Research Library

Complaints Handling and Discipline

External Complaint Handling and Discipline systems is an important process to ensure that professional standards are maintained for the individual complainants and also for the profession.


Author(s): John Chellew and Dimity Kingsford Smith

This title introduces how external complaint handling and discipline systems operate and some of the issues involved. It is for professional associations wanting to develop an external system for their members. The title should assist them to better understand how an existing government legislative external system operates for their profession or industry. It intersects with the related title on internal complaint handling procedures, which deals with firm internal procedures, often the first stage in a complaint process before it is escalated to an external system.

The title illustrates the variety of structures for external complaint handling and discipline systems by comparing the five professions/occupations that the internal complaints title also compared: doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and financial planners, along with the Professional Standards Councils (PSC) Model Code for approved member associations.

The title has the following parts:

  • Role of an External Complaint and Discipline System;
  • Hierarchy of Complaint and Discipline Systems;
  • Variety of External Complaint and Discipline Systems; and
  • Summary.


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