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The CIPHE’s Complaints Procedure

If you read our It's all in the Code blog, you’ll know that the CIPHE has a Code of Professional Standards, and that if a member contravenes any of the six points of the Code, he or she can make themselves liable for a complaint to be made against them.

If you also read our Why do plumbing jobs go wrong blog, you’ll also know that complaints are often due to a breakdown in communication. As a rule, most of these issues can be rectified without both parties undergoing a formal complaints procedure, but only if they talk! 

Sadly some issues cannot be rectified without outside intervention and that is where the CIPHE’s complaints procedure comes in. The process may seem daunting (for both sides), so here is it broken down. 

1) A member of the public, contacts the CIPHE to make a complaint. Once it is established that the plumber/heating engineer is a member of the CIPHE, then a complaint form is sent to the consumer to complete. When this is returned to Head Office, a copy is then sent to the member concerned for their comments.

2) When all the relevant paperwork from both parties is returned to Head Office, the complaint is then referred to the Chartered Institute’s Investigation Committee, who will be responsible for investigating the complaint. 

The Investigation Committee is made up of technical experts, an independent Barrister and an independent senior Trading Standards Officer. In some instances, the Professional Standards Administrator may contact the member in question to see if the complaint can be resolved without any further intervention from the CIPHE. 

This is as far as most complaints get, as the process can help to re-establish communication between the parties.

3) However, for cases that cannot be resolved at this point, the Investigation Committee will need to dig deeper. If needed, a Professional Standards Inspector will be sent along to make a report on the work completed by the member. This report may help the Investigation Committee to reach a decision whether to refer the complaint on to the Disciplinary Committee. 

The Disciplinary Committee will work with both parties to try and reach a resolution but can ultimately impose sanctions all the way up to removal from membership. The Disciplinary Committee is made up of voluntary members throughout the plumbing industry, CIPHE Head Office Staff, a QC and a senior Trading Standards Officer.

If you would like to know more about the Chartered Institute’s complaints procedure, please contact Maxine Rouse, the Professional Standards Administrator on 01708-463111 or email maxiner@ciphe.org.uk.