A7b Complaints against a Supervisor

A7b   Complaint against a Supervisor

– relevant to any AJA member who supervises and who is registered solely with the UKCP

The purpose of this document is to describe the process for handling complaints

against a supervisor where the supervisor is a member of AJA and registered only with the UKCP.

 

Please note that if you are a supervisor and registered with the BPC, then that regulatory body may hear any complaint from a supervisee where the supervisor is alleged to have broken BPC’s ethical code of Practice.

 

However, UKCP presently does not regulate the practice of supervision (it does not view supervision as clinical work) and wants complaints against supervisors to be overseen and, if possible, dealt with by the supervisor’s organisation. If the complaint involves a serious breach of AJA’s code of ethics, or a serious breach of the code of ethics of UKCP as the regulatory body then AJA may refer it to the UKCP (see 4 iv). When AJA deals with the complaint in-house using this procedure (A7b), it will inform UKCP of the outcome if sanctions are determined.

 

Complaints about the supervision process may arise for several reasons, including:

  • the desire for an acknowledgement that the supervisor has made a mistake or error of judgement
  • accountability for supervision that is perceived to be below the standard expected of a member of AJA (as set out in the code of ethics and practice)
  • an allegation of a more serious breach of the code of ethics which indicates, harm, abuse, or risk to others, raises concerns about conduct and will be referred to the regulatory body.

 

The following is therefore a procedure by which AJA may hear a complaint against a supervisor who is alleged to have broken AJA’s own Code of Ethics and Practice (document A5) and who is registered with the UKCP.

 

Training Candidates

A candidate’s training supervision is the training committee’s responsibility. If a candidate experiences difficulties with their training supervisor then the training committee will handle the matter.

If the training supervisor is thought to have committed a breach of AJA’s Code of Ethics and Practice then the complaint should come straight to the ethics committee.

Most AJA training candidates are qualified psychotherapists in their own right. If a training candidate has a complaint against an AJA supervisor arising from supervision of their private practice, then this can be raised with the ethics committee without prejudice to their training. This procedure will be followed and confidentiality maintained.

If a training candidate supervises others as part of their private practice, then any complaint must be dealt with by the candidate’s first qualifying organisation where they are a full member, and not by AJA (please refer to Section D item 10 where it is clearly stated that candidates must remain members of their first qualifying organisation throughout the AJA training).

 

Definitions:

Supervisee/complainant – a therapeutic practitioner (counsellor, psychotherapist, or analyst) who has a formal paid arrangement for supervision with an AJA member.

Supervisor – a member of AJA who is contracted as a supervisor of another practitioner’s clinical work.

Timings – by days we mean working days, Mondays to Fridays.  The timetable for each section in this document is detailed, with the exception of holiday periods:

  1. Christmas (ten working days)
  2. Easter (ten working days)
  3. All public holidays in England and Wales
  4. The calendar months of July and August

 

Advisory person – This term covers any legal representative consulted by the supervisor or supervisee. In addition, this term covers any supportive person nominated by each party who may attend any meetings, in a supportive observer capacity only.

 

1 Confidentiality

AJA is a small organisation of less than one hundred people. It is important therefore, both for the integrity of the organisation and for the privacy of the complainant, that any member of AJA or outside body involved in this procedure maintain confidentiality until the outcome is finalised. The supervisor should notify their professional insurers and the AJA chair of the ethics committee that a complaint has been made as soon as possible.

Should a complaint be upheld then the outcomes and associated impact on confidentiality for the supervisor are outlined under sanctions.

This procedure should be given to all involved, including any advisory person whom the supervisor and complainant may wish to consult – see definitions above.

Depending on the nature of the complaint the supervisor may continue with their clinical and supervisory work until resolution of the complaint. The supervisor must maintain confidentiality within their chosen support group.  

 

  1. Limitations

This procedure is limited to alleged complaints which:

  • are reported in writing to the chair of the AJA ethics committee
  • relate to a supervisor who was a qualified member of AJA at the time of the complaint. If the supervisor has retired, or has left AJA, then no complaint can be heard.
  • are lodged within 5 years of the date of the alleged complaint
  • relate to a member’s supervision practice, conduct as a supervisor, or events arising from this.

 

3 Submission

3.1 A formal complaint should be made in writing, preferably hard copy, to protect the confidentiality of all concerned, and addressed to:

Chair of the ethics committee marked ‘strictly confidential’ and sent to the AJA registered address as stated on the website. In any time of transition when AJA is without a permanent home then submissions may be made by email to the administrator at  office@jungiananalysts.org.uk, who will then forward to the Chair of ethics.

 

3.2 The complaint should state:

  • the complainant’s full name and postal address,
  • the substance of the complaint (including dates, places, events),
  • the name of the supervisor
  • the place of work of the supervisor
  • any relevant supporting information,
  • permission to forward the complaint [1] to the supervisor, releasing them from their obligation to confidentiality so that they may respond to the complaint and [2] to those members of AJA, or any external consultant, who will be dealing with the management and decisions about the complaint.
  • The complaint should be signed.

3.3 A complaint will normally not be accepted more than five years after the alleged event.

3.4 An anonymous complaint will not normally be accepted unless there are serious and credible grounds and / or corroborating information from another source.

3.5 The complaint will normally be acknowledged within 8 days of receipt [see note under definitions].  At this stage, the complainant will also be sent a copy of the Code of Ethics and this Complaints Procedure.

3.6 A copy of the letter of complaint and guidance documents as outlined above will be sent to the supervisor who will be invited to respond to the complaint within 14 days of receipt.

3.7 Both parties will then be informed of the date when the ethics committee will meet to review the documents.

 

4 The ethics committee

On receipt of the formal complaint and response from the supervisor, the ethics committee will meet specifically to review these documents. The complaint will be assessed against the AJA Code of Ethics and Practice and sections of the code alleged to have been broken will be determined. The ethics committee may arrive at any one of the following decisions:

  1. No complaint established

If the ethics committee decides the complaint is not well founded, and that there has been no breach of the AJA code of ethics and practice, the complainant and the supervisor will be informed of this, and the reasons for that decision, in writing within 7 days. The complainant will be offered an opportunity to respond one further time, within 14 days from receipt of the decision. It is unlikely that the decision will be overturned unless the complainant produces new material.

  1. The case requires further consideration

If the ethics committee considers it is in the best interests of all parties concerned to try to reach an agreement, they may recommend the case goes to mediation (see 6 below) and both parties will be advised of this recommendation and the reasons for it.

  • There is a case to answer.

Where mediation is not thought appropriate and/or not wanted by the parties then the ethics committee will recommend a formal review panel be drawn up (FRP) and the case will proceed straight to this more formal procedure. (see 7 below).

  1. The complaint is deemed to be a serious breach of AJA’s code of ethics and that of the regulatory body, AJA will forward the complaint to the regulatory body for adjudication. Such a breach would entail (but not be limited to) alleged abuse of professional boundaries in such a manner as to cause emotional or financial harm, physical or sexual trauma, or malignant professional defamation.

 

  1. Mediation

If mediation is offered and both parties agree mediation should take place, the ethics committee will appoint an independent mediator who will not be a member of AJA. On confirmation that there are no conflicts of interest for the person appointed all relevant documents will be sent to the mediator. They will then communicate with all parties to arrange a meeting. If / when there is agreement, a mediation agreement letter will be drawn up and each party asked to sign the agreement. This signed agreement will be binding, held on record at AJA and the complaint will be deemed resolved.

If the parties are not able to reach agreement and the matter remains unresolved, a full formal review panel will be convened (see 7).

  1. Investigation and Adjudication

7.1. If the ethics committee (EC) finds that a case has been made for a breach of the AJA Code of Ethics and Practice against a supervisor, a formal review panel (FRP) will be convened.

Formed of three members: one member of the EC, one senior member of AJA preferably a training supervisor or, if there is conflict of interest, a training analyst, one person independent of the Association who will chair the panel. The first task of the FRP will be to set a date for the formal investigation, taking into consideration the wishes of all parties concerned. If a consensual time cannot be agreed, the chair of the FRP will determine a date for a formal investigation to take place.

7.2. The chair of the FRP will write to the complainant and the supervisor informing them of the date and venue of the investigation. At least 22 days’ notice will be given of the meeting at which the FRP will consider the possible breach of the AJA Code of Ethics and Practice.

7.3. Preparation.

  1. i) All relevant correspondence shall be circulated to all parties along with the protocol for the meeting.
  2. ii) A person will be appointed to oversee the recording of the meeting, either by taking verbatim notes and/or by recording the proceedings.

iii) Either party can be accompanied by a friend, an advisor and/or legal adviser, who may not address the committee, but is present to support and advise.

iv)The FRP is to be given adequate prior notice of those wishing to attend and has the right to refuse attendance.

  1. The Meeting

The meeting will take place, according to the protocol for investigations at the agreed venue.

AJA recognises that face to face meetings at this stage between the parties involved may be unduly stressful or potentially harmful. The protocol therefore treats both parties as vulnerable adults and specifies how the meeting shall be conducted so that neither party will meet with the other.

The meeting is not an adversarial process. However, should both parties request they meet together with the FRP this may be possible, after each party has been seen and their evidence considered.

  1. Refusal to attend the meeting

i)The supervisor

Once the date for the FRP has been mutually agreed (7.1 above), the supervisor does not have the right to refuse to attend unless some serious external event prohibits this e.g. illness, accident or bereavement. In such a case the supervisor, or their representative, must immediately inform the chair of the FRP, who will then inform the complainant of the need to postpone. A new date will be set as soon as practically possible, given the nature of the serious event.

  1. ii) The complainant

Once the date for the FRP has been mutually agreed (7.1 above), the complainant has the same right as the supervisor to postpone the meeting should some serious external event occur eg illness, accident or bereavement. In which case they would need to immediately inform the chair of the FRP and a new date would be set as soon as practically possible.

  1. Non-attendance at the meeting
  2. i) The supervisor

If the chair of the FRP has not received any notification of serious events (as described in 9i above), the FRP will meet with the complainant to consider all documentation. The supervisor will be held to be in breach of this procedure and adjudication will take place in their absence.

  1. ii) The complainant

If the chair of the FRP has not received any notification of serious events (as described in 9i above), then they will write to the complainant inviting a response within 7 days should they still wish to proceed. If the complainant fails to respond within that time limit the case will be closed and no further action will be taken.

  1. Transcript

The FRP will provide a transcript of the proceedings within 14 days, which the chair of the FRP will circulate to the supervisor and the complainant. Corrections can be made in matters of fact alone and must be received within 7 days of receiving the transcript

  1. Decision

The final report will be drawn up after the seven days above have elapsed. This report will include the FRP’s findings in relation to the AJA Code of Ethics and Practice. The FRP will recommend the course of action to be taken and any sanctions to be imposed. The report will be submitted to the chair of the ethics committee who will then inform the chair of the professional committee and the Chair of the Association of the outcome of the investigation. The Chair of the Association will write to the person complained against and the complainant notifying them of the final decision.

  1. Sanctions

If it is found that the supervisor has committed a breach of the AJA Code of Ethics and Practice, the formal review panel may impose one or more of the following sanctions:

i)a formal written apology;

ii)a requirement to attend two meetings over the following year with the chair of ethics, or their representative, for which a fee will be charged. During these meetings the supervisor will be expected to demonstrate how they have developed as a result of the complaint;

iii) a requirement to demonstrate improvement via supervision of supervision with an AJA training supervisor, for a specified time and frequency, and at their own expense. At the end of the specified time the training supervisor will write a brief report to the Chair of the ethics committee highlighting improvements made;

  1. iv) a requirement to undertake further training or therapy, with or without time scales and reports.

AJA will notify any other registering or membership organisations connected with the supervisor of the outcome of a complaint where sanctions have been imposed as a result of a breach of the AJA code.

14 Timing

This procedure should normally take not more than nine months from receipt of the written complaint and preferably no more than three. Where the processing of the complaint covers the months of July and August there will, inevitably, be a delay over this summer period (see definitions: Timings)

15 Appeals

  1. An appeal by either party must be made in writing to the Chair of the Association within 28 days of the mailing of the notice of action taken. Appellants are asked to show good cause and/or provide new relevant information which supports their appeal.
  2. The Chair of the Association will then follow the Appeals Procedure as laid down in A8.

May 2022

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