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Submitting a complaint

This page contains information and guidance on how to submit a complaint to the British Psychological Society.


1.1 The society is committed to providing an excellent service to members and stakeholders working in an open and accountable way. If a member or stakeholder has any concerns relating to the services we provide (“Services”) we will ensure that we provide the correct environment and procedures to enable these concerns to be resolved quickly, fairly and effectively. We will learn from complaints and use them to identify improvements to our Services. 


2.1 The society aims to resolve complaints quickly, fairly and effectively. We will continue to improve the Services that we provide by listening and responding to the views of our members and stakeholders. We will address complaints positively and put mistakes right.

We will ensure that:

  1. Making a complaint is as easy as possible
  2. We deal with all complaints promptly, politely and when appropriate, confidentially
  3. We will respond in the correct way - for example with an explanation, or an apology or information on any action taken
  4. We will learn from complaints and use them to improve our Services
  5. We will review annually our complaints policy and procedures and monitor the complaints received


3.1 Except as set out in Clause 3.3 below, a complaint to which this policy and procedure applies is any expression of dissatisfaction with the Services provided by a member of staff, a Trustee or a volunteer acting on behalf of the society that requires a formal response.

3.2 “Services” shall include the exercise by a Trustee or Trustees or Officers of the Society of their duties in such capacity.

3.3 The procedure set out below is for complaints from members or stakeholders relating to the way we carry out our Services. It does not apply to concerns in respect of the matters set out in Clause 9. Such matters will be dealt with pursuant to the appropriate policies and procedures set out in Clause 9. It does not apply to any concerns expressed relating to matters outside the current Services provided by the society or in respect of the policies of the society. Concerns in respect of policies of the society should be put in writing to the CEO of the society who will normally arrange for a response within 21 days.

3.4 We will learn from our mistakes when we don’t get things right. All complaints that are upheld will receive an internal action plan to prevent future incidents of the same nature.

3.5 When a complaint is not upheld, we will review our procedures and processes in order to ascertain whether these can be improved to avoid the occurrence of such a complaint in the future


4.1 Complaints of a minor nature should be raised immediately with an appropriate member of staff with the aim of resolving the problem directly and informally. We hope that the vast majority of complaints will be resolved in this way. If concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.



5.1 Where it has not been possible to satisfactorily resolve matters informally, a formal written complaint should be submitted to the society in writing addressed to;

The British Psychological Society
St Andrews House
48 Princess Road East

Or by email to [email protected](link sends e-mail)

If you are unable to place your complaint in writing and require an alternative method please contact the complaints line on 0116 252 9919 who will be happy to discuss your individual needs.

5.2 Any members of society staff, including members of the Senior Management Team and Trustees who are sent complaints directly will forward them to Complaints as soon as possible for them to be formally logged and processed.

5.3 Only once the your complaints has been received by Complaints will the timescales provided begin to apply.

5.4 To ensure a prompt and detailed response it would be helpful if you (or a person on your behalf) could provide as much information as possible in support of your complaint. In particular please include:

  • Your name, membership number (where appropriate), address, email address and telephone number
  • Full details of your concerns including any relevant document, dates, locations and witnesses as appropriate
  • The consequences of the concerns for you as a result
  • The remedy you are seeking
  • Your preferred method of communication e.g. email, post etc.

Your personal data will be protected within the requirements of the Data Protection laws and regulations and the society’s compliance policy.

5.5 Upon receipt of the above information we will log the complaint and allocate an Investigating Officer. You can expect to receive an acknowledgement of your complaint within 7 working days of receipt.

5.6 Your complaint will be thoroughly investigated in an objective and transparent manner. We may need to contact you for further information relating to your complaint.

5.7 We aim to respond to you in relation to the complaint within 28 days of receipt of your complaint. There may however be occasions when this is not possible for us to provide a substantive response to your complaint within this timescale. This may be due to variety of reasons ranging from the complexity of your complaint to the absence of staff who we will wish to interview. We will notify you accordingly and provide the revised timescales for dealing with your complaint.

5.8 When responding we will advise you of your rights to have your complaint and the response reviewed if you remain dissatisfied, providing you make a request for us to do so within 10 days of receipt of our substantive response to your complaint.


5.9 If you remain dissatisfied with the Stage 1 response to your complaint, then you can write to Complaints stating the reason why you are dissatisfied with the outcome and ask for your complaint and the response to be given further consideration. You can expect an acknowledgement within 7 working days of receipt, describing the process the complaint investigation will follow.

5.10 A Stage 2 complaint will be coordinated by a senior member of the society or a trustee who is not implicated in the complaint and who has not previously had involvement in the complaint. We will aim to respond within 20 working days with a full written response and provide details of any right of appeal. There may be occasions when it is not possible to provide a full response within this timescale, if so you will receive an interim response describing what is being done and when a full response can be expected and from whom.

5.11 A Stage 2 review will involve a review of the original investigation and the outcome, in the light of the concerns you have stated, as well as consideration of any new supporting evidence provided. The review will not include an entire new investigation of the original complaint.


5.12 If you are not satisfied with the response from Stage 2, you then have the option of appealing against the outcome to your complaint. You must set out the reasons why you wish to appeal and why you are dissatisfied with the outcome under Stage 2 in writing to Complaints asking for a review under Stage 3. You must do so within 10 days of receiving the written response from Stage 2.

5.13 Complaints will refer your appeal to the Chief Executive who will respond to you within 7 working days to inform you of the action which will be taken to investigate your complaint and the expected timescale of the investigation.

5.14 The relevant history of the complaint will be made available to the person who is conducting the Stage 3 review so that a further investigation can be carried out. That investigation may include interviews with you, any staff involved, and witnesses and will also include documentary evidence where appropriate .

5.15 The outcome of the investigation will be notified to you with details of any action taken and a timescale if appropriate. The outcome of the appeal stage of the complaint is the final decision and no further internal investigation will take place relating to this specific complaint. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you may choose to contact the Charity Commission or take advice in respect of any legal redress you may have.

Please note: If your original complaint was against the Chief Executive then the Chair of the Board of Trustees will handle Stage 3.

If your original complaint was against the Board of Trustees acting collectively, an external investigator will be appointed by the Chief Executive to handle and investigate the complaint at Stage 3.


6.1 Whilst we will normally ensure confidentiality at all stages of the complaints process, we cannot offer an assurance of absolute confidentiality as the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality or it may not be in the interests of the society to do so. Should this be the case, we will explain the situation to you and advise who will need to be made aware of the complaint and the circumstances relating to it.


7.1 Anonymous feedback will not normally be investigated nor can it receive a formal response, however the nature of the complaint may still be recorded. There may be exceptional circumstances which arise when we decide in our absolute discretion to investigate an anonymous complaint but these situations will be rare.

7.2 Abusive feedback, or complaints that contain offensive language will not be tolerated. It is recognised that some communication is sent in anger, however any abusive communication will be disregarded and no investigation will take place.


8.1 EDI data is requested from each complainant in order to anonymously collate and analyse feedback from different protected groups. This EDI data will be anonymously logged by Complaints on receipt of the complaint

8.2 An Equality Impact Assessment has been completed alongside this policy and the society has accepted the procedure as being equal and fair (in progress)


9.1 Fitness for Practice Complaints- please refer to the relevant competent authority, the Health and Care Professions Council

9.2 Qualifications - please visit our Society Qualifications page for further information

9.3 Accreditation - please visit our Accreditation page for further information

9.4 Breaches of the Code of Conduct for Members - please consult our Member Conduct rules directly

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