help you. If these details are more than four A4 pages long please provide a summary of the key points.
We wish to make the process of settling complaints as quick as possible whilst ensuring a fair and complete investigation. Unless there are special reasons, which you should tell us about, please provide these within four weeks of our contact with you. Similarly, with any further requests that we may make for more information or decisions that need to be made by you please reply within four weeks of our requests. If you need further clarification don’t hesitate to ask. If you cannot meet any deadlines that we set please notify us by email or letter immediately giving the reasons. If we don’t hear from you we reserve the right to close the matter.
The Chief Executive will most probably recommend mediation in the first instance as the quickest and most effective way of resolving the issue.
Mediation may result in a caution being issued with conditions attached to our registrant and/or an apology being made by our registrant and/or by PTUK. Registrants may also be suspended from the Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority until they have met the conditions of the caution.
If a caution or apology is deemed not to be appropriate because of the serious nature of the complaint a formal complaints procedure will be started.
The results of mediation will be notified formally in writing to yourself and the registrant complained against. You may appeal this result through the independent British Council for Therapeutic Interventions With Children stating concisely in writing the reasons for your dis-satisfaction within two weeks of being informed.
The British Council for Therapeutic Interventions With Children
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Council’s decision will be made within four weeks of receipt of your appeal - their decision will be final.
The first stage of the formal complaints procedure is a Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel with not less than three persons appointed by the Chief Executive including a member of the public and a Play Therapist unconnected with your case. This panel will decide if there are valid grounds for a complaint hearing. They will take into account:
- The person that you are complaining about is a current registrant of PTUK. We cannot deal with complaints against individuals or organisations who were not registrants of PTUK at the time of the alleged breach of professional conduct.
- You must have used the services of the registrant’s occupation/title as described on the Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapies managed by PTUK www.playtherapyregister.org.uk or be complaining on behalf of a child or young person with whom the person has worked.
- The complaint legitimately falls under one of the three headings for complaints specified in the PTUK Ethical Framework:
- Professional misconduct – where the registrant has contravened the ethical and behaviour standards that should reasonably be expected of a member of PTUK.
- Professional malpractice – where the service(s) provided have fallen below the standards that would reasonably be expected of a practitioner exercising reasonable care and skill. Examples of 'malpractice' include: Incompetence, negligence, recklessness, inadequate professional services.
- Bringing the profession into disrepute – signifies that the practitioner has acted in such an infamous or disgraceful way that the public's trust in the profession might reasonably be undermined if they were accurately informed about all the circumstances of the case.
- A complaint must be lodged within three years of the alleged
- If the complaint is under investigation by the police or is likely to fall within the jurisdiction of any court or tribunal, for example for financial compensation, PTUK will not usually accept and investigate the complaint.
If the complaint is rejected by the Panel, you and the Member complained against will be formally notified in writing. You may appeal this result through the independent British Council for Therapeutic Interventions With Children whose decision will be final.
If the complaint is accepted, the Chief Executive will initiate the second stage of the formal complaints procedure by appointing a Professional Conduct Panel of not less than five persons to examine the complaint in detail and decide whether the complaint is proved or not.
If your complaint reaches this stage, you may wish to consider other options and engage professional advisers – the cost for any such advice will not be met by PTUK. You are also advised to request the latest copy of PTUK’s full Ethical Framework and Professional Conduct Procedures.
If the complaint is upheld, the panel will decide whether or not any sanction should be imposed upon the member. These could include:
- Probationary period. The member may continue to practice under certain conditions with an increased amount of clinical supervision, with prescribed actions that must be completed within a specified period of time
- Suspension of Membership and removal from the PTUK Register. The member is deemed unable to practice until further training prescribed to meet the situation and/or taken other steps to become fit for practice have been undertaken, to the Panel’s satisfaction.
The decision of the Professional Conduct Panel, together with details of any sanction, will be published in PTUK's 'Play for Life' journal in such detail as deemed appropriate to the findings and at its discretion. Such decisions will be based on considerations of public interest and the severity of the findings. Other relevant Registers accredited by the Professional Standards Authority will also be notified.