About the FRC Making complaints or referrals to the FRC Complaints about a professional accountancy or actuarial body

Complaints about a professional accountancy or actuarial body

How do I complain about a professional accountancy or actuarial body (including RSBs)?

You should first pursue the matter with the relevant body. 

If you are not satisfied with the way the body has handled the matter you can fill in our online complaints form  and select the option to complain about a professional accountancy or actuarial body, to refer the matter to our Professional Oversight Team.


What will we review?

We will review complaints about the way in which a body has dealt with:

  • A complaint about one of its members
  • A complaint about its service
  • Certain membership applications

These ‘oversight’ complaint reviews focus on the processes followed by the body in question and whether the body complied with its own policies and procedures.


What will we not review?

We will not usually review:

  • Matters that have not been referred to the relevant body;
  • Matters which remain ‘open’ with the body (i.e. the body has not yet completed its consideration of the complaint).In exceptional circumstances we may decide to investigate your complaint whilst the professional body's investigation is ongoing. For example, if we are aware that their investigation will not be finished for a significant period of time and consider it appropriate for the FRC to review the complaint. 
  • Matters that our Professional Oversight Team have already investigated;
  • Complaints about substantive decisions reached by the bodies.  We are not an avenue of appeal.  


Whilst we may make recommendations to bodies about the process and fairness of a decision reached, we cannot force the body to overturn that decision or take any other actions.


What might we decline or defer review of?

Complaints that would more appropriately be dealt with in another way e.g. by referral to another body, or at a Tribunal or through the courts.


What action can we take?

If we find that a body has failed to follow its own policies or procedures, we can make recommendations to a body on how its functions could be improved.

The bodies have agreed that they will consider the FRC recommendations carefully, and either;

  • implement them within a reasonable period, or
  • give reasons in writing for not doing so.


Is there a time limit for complaining?

To give us the best opportunity to resource and review complaints and regulatory referrals effectively, we ask that you submit your complaint within 12 months of the conduct or matter that you wish to be reviewed (or within 12 months of you having reasonably become aware of it).   

If 12 months have passed but you would still like to refer a matter to us, we will ask you to explain when you became aware of it any why you are only referring it to us now. 


What happens to my complaint?

We will review and acknowledge receipt of your online complaints form within 5 working days.  

If we think that your complaint is not something that the FRC can review, they will explain why.

If we think that your complaint about the body is something that the FRC can review, they will allocate it for consideration by our Professional Oversight Team.  
They will:

  • contact you within 5 working days of allocation and confirm who will be responsible for reviewing your matter;
  • ask you for further information, if needed and agree with you the specific complaint(s) that you have about the body;
  • usually seek the comments of the body you have complained about. They may also need to visit the body to help them to review your complaint. They will let you know if this is the case;
  • aim to send a full response to your complaint within 6 weeks of allocation to them of the complaint.


If for any reason they are unable to respond within this time they will (i) let you know, and (ii) provide updates at periodic intervals.


What will I hear back from the FRC and by when?

We aim to meet the following service timescales:
 

  • acknowledgement within 5 working days of allocation of your complaint to us as a complaint. That acknowledgement will confirm who will be responsible for investigating your complaint and responding to you. 
  • full response within 6 weeks of allocation, however the time taken to respond will vary depending on the urgency and complexity of the complaint. If we are unable to respond within 6 weeks because, for example, the matters you raise require more detailed work, we will (i) let you know, and (ii) provide updates at periodic intervals..


What will an outcome letter contain?
 

  • The specific complaints agreed with you for our consideration.
  • Confirmation of what information and documentation we have reviewed when considering your complaint 
  • Our conclusions on your complaint(s)
  • What action, if any, we take where we have found that a body has failed to comply with its own policies and/or procedures


What if I disagree with the outcome letter?

You can contact the member of staff who has been handling your complaint. This can be done informally and, depending on the nature of your complaint, that person may be in a position to resolve your complaint quickly. 
If the matter cannot be resolved in this informal way or if you would prefer to make a formal complaint or would prefer not to deal with that staff member, you can fill in our online complaints form  and select the option to complain about the FRC.  See more about how we handle these complaints and what happens next here.

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