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We’ve just launched a consultation to help us improve our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.

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Publication date: October 14, 2016

What is ADR and why is it important?

Alternative Dispute Resolution is an important part of our complaints process.

Going through a formal complaints process can be a distressing experience, so it is always preferable to resolve concerns or complaints in an informal way where possible.

ADR is a term that encompasses any way that a dispute can be resolved without the need to go through a formal and legalistic complaints process. When people think of ADR, most people think of formal mediation, however it can also include things such as meeting informally with the therapist or someone from their training organisation, meeting with the help of a third party, or even speaking to an external agency or organisation.

The Complaints and Conduct Process (CCP) is only used for complaints that suggest that there’s a real risk to the public if the therapist continues to practice without a full investigation taking place. ADR is designed to handle all other grievances or concerns, and can help to resolve things in a fair and transparent way with less stress and anxiety compared with a formal complaints process.

Why are we reviewing our current process?

When the CCP was drafted back in 2012, we envisaged ADR as a step within the complaints process – something that we could use for those complaints that don’t end up being referred to an Adjudication Panel. However, over time we’ve tightened up our screening process so that only the most serious complaints enter the CCP.

What this means is that when a complaint enters the CCP, it is by its very nature unsuitable for ADR – the complaint not only refers to behaviour that’s breached the UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct, but also constitutes a risk to the wider public. This means that it would be inappropriate for us to try to resolve the matter informally without a proper investigation.

The improved screening mechanism of the CCP also means that those situations that would benefit from ADR (namely those that do not constitute a risk to the public or where there are no breaches of the Code of Ethics) are not reaching the threshold of the CCP, and therefore aren’t able to access the ADR mechanism.

Therefore, the Board of Trustees took the decision to remove ADR from the CCP altogether, and set it up as a stand-alone process. The ADR process will complement the CCP. When a grievance or complaint comes in to UKCP, there are two clear paths that it can go down, depending on the nature of the allegations. We envisage 80-90% of these matters will go down the more informal ADR route, with the remaining complaints taking a more formal path through the CCP.

Why we need your help

We want to expand on our current ADR process to ensure we have the flexibility required to resolve as many disputes as possible.

ADR is a voluntary process and it’s one that only works if both parties have faith in the system. Therefore, we want to hear from you.

We want to know what things you’d find helpful to resolve a grievance or concern, what you’d like our ADR process to look like, and how we can better support people in resolving these informal concerns.

Understanding your experiences with mediation will help us to develop a process that is fair, transparent, and most importantly, useful!

The Consultation

We have launched a consultation that will run from 14 October 2016 until 10 December 2016. The consultation will help us understand exactly what’s needed in an ADR process. We’ll be asking Registrants, organisation, colleges, Committees, other mental health organisations and advocates, and members of the public.

It’s important that we get as much feedback as possible so please spread the word to your colleagues, friends and family, and any other interested parties that you think may be able to help.

You will find the consultation at the following link: https://adrconsultation.typeform.com/to/oJtgId

If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact Samantha Lind on 020 7014 9978 or samantha.lind@ukcp.org.uk who will be happy to assist.