Complaints process

Escalation of a mediation request to a complaint
If a mediation request does not result in an outcome that satisfies the requesting party, it may be escalated to a formal complaint. This escalation is not automatic. An escalated matter must meet the following criteria in order to be escalated:

  • The mediation process must have been followed, but not have resulted in an outcome acceptable to both parties.The complainant must have identified valid clauses of the ISPA Code of Conduct which the member is alleged to have breached.
  • There must be sufficient evidence of the alleged breach for an independent adjudicator to be able to make a reasonable evaluation of the matter.
  • The activity which is allegedly in breach of the ISPA Code must have taken place within the last twelve months.
  • The complaint must not already have been lodged with another regulatory body, or be the subject of other legal proceedings.

Formal complaint process

The following steps make up the formal complaints process:

  1. ISPA confirms with the complainant that the matter has been escalated to a formal complaint.
  2. The complaint is sent to the relevant ISPA member.
  3. The member has two weeks (ten working days) to provide a written response to the complaint. The member may request an extension to this deadline, which may be granted at ISPA’s discretion.
  4. The member will be reminded by ISPA via email and/or a telephone call as the deadline to respond approaches.
  5. Once the member responds, ISPA acknowledges the response. If the member does not respond by the deadline, the member will be informed that the matter is proceeding to adjudication without the benefit of their submission.
  6. The complainant is provided with a copy of the member’s response, and has one week (five working days) to respond.
  7. The complainant is not obliged to provide a response. The complainant may withdraw the complaint, if they wish to do so after receiving the member’s response.
  8. The complainant may request an extension to this deadline, which may be granted at ISPA’s discretion.
  9. Once and if the complainant provides a response, this is sent to the ISPA member involved, who has one week (five working days) to provide a further response.The member may request an extension to this deadline, which may be granted at ISPA’s discretion.
  10. Either the member or the complainant may request that part of any submission be considered confidential, in which case it will not be shared with the other party. A request for material to be considered confidential must include reasons. It is up to the discretion of the independent adjudicator reviewing the matter whether or not to accept the confidential portion of the submission. If not accepted, it does not form part of the record for the complaint.
  11. The entire record for the complaint is provided to an independent adjudicator in the form of a case file.
  12. The adjudicator may request that one or both parties provide additional information.
  13. An adjudicator is expected to provide a ruling within three weeks of assignment. In making a ruling, an adjudicator must consider the ISPA Code of Conduct, any precedent set in previous, similar rulings, and the case-file provided. ISPA provides adjudicators with a table of recommended minimum and maximum sanctions for each clause of the ISPA Code.
  14. Once ISPA is provided with a copy of this report, it is provided to the complainant and the member. If there are any sanctions or remedial actions specified, and the member does not appeal the ruling, then the member must comply with the ruling within two weeks (ten working days).

Appeal process
If either the complainant or the member involved in the formal complaint wishes to appeal the ruling of the independent adjudicator, they may submit an appeal request. This request must include a motivation for the appeal, and an indication of what new information will be provided to the appeals panel. ISPA’s Operations Committee reviews all appeal requests and determines if there is a reasonable prospect of an appeal succeeding. If an appeal request is accepted, then the appealing party has an opportunity to make a detailed appeals submission to the appeals panel.

The procedural steps for the handling of an appeal are similar to those used in the formal complaint process, except that the matter is reviewed by a panel of three independent adjudicators instead of a single adjudicator.