Ombudsman Service Procedure
Step 2: Formal Complaints

The Ombudsman Service encourages the resolution of grievances relating to a Coaches, Mentors, Support Groups, Formal Education Bodies, Private Commercial Training Organisations, Professional Bodies, or Commercial Organisations professional conduct (professional misconduct, professional malpractice, bringing the coaching/mentoring industry into disrepute), by using direct means.

Therefore, Complainants should first approach the Respondent about their grievance and if possible, negotiate a satisfactory resolution.  Formal Complaints should only be registered when Facilitation and Discussion has proven to fail.

Please note: the Ombudsman Service states that a single investigation may be incorporated into multiple disputes/complaints about the same topic, where this occurs the Complainant will be notified.

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The Ombudsman Service does not accept any responsibility for costs or expenses related to or incurred through any grievance, dispute or complaint.

click here to complete the Formal Complaints Form

  1. The Complainant should only raise a Formal Complaint once they have completed all steps possible to gain a resolution through Facilitation and Discussion, either directly, through another party, or through the Ombudsman Service. As part of this Complaints Form, the Complainant will explain all steps they have taken to gain a resolution.
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  2. The Complainant must fully complete the Formal Complaints Form.
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  3. On completion of the Formal Complaints Form, you will receive an automated acknowledgement email.
    All emails sent by the IRCM CIC are sent from the @IRCMCIC.org domain. To ensure that you receive your acknowledgement email and all others, please can you white-list the @IRCMCIC.org domain name. If you do not receive your email, please check your local spam folder or even the spam folder of your email host.
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  4. On receipt of the Formal Complaints Form, the Head of Ombudsman Service will review the details of the Formal Complaints Form.
    1. The Head of Ombudsman Service must openly declare any areas of conflict or of interest prior to the progress of this grievance.
    2. Where there is no area of conflict or interest, the Head of Ombudsman Service will progress to point 6.
    3. Where there is an area of conflict or interest, the Head of Ombudsman Service will progress to point 5.
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  5. The Head of Ombudsman Service must openly declare any areas of conflict or of interest prior to the progressing this grievance.
    1. Where there is a conflict of interest, the Head of Ombudsman Service will report to the IRCM CIC Board of Directors and a member of the Board will be appointed for this grievance.
    2. Once appointed, the member of the IRCM CIC’s Board of Directors will act as the Head of Ombudsman Service for this specific grievance and will proceed to point 6.
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  6. The Head of Ombudsman Service will review the full details of the Formal Complaint and any additional information submitted by email.
    1. Where the form and additional information submitted by email is not complete or further information is required, the Head of Ombudsman Service will email the Complainant and request the additional detail.
      No further action will be taken on this grievance until the requested additional detail is received to the satisfaction of the Head of Ombudsman Service.
    2. Where Complainant has responded within the set period of time or point 6a has been completed within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 7.
    3. Where the Formal Complaints Form is complete or the Complainant does not respond within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 7 noting the lack of co-operation in the Outline of Information report and on the Ombudsman Service Register.
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  7. The Head of Ombudsman Service will:
    1. schedule this grievance in the Facilitation and Complaints Schedule.
    2. add the details to the Ombudsman Service Register.
    3. and collate all relevant information into the Outline of Information report.
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  8. The Head of Ombudsman Service will forward the Formal Complaints Form with the Outline of Information report to both Complainant and the Respondent with the link to the Ombudsman Service Formal Complaints Policy and Procedure.
    1. Where applicable, the Head of Ombudsman Service will notify both parties that a Third Party has been included in the documentation and will be included in this grievance process.
    2. The Head of Ombudsman Service will request that the Complainant and the Respondent will:
      1. Revisit how they dealt with the grievance.
        1. From the Respondents point of view, it is important that they revisit their Complaints Policy and Process in line with how it was applied to the Complainants grievance.
        2. From the Complainants point of view, it is important that they revisit their interpretation of the Respondents Complaints Policy and Procedure in line with how they experienced it being applied to their grievance.
      2. Provide a summary of points identified during the revisit of how they dealt with this grievance.
      3. Consider any further action that they could take now that may resolve this grievance.
      4. If they feel that they have undertaken every step that they can, please explain the steps that were taken and the reason(s) these steps resulted in this grievance being raised with the Ombudsman Service.
      5. Both Complainant and Respondent will be requested to respond to all points within a set period of time.
        This period of time will be determined by the position this Request for Facilitation and Discussion is within the current Facilitation and Complaints Schedule but will no longer than 20 working days from the date the Outline of Information and Request for Facilitation and Discussion Form are forwarded to both parties.
      6. Include in their response, any further details or information that should be included in the Ombudsman Service review.
      7. Confirm that there is no further information or detail to submit.
    3. The Head of Ombudsman Service will request that the Third Party provides full details of their involvement and asks them to consider the same points above in their response.
    4. Included in this notification, the Head of Ombudsman Service will notify both the Complainant and the Respondent with the position this grievance is within the current Facilitation and Complaints Schedule.
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  9. The Complainant, Respondent, and where applicable, Third Party will provide their response within the period of time determined in point 7.
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  10. The Head of Ombudsman Service will determine whether Complainant, Respondent, and where applicable, Third Party have responded within the set period of time.
    1. Where Complainant, Respondent, or where applicable, Third Party has not responded, the Head of Ombudsman Service will email to request the information and understand the reason for not responding.
      No further action will be taken on this Request for Facilitation and Discussion until the requested additional detail is received to the satisfaction of the Head of Ombudsman Service, or no response is received within the extended period of time.
    2. Where Complainant, Respondent, and where applicable, Third Party have responded within the set period of time or point 10a has been completed within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 11.
    3. Where one or both parties do not respond within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 11 noting the lack of co-operation in the Outline of Information report and on the Ombudsman Service Register.
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  11. The Head of Ombudsman Service will review the information within 10 working days and if the responses from point 9 or point 10 above:
    1. provides a resolution. The Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 11.
    2. does not provide a resolution, the Head of Ombudsman Service will update the Outline of Information report and convene the Formal Complaints Panel. The Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 15.
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  12. The Head of Ombudsman Service will create a Notice of Resolution and forward it to all parties, requesting a confirmation from the Complainant and the Respondent within the next 5 working days.
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  13. The Complainant, Respondent, and where applicable, Third Party will provide their response within the period of time determined in point 12.
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  14. The Head of Ombudsman Service will determine whether both parties have responded within the set period of time.
    1. Where one or both parties have not responded, the Head of Ombudsman Service will email to request the confirmation and understand the reason for not responding. They will ask for a response within the next 5 working days, explaining that if they do not confirm with the next 5 working days the Ombudsman Service will take their lack of response as their acceptance.
      No further action will be taken on this resolution confirmation until the requested additional detail is received to the satisfaction of the Head of Ombudsman Service, or no response is received within the extended period of time.
    2. Where both parties have responded confirming their acceptance of the Notice of Resolution within the set period of time or point 12a has been completed within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 26 of Step 1: Resolution through Facilitation and Discussion.
    3. Where one or more parties have responded and have confirmed that they are not accepting the resolution on the Notice of Resolution, the Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 15.
    4. Where one or both parties do not respond within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will take their lack of response as their acceptance and proceed to point 15 noting the lack of response in the Outline of Information and Notice of Resolution reports, as well as on the Ombudsman Service Register.
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  15. Where the Complainant or Respondent have not confirmed or did not confirm their acceptance of the resolution, the Head of Ombudsman Service will, in line with the Ombudsman Service Policy, convene the Formal Complaints Panel.
    1. When invited, each member of the Formal Complaints Panel must openly declare any areas of conflict or of interest prior to becoming involved in this grievance.
      Where there is an area of conflict or interest, the Head of Ombudsman Service will note their conflict or interest and appoint a different member of the IRCM CIC team to the Formal Complaints Panel.
    2. Once the Formal Complaints Panel is confirmed with no area of conflict or interest, the Head of Ombudsman Service and the Formal Complaints Panel will progress to point 16.
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  16. The Head of Ombudsman Service will collate and combine all information into the Outline of Information report and forward this report to the newly appointed Formal Complaints Panel.
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  17. Each member of the appointed Formal Complaints Panel will make the time available to review and clearly document their own thoughts, concerns, impressions, etc. of each point raised in the grievance.
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  18. Within 10 working days of the Formal Complaints Panel being convened, the Head of Ombudsman Service will organise an online discussion, such that the Formal Complaints Panel can hold a full in-depth discussion incorporating the details of their own reviews.
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    At the end of the online discussion, a nominated member of the Formal Complaints Panel will update the Outline of Information report which will include the points below, and within 5 working days get approval for its release from the whole Formal Complaints Panel.

    1. rejected resolutions
    2. resolution options
    3. Formal Complaints Panel outcomes, and
    4. if required, sanctions.
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  19. Once the Outline of Information report is available, the Head of Ombudsman Service will provide the updated report to both the Complainant and Respondent, as well as to any Third Parties if applicable, and ask for a response within the next 5 working days.
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  20. The Head of Ombudsman Service will determine whether all parties have responded within the set period of time.
    1. Where one or more parties have not responded, the Head of Ombudsman Service will email to request the confirmation and understand the reason for not responding. They will ask for a response within the next 5 working days, explaining that if they do not confirm with the next 5 working days the Head of Ombudsman Service will take their lack of response as their acceptance.
      No further action will be taken on this Outline of Information report until the requested response is received to the satisfaction of the Head of Ombudsman Service, or no response is received within the extended period of time.
    2. Where all parties have responded or point 20a has been completed within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will proceed to point 21.
    3. Where one or more parties do not respond within the extended period of time, the Head of Ombudsman Service will take their lack of response as their acceptance and proceed to point 21 noting the lack of response in the Outline of Information report, as well as on the Ombudsman Service Register.
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  21. The Head of Ombudsman Service or a member of the Formal Complaints Panel will update the Outline of Information report within 5 working days.
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  22. The Head of Ombudsman Service will:
    1. Schedule a Hearing. This Hearing will be held within 15 working days of the conclusion of point 21 and will include the latest copy of the Outline of Information.
      The Head of Ombudsman Service acknowledges that it may take a few days to organise a date that suits everyone.
    2. In advance of the Hearing, the Head of Ombudsman Service will decide whether any legal advice needs to be obtained from the IRCM CIC’s legal advisors.
      Where the legal advice sought incurs a cost, it is understood and agreed by all parties that this cost will be incorporated into the outcome of this Formal Complaint.
    3. The Hearing will be arranged using the IRCM CIC’s Meeting and Conference platform.
      Where the Complainant or Respondent requests that the Hearing is held in a face-to-face venue, all costs will be covered by the individual requesting the face-2-face discussion.
    4. The invite to the Hearing will include the date, time, relevant attendance information of the Hearing, and the latest copy of the Outline of Information report.
      The invite will include the names and IRCM CIC positions of the Formal Complaint Panel, as well as the names of the Complainant, the Respondent, all Third Parties, and all Witnesses.
    5. The Head of Ombudsman Service will email all parties and invite them to the Hearing discussion.
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  23. Outline of the Hearing:
    1. The Head of Ombudsman Service will attend and will chair the Hearing.
    2. The Formal Complaints Panel will attend.
    3. The Complainant, Respondent, and all relevant Third Parties will attend, and:
      1. may bring one support person to the Hearing.
        It is important to note that the support person is there to support the Complainant or the Respondent or the Third Party and will not participate in the activities of the Hearing.
      2. may request that witnesses be called to attend the Hearing.
        In the request, the name(s) of such witnesses with the reason for their attendance; must be submitted to the Head of Ombudsman Service no later than 10 working days prior to the date of the Hearing.
        All witnesses must be prepared to be questioned by the Head of Ombudsman Service, any member of the Formal Complaints Panel, the Complainant or the Respondent or Third Party.
    4. Any additional information (i.e. witness statements, correspondence, etc.) must be received by Head of Ombudsman Service not less than 10 working days prior to the date of the Hearing.
      1. On receipt, this information will be shared with the Panel and all parties.
      2. Information received after the deadline, may or may not be included.
        The Head of Ombudsman Service will review the information and decide whether to include the information received and send it to all parties, or bring it into the Hearing, or exclude the information.
    5. The Head of Ombudsman Service will decide if new information can be accepted on the day of the discussion.
    6. The Hearing is called to allow each party to put their side and for the Formal Complaints Panel to ask relevant questions.
    7. The Hearing will allow each party, one at a time, to put their side of the grievance; starting with the Complainant, then the Respondent, and if necessary, any and all Third Parties.
      Any new evidence submitted at this time will be taken into consideration in the findings and conclusion.
    8. If either the Respondent or the Complainant fails to attend the discussion (with or without explanation), the Head of Ombudsman Service has the right to:
      1. continue with the Hearing in their absence, or
      2. terminate and conclude the Hearing, or
      3. adjourn and reset the Hearing for no later than 14 calendar days from the date of the original Hearing.
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  24. The Head of Ombudsman Service will formally open the Hearing, start the recording, and provide an outline of the reason(s) it has been called.
    It is important to understand that there will be no interruptions, criticism, antagonism, argument, or anger when someone is talking or responding.  All communication will be open, professional, kind, and considerate.

    1. The Complainant will have a 10 minute opportunity to put their side of the grievance.
    2. The Respondent will have a 10 minute opportunity to put their side of the grievance.
    3. Where applicable, each Third Party will have a 10 minute opportunity to put their side of the grievance.
    4. Where applicable, each withness will have a 10 minute opportunity to put their side of the grievance.
    5. Once each party has put their side of the grievance, each member of the Formal Complaints Panel will ask their question(s).
      The question(s) may be asked of the Complainant, the Respondent, any of the Third Parties, or any of the witnesses.

      1. It is important that no question is asked more than once or duplicated.
        It will be noted if the person answering does not provide a full response to the question asked.
      2. During this process, each Complainant, Respondent, Third Party, or witness may confer with their person of support.
        This will be a confidential conversation of no more than 3 minutes.
    6. At any time during this process, the Head of Ombudsman Service may step in and ask a question or request a full response or remind the parties of the details of the process or anything else that is appropriate at the time.
    7. At the end of the Hearing the Head of Ombudsman Service will ask the Complainant and then the Respondent:
      1. if they can see a resolution and if so ask them to provide the details, and
      2. whether they have one more statement to make.
    8. If the Complainant or the Respondent puts forward a resolution, the Head of Ombudsman Service will ask the other party if they accept the resolution.
    9. At the end of the Hearing, the Head of Ombudsman Service will thank each person for making the time and attending this Hearing.
      1. Where a resolution has been agreed, the Head of Ombudsman Service will confirm the agreement.
      2. The Head of Ombudsman Service will explain the next steps.
    10. The findings and conclusion will be announced by the Head of Ombudsman Service within 15 working days.
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  25. Within 5 working days of the Hearing being held, the Head of Ombudsman Service will meet with the Formal Complaints Panel to hold a full in-depth discussion to determine their findings and reach a conclusion.
    1. Before this meeting, each member of the Formal Complaints Panel (Head of Ombudsman Service and Panel members) will make the time available to review and clearly document their own thoughts, concerns, impressions, etc. of the Hearing. In this review, each member will consider:
      1. Where a resolution has been agreed, the details of the resolution.
      2. Where a resolution has not been agreed:
        1. preferred resolutions.
        2. resolution options.
      3. Outcomes, and
      4. If deemed necessary, sanctions.
    2. The Head of Ombudsman Service and Formal Complaints Panel will determine their findings and come to a conclusion.
      1. Clarifying the type of complaint
      2. Providing a summary of all resolution options
      3. Where applicable, documenting the agreed resolution
      4. Where there was no agreed resolution, the Ombudsman Service outcome
      5. If deemed necessary, sanctions
      6. Completion date for all resolution(s)/outcome(s)/sanction(s).
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  26. At this point the Formal Complaints Panel for this grievance will be disbanded.
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  27. As soon as possible after the Formal Complaints Panel meeting (point 25 above), the Head of Ombudsman Service will create the Outcome of Formal Complaint report using the Outline of Information report detail in line with Step 3: Outcome and Sanctions in the Ombudsman Service Procedure, and incorporating all subsequent detail, clearly documenting:
    1. A summary of the grievance
    2. Type of Complaint
    3. Findings
    4. Where applicable, documenting the agreed resolution
    5. Where there was no agreed resolution:
      1. a summary of all resolution options
      2. the Head of Ombudsman Service and Formal Complaints Panel findings and outcome
    6. Completion date for all resolution(s)/outcome(s).
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  28. Where required after point 27 above, the Head of Ombudsman Service will create the Outcome of Formal Complaint Sanctions report, in line with Step 3: Outcome and Sanctions in the Ombudsman Service Procedure, and incorporating all subsequent detail, clearly documenting:
    1. Sanctions
    2. Completion date for all sanction(s).
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  29. No later than 10 working days after point 28 above, the Head of Ombudsman Service will release the Outcome of Formal Complaint report and if necessary the Outcome of Formal Complaint Sanctions report to all parties and update the Ombudsman Service Register.
    1. The Head of Ombudsman Service will request that the Complainant and Respondent, on completion of the resolution, or outcome, or sanction, proceed to point 3 of Resolutions or Outcomes under Step 3: Resolutions, Outcomes, and/or Sanctions to complete the Resolution(s) or Outcomes Completed Form and if necessary, the Request to Lift Sanctions form.
    2. If the matter is not resolved to the Complainant’s satisfaction, they may raise an Appeal, through the Appeals Procedure.
Ombudsman Service Procedure Step 2

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click here to read the
Ombudsman Service Policy

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Version 5: November 2021

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Currently, all information provided by and correspondence with the IRCM CIC is in English.