Complaints about the FRC

How can I complain about the FRC?


We are committed to providing a high-quality service to everyone we deal with.  

Please tell us if you think our service has not met appropriate standards so that we can work to continuously improve our service. You can do this by filling in our online complaints form confirming you wish to complain about the FRC


What will we review?

We will review complaints about:
  • the standard of service we provide
  • the behaviour of our staff
  • any action or lack of action by staff affecting an individual or group when exercising or failing to exercise FRC functions.
A full list of our functions and their sources is available here.   
 

What will we not review?

  • matters that have already been fully investigated through this complaints procedure;
  • anonymous complaints (although you may make protected disclosures (‘blow the whistle’) under our Whistleblowing Procedure);
  • requests for or regarding access to information or complaints about such requests where procedures and remedies are set out in legislation, eg Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act;
  • complaints where you disagree with the outcome of a decision either by the FRC or by a body or entity we oversee, if that decision has been reached fairly and in accordance with appropriate and fair process.
  • complaints about our relationship with employees or about contractual or commercial disputes involving us.

In other words, we do not provide an avenue for appeal; this FRC complaints process deals with complaints about service provision only;


What might we decline to review 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. 
  • complaints arising from any form of continuing action (such as an investigation or review by another FRC team or another body which is still in progress)

In such cases, we will normally wait until the relevant ongoing procedures have been concluded.
 

Is there a time limit for complaining?

You should 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). 
  
We may consider later requests, but only at our discretion. Before we consider if we will accept a complaint out of time, we may ask you to explain why you were not able to submit your complaint earlier and why you think the FRC should still investigate your complaint.

 

What happens to my complaint about the FRC?

Once you have submitted your online complaint form there is a 2 stage process:

  • Internal review by the FRC’s Central Complaints Manager or their alternate. Their decision on the substance of your FRC Complaint will be final and cannot be appealed. (See below for Internal review information)
  • External review by our Independent Complaints Reviewer (ICR) of any complaints about the service provided in connection with the Internal Review.  The ICR will not overturn a challenged decision although they may review and make recommendations in relation to the process followed during the Internal Review and remit the challenged decision back to the FRC for the Internal Review to be repeated/reconsidered in accordance with appropriate process or service provision). (See below for External review information)


Internal Review:  

 - Who will review my complaint?

Your complaint will be reviewed internally by either our Central Complaints Manager or on behalf of a senior member of staff who has not previously been involved in the matter about which you are complaining.  

 - What will I hear back from the FRC and 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 the FRC’s outcome letter contain?

  • An explanation of how the complaints reviewer has considered your complaint (e.g. the background, the scope of their review, any applicable processes or procedures).
  • the complaints reviewer’s conclusions on the substance of your complaints and the reasons for those conclusions.   
  • acknowledgment if we have identified mistakes made by the FRC and what we intend to do about those mistakes. In certain circumstances an appropriate remedy may be proposed.

 - What if I disagree with the FRC’s outcome letter?

  • There is no route of appeal if you simply disagree with the complaint reviewer’s substantive conclusion if it has been reached fairly and in accordance with due process.  The complaint will be deemed closed. We will acknowledge any further correspondence on the matter from you but, unless it raises new issues that we consider significant, we will not send further replies.
  • However, if you have complaints about how the complaint reviewer has handled your complaint and reached their conclusions, you can ask for an external review of the reviewer’s complaints handling by the ICR (see below). 


External review by the Independent Complaints Reviewer (ICR):

- Who is the ICR and what is their role?

The ICR is an external appointee, whose role is to review the way an Internal Review under this process has been handled by the FRC.

 - How can I ask for a review by the ICR?

 You can email complaints@frc.org.uk

- Is there a time limit for requesting an ICR Review?

Yes, you must make your request within 1 month of the Internal Review response (or lack of response) which is the subject of your referral.

 - What types of complaint will the ICR review?

  • poor service delivery (including failure to follow published policies or comply with appropriate standards in respect of speed and accuracy); 
  • the way the FRC has investigated a complaint (for example actions or omissions in relation to that investigation); 
  • a decision by the FRC not to investigate a complaint under its internal complaints process; and
  • the behaviour of our staff during or in relation to the review of your complaint under this process.

 - What complaints will the ICR not review?

The ICR will not review complaints which have not had an internal FRC complaints review.

 - What complaints may the ICR decline to review or defer review of?

The ICR will not usually review the following types of complaints (save in their absolute discretion):

  • complaints in relation to a continuing Internal Review.  The ICR will normally wait until the ongoing Internal Review has been concluded, save in cases of unjustified, unreasonable or disproportionate delay in the FRC completing the Internal Review;
  • complaints where you have unreasonably failed to provide information or clarification reasonably requested by the FRC or the ICR in relation to your request for an External Review

 - What will I hear back from the ICR and by when?

The ICR will aim to meet the following service timescales during the External Review stage:

  • acknowledgement within 5 working days of notification to the FRC of your request for an External Review. That acknowledgement will confirm the ICR’s remit and may seek additional clarification or information before the ICR can review your matter. 
  • full response within 6 weeks. The time taken to respond may vary depending on complexity of your complaint and volume of documentation you may supply in relation to it. If the ICR is unable to respond within 6 weeks the ICR will explain why and update you regularly as to when you may expect their outcome letter.

 - What will the ICR’s outcome letter do?

  • It will consider whether the FRC has acted appropriately and in accordance with its policies in connection with the Internal Review;
  • It may make recommendations where appropriate regarding how complaints should be dealt with or Internal Reviews conducted in future cases;
  • It will not act as an appeal against the substance of the underlying Internal Review outcome (e.g. overturn the decision).  

If the ICR considers that the relevant decision was not reached reasonably or in accordance with due process the ICR may remit the matter to the FRC and ask the FRC to undertake the Internal Review again (or other action that he considers appropriate).

 - What if I disagree with the ICR’s response?

The ICR’s response is final.  There is no route of appeal.  You will have reached the conclusion of the FRC Complaints process.  

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