Student Counselling Service Complaints Procedure

Service users (student, college staff etc) who wish to make a complaint about the service they have eceived, are encouraged in the first instance to address their complaint directly with the member of the counselling service staff with whom they are involved

If this proves unsatisfactory, they should make their complaint to the Head of the Student Counselling Service, Nita Whelan. If the complaint involves the Head of Service and has been addressed to the complainant's satisfaction by the Head, the issue should be brought to the to the attention of the Head of Campus life, Brian Gormley

If these internal procedures fail to resolve the issue satisfactorily, and if they are of a professional clinical nature, a complaint may be made directly to the relevant Psychological Society of Ireland.

Details of the procedure are outlined below:

Stage 1: Preliminary Procedure

What happens:

The Head of the Service shall invite the complainant to meet with him/her to discuss the complaint.  In advance of the meeting, the complainant shall furnish the Head with a full written account of the complaint.  The Head shall also meet with and inform the staff member in question of the complaint. Where appropriate the Head of Service shall meet with the complainant and the member of staff.

Based on the outcome of the meeting(s), the Head of Service shall record one of the following:

• a)That the complainant is satisfied with the outcome of the meetings and does not wish to proceed further with the complaint.
• b) The complainant is not satisfied with the outcome, but the Head of Service has decided the case has been adequately resolved. The Head of Service shall inform the complainant that he/she can make a written complaint to the manager of Campus life and Human Resources officer within the Institute who will carry out an investigation into this matter.
• c) That the complaint requires further investigation.

In the case of (b) and (c) the Head of Service will inform, in writing, the staff member in question of the outcome of the meeting with the complainant.

Stage 2: Formal Investigative Procedure

Phase 1:

The Head of Service informs both the Head of Campus Life and the Human resource Officer of the complaint. If the complaint is a conduct matter (e.g. inappropriate behaviour at work, etc.), then the human resource officer will investigate the matter and decide if a disciplinary procedure should be applied. If it is a complaint in relation to the quality of the counsellor's clinical work, then the HR officer may advise that this case be raised with the staff member's professional association if he/she is a member of an association. The HR officer may also call upon an external consultant to offer his/her opinion on this case but he/she will not be asked for a decision on this matter.

Phase 2:

A panel shall summarize its findings and make specific recommendations. Once the panel is of the view that it has sufficient information available to come to a conclusion, it shall summarize its findings in writing. The summary shall include:

  • • A resume of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint.
  • • A resume of the complainant's and the staff member's responses.
  • • An indication of any outstanding dispute over matters of fact.
  • • A recommendation of any further action to be expected of the Service regarding the case.
  • • A recommendation for any changes in Service policy or practice to avoid future occurrences.
  • • A recommendation about whether the issues involved in the case need to be drawn to the attention of the senior management of the Institute.

Phase 3:

The Head of the Service shall inform the complainant and the staff member in writing of the panel's findings. Each party shall also be invited to meet with the Head of Service where appropriate. Each will be reminded that if not satisfied with this response, he/she may take the issue further by contacting the Head of Campus Life.

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