APAC Complaints Procedure
APAC Complaints Philosophy
APAC believes that:
- Most complaints will arise because the complainant's expectations are different from those of the training provider, facilitators, clinical supervisors or placement organization.
- All trainees have the right to complain against or raise concerns about any individual connected with their course work without any fear that these will have any impact upon the marking of their assignments or other factor determining their course outcomes.
- Some delegates will be in the process of resolving personal problems and may find attending and residing in a 'strange' place stressful.
- All complaints need to be treated seriously and dealt with quickly, sympathetically and fairly.
- In balancing the needs of as many course members as possible some individuals may not believe that their particular needs are dealt with fully.
- No operation involving people can be expected to be perfect. Complaints are seen as a valuable source of feedback for improvements as well as a safety valve.
Our procedures are based on this philosophy which is intended to minimise the number of complaints in the first place as well as dealing with them.
Each of our courses sets out to achieve specific learning objectives. We also state what we feel the participants should be able to do after they have completed the course. These points are spelt out:
- In our promotional literature and on www.playtherapy.org.uk
- During the application process - face to face but usually over the telephone for trainees’ convenience
- At the start of the course
- In the Student’s Handbook
During the course the material being delivered and the practical and experiential exercises are related to the learning objectives. This minimises the chances of a delegate complaining that the content is not relevant or suitable.
The time to be allowed for each activity is suggested by the facilitators for agreement by the participants. Progress is checked at least once during the activity to see if an extension is required. Very occasionally some individuals are out of step with the majority or the time table. Sufficient time is allowed in the evenings and facilities are available to enable individuals to 'catch up'.
This largely overcomes potential problems of pacing the learning process.
Most of our training venues are therapeutically sensitive environments. The facilitators and support staff make a point of getting to know each participant as an individual. On the first morning delegates are encouraged to express any concerns or fears so that these can be taken care of as far as possible.
Each participant is introduced to and encouraged to contact a senior member of APAC as well as those actively involved in running the course. This provides a degree of impartiality to deal with complaints.
The opportunity to raise a complaint is given publicly at the start and end of each day's proceedings, privately each day after the conclusion of proceedings and in the evaluation form at the end of the course.
When a complaint is raised the participant is given the option of having it discussed with other course members, or dealt with privately and if desired, with complete anonymity.
If the complaint concerns a Course Facilitator or Tutor it is notified to and discussed with the Course Director. If it concerns the Course Director, it must be notified to and discussed with a Director of APAC who is familiar with the course objectives and content but not directly involved in the event. If it is about registered Clinical Supervisor or a placement organisation’s personnel, the complaint should be made to the Chief Executive of PTUK/PTI. If it is about a Director of APAC the complaint should be made to the Chair, British Council for Therapeutic Interventions for Children (BCTIWC).
The complainant is encouraged to talk fully without interruption or write extensively until she/he has no more to say. The person dealing with the complaint will then try to establish objectively and factually the key issue of the complaint comparing this information to what has been promised or implied. If another individual(s) is involved they will be consulted, separately at first and then jointly to establish their side of the case. Agreement will be sought upon the key issue.
The complainant will then be asked what outcome they desire. The person dealing with the complaint will then identify a number of options that might meet, or go some way to meeting the desired outcome, taking into account:
- Any request for anonymity
- The needs of the other delegates
- The needs of the teaching and support staff
- What has been promised (if there is a cost or time factor)
- Ethical and legal factors
As far as is practical we attempt to resolve the complaint on the spot or at latest within 5 working days. We do not want dissatisfied participants affecting the morale of others.
If it is not possible to resolve an individual complaint without having a negative impact on the other delegates or meeting our other criteria and it is sufficiently serious, the individual will be asked to leave the course. A proportionate refund of fees will be made.
All complaints and their outcomes are logged if they are not recorded in the evaluation forms. All evaluation forms and logged complaints are reviewed by the facilitating/directing staff together with an APAC Director after each course. If necessary procedures, methods, equipment etc. are changed for the next course.
University Academic Appeals Procedures
In addition to the APAC complaints procedure, students have the right of appeal under the University Student Regulations with respect to academic matters such as assessment and progression. In the first instance, where a student feels an error or misjudgment has been made, the Programme Director should be consulted, who may be able to rectify the matter by reporting the details to the appropriate authority. In cases where the Programme Director is unable to rectify the situation, and the student is still dissatisfied, then the student should make a written appeal, giving the full details of the matter and including any supporting evidence to the Programme Director, who will institute appropriate action through the University Academic Appeals Procedure.