About the Research

With complaints against professionals becoming more of an issue as society becomes more litigious, and following the infamous Leveson Enquiry into the ethics of the media, self-regulation faces renewed scrutiny for all professions.

The costs of complex complaints cases can run into the tens of thousands, and appeals against unfair or opaque processes are common. Professional and regulatory bodies need to review their complaints and discipline processes and procedures to ensure they are transparent, robust and fit for purpose.

We carried out a project to provide detailed benchmarking information on the processes used to handle complaints and deal with members under investigation.

You'll find this research useful if you'd like to compare your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for complaints handling or if you are exploring alternative processes and how to control the costs involved.

The research was supported by four of our members:

How did we carry out the project?

We reviewed the annual reports of regulatory and professional bodies for information on the prevalence of complaints and the costs involved.

We also ran a survey of professional and regulatory bodies to identify processes and procedures used.

We asked questions such as:

  • Are complaints increasing? Are they becoming more complex? Do they require more resource now?
  • Do you use Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) or mediation?
  • How public do you make the complaint and its outcome, and at what point is it made public?
  • How do you include lay members on your review or hearing panels?
  • Which KPIs do you use to evaluate your systems?
  • Can technology play a role in improving your processes and procedures?
  • Do you have a range of appropriate sanctions to fit a range of transgressions?
We conducted detailed case studies of interesting practice in dealing with complaints and members under investigation to highlight the problems and pitfalls to avoid.


What did we find?

Read the findings and in-depth analysis in our report, Shifting the Boundaries of Good Practice.