Frequently asked questions - before you submit a complaint
Can you tell me if you have ever received a complaint against a particular psychologist who is a member of the British Psychological Society?
The Society does not have this information. You are advised to approach the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists.
Isn't the Society obliged to provide this information to members of the public under the Freedom of Information Act, or to those making a specific request for this information?
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is only applicable to publicly owned organisations and the Society is not one of these; therefore, we are not obliged to provide any information under the Act.
I have been made aware that the psychologist I am receiving treatment from has previously been the subject of a complaint. Can you confirm whether or not that individual is fit to practise?
All queries about fitness to practise should be directed to the HCPC.
I have been made aware that the psychologist supervising me has previously been the subject of a complaint. Can you confirm whether or not that individual is fit to supervise me?
It is expected that all members will follow the Member Conduct Rules and the Society’s Code of Ethics and Conduct – in doing so, they would be considered to be meeting the expectations of the Society for the way in which they work. Find out more about our Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors (RAPPS).
The psychologist I wish to complain about is not a member of the Health and Care Professions Council but is a member of the British Psychological Society. How will you deal with my complaint?
You are advised to read our Member Conduct Rules carefully. If you feel that the allegation you wish to present to the Society falls under one or more of the Member Conduct Rules, you can submit a formal complaint. In order for the Society to be able to take any action you must provide the evidence required, as outlined in the procedures of the Member Conduct Rules. The Society will then decide if the member has breached the rules, and decide on the appropriate action.
The Society does not have a function to investigate complaints against its members, but can take action when the Society has evidence of the outcomes from any appropriate third party investigation.
Who does the British Psychological Society consider to be a third party?
This may be the Health and Care Professions Council or the employer. With more serious complaints this may also be through the appropriate judiciary authorities, but this is a matter for you to decide.
If the Health Professions Council is the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists then why is the psychologist I wish to complain about not registered with them?
The Health and Care Professions Council only regulates the following titles:
- Practitioner psychologist
- Registered psychologist
- Clinical psychologist
- Counselling psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Health psychologist
- Occupational psychologist
- Sport and Exercise psychologist.
Parliament decided not to regulate the generic title ‘psychologist’, for more information about the use of protected titles contact the HCPC.
The Society's chartered membership reflects the highest standard of psychological knowledge and expertise. It is our gold standard, demonstrating a commitment to professional development and high ethical standards of practice, teaching and research.
The psychologist I wish to complain about is not a member of the Society, who can I complain to?
In the first instance you should check with the Health and Care Professions Council to see whether the psychologist is registered with them. If they are, you could consider submitting a complaint to tthe HCPC. If not, you may wish to raise your concerns with the psychologist directly. If you are not happy with the outcome you could consider contacting their employer or any other appropriate third party.