Ombudsman Service Policy

The Ombudsman Service Policy is listed in alphabetical order.  This does not represent a priority of order.

Each Complainant, Respondent, and Third Party is required to read through the full details of the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedure.

The Purpose of the Ombudsman Service is to provide each consumer (client, student, member of a Professional Body or Support Group) with an independent authority to address disputes and complaints in line with current consumer policy.

The Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedure serves all coaching and mentoring industry consumers.

The IRCM recognises that consumers are clients, students, members of Professional Bodies and Support Groups, coaches, mentors, or owners/members of staff of organisations within the coaching and mentoring industry.  Where the consumer is training to be a coach/mentor, or is a coach, or mentor, or owner/member of staff of an organisation, this brings an additional level of review into the conduct of the consumer.

The definition of the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedures is found under the Policy and Procedure headings on this webpage.

The extent of the Ombudsman Service jurisdiction is the power to make decisions which are binding on the all Professional Bodies, Support Groups, Formal Education Bodies, Private Commercial Training Organisations, Coaches, Mentors, and Students in their jurisdiction unless the dispute/challenge is successfully challenged through the courts.

click here to access the relevant Codes of Conduct.

The IRCM recognises that consumers are clients, students, members of Professional Bodies and Support Groups; as well as coaches, mentors, or owners/members of staff of organisations within the coaching and mentoring industry.

Where the consumer is training to be a coach or mentor, or is a coach, or mentor, or owner/member of staff of an organisation, this brings an additional level of review into the conduct of the consumer.

Ombudsman Service is free of charge; however, if a Complainant or Respondents insist on meeting face-2-face, all costs (including legal advice, travel, hiring of an appropriate venue, etc.) will be covered by the individual requesting the face-2-face meeting.

The Ombudsman Service does not accept any responsibility for expenses related to or incurred through any grievance, dispute or complaint.

  1. The grievance is considered to be a breach of a clause of the Unified Code of Industry Ethics or Unified Coaching and Mentoring Industry Core Competencies.
  2. The grievance can be raised by any consumer who has received a service or product provided by:
    • an individual calling themselves or representing themselves as a Coach or Mentor,
    • an individual providing a Coaching or Mentoring service or product,
    • a Formal Education Body or Private Commercial Training Organisation, providing Coach and/or Mentor Training/Workshops, or
    • a Support Group providing support to Coaches and Mentors,
    • a Professional Body representing Coaching or Mentoring.
  3. It is recommended that the Complainant has first approached the Respondent and sought to resolve the issue through Facilitation.
  4. The Complainant must be named in the grievance.
    The IRCM recognises that consumers may be coaches, mentors, or owners/members of staff of organisations within the coaching and mentoring industry.  This recognition brings an additional level of review in the conduct of the individual/organisation within the coaching and mentoring industry.
  5. The Respondent must be named in the grievance.
  6. Where the Complainant is a coach, mentor, or owner/member of staff of an organisation; the Complainant may or may not be listed on the IRCM Register.
  7. The Respondent may or may not be listed on the IRCM Register.
  8. The matter is in relation to a coaching or mentoring service; or a coaching or mentoring product.
  9. The matter is not already in progress as a formal complaint with another organisation.
    Where the matter is in progress, a grievance or complaint may only be raised where the matter was not resolved through a formal complaint registered by the Complainant to the Respondent directly or another organisation.
  10. The matter is not the subject of court proceedings.
  11. The grievance or complaint must be presented in detail in writing and where applicable additional documentation may be submitted.
  12. The complaint must be signed electronically by the Complainant.
  13. In line with point 2, the complaint must also include details of the initial approach made by the Complainant and the results of the initial approach.
  14. The alleged violation (grievance, dispute, or complaint) is to be reported no later than 12 months (1 calendar year) after the event that triggered the grievance or complaint.
  15. All grievances, disputes, or complaints must be reported formally through the Ombudsman Service ‘Request for Facilitation’ or where the Complainant can show that facilitation has not worked, ‘Raising a Formal Complaint’ form.
  16. All Complainants have read the full details of this Policy and Procedure before submitting the relevant form.

It is important understand that:

  • a single investigation may be incorporated into multiple grievances, disputes or complaints about the same topic. Therefore, your grievance, dispute, or complaint may not be held within the time frames defined below.  Where the Ombudsman Service identifies that there are multiple grievances, disputes, or complaints, the Head of Ombudsman Service will notify you that your complaint is being incorporated into a single grievance, dispute, or complaint with others; and will notify you of the timeframe.
  • As per point 4 above, the IRCM recognises that consumers may be coaches, mentors, or owners/members of staff of organisations within the coaching and mentoring industry. This recognition brings an additional level of review in the conduct of the individual/organisation within the coaching and mentoring industry.
  • Where there have been previous complaints received against the Respondent for the same, similar or other clause(s), the Outcome and details of the grievance, dispute, or complaint will be incorporated into the review.
  • A commercial organisation may be an organisation that supports the coaching and mentoring industry; is not within the coaching and mentoring industry and therefore the IRCM’s Ombudsman Service does not represent the Commercial Organisations.  Where the consumer wishes to raise a complaint against one of the Commercial Organisations, we request that the complaint is raised through the relevant Ombudsman.

Outline of Information

The Outline of Information provides all parties in a grievance, dispute, or complaint with the relevant details selected from the information submitted in the IRCM Forms or in additional documentation or by email.

Notice of Resolution

The Notice of Resolution provides all parties with the agreed resolution and an expected completion date.

Outcome

The Outcomes Document provides all parties with relevant information supporting the Outcomes Decision.

This information will include the IRCM’s Outcome Review detailing at summary level the grievance, disputes, or complaint outline; the Complainants requested outcomes, and the Outcomes awarded.

Where applicable, an appendix showing Complaints Upheld, Complaints Partially Upheld, Insufficient Evidence Submitted, Complaints Resolved, Complaints Not Upheld, Complaints Rejected, and Complaints with No Ruling.

Outcome and Sanctions

Provides the same information as the Outcomes document with a final section details the Sanctions.

Appeals Outcome

The Appeals Outcomes Document provides all parties with relevant information supporting the Appeal.

This information will include the IRCM’s Appeal Review detailing at summary level the appeal and relevant documentation/information submitted; and the Outcomes awarded.

Where applicable, an appendix showing Appeals Upheld, Appeals Partially Upheld, Insufficient Evidence Submitted, Appeals Resolved, Appeals Not Upheld, Appeals Rejected, and Appeals with No Ruling.

Appeals Outcome and Sanctions

Provides the same information as the Appeals Outcomes document with a final section details the Sanctions.

Facilitation and Complaints Schedule

A schedule is defined as a plan for carrying out a process or procedure.  To allow the Ombudsman Service to schedule each grievance, dispute, and/or complaint in the order in which they are registered, the Ombudsman Service uses a Facilitation and Complaints Schedule.

When a grievance, dispute, and/or complaint is registered, it is added to the Facilitation and Complaints Schedule and an expected timeframe will be provided to both the Complainant and Respondent(s).

Facilitation

  • The Panel comprises the Head of Ombudsman Service and additional Panel members should be called from the following Departments – Compliance, Industry Direction, Registers, and/or Steering Committee.
  • The Panel must always be comprised of an odd number and including the Head of Ombudsman Service, must be a minimum of three members.
  • Where there is a conflict of interest, the Director of Compliance no later than the third Tuesday of the month, will appoint a member of the Board or refer the matter to the IRCM’s Board of Directors, who will appoint a member of the Board, to lead as Head of Ombudsman Service, the policy and procedure of this grievance.
  • The Head of Ombudsman Service must allow the Panel members to hold full in-depth discussions.
  • Each point raised against a grievance, dispute, or complaint must be clearly documented.
  • The Panel including the Head of Ombudsman Service will vote on the Outcome (Step 1: Facilitation, point 8 and Step 3: Outcomes Procedure, point 1).

Complaint

  • The Panel comprises the Head of Ombudsman Service and additional Panel members should be called from the following Departments – Compliance, Industry Direction, Registers, and/or Steering Committee.
  • The Panel must always be comprised of an odd number and including the Head of Ombudsman Service, must be a minimum of three members.
  • Where there is a conflict of interest, the Director of Compliance no later than the third Tuesday of the month, will appoint a member of the Board or refer the matter to the IRCM’s Board of Directors, who will appoint a member of the Board, to lead as Head of Ombudsman Service, the policy and procedure of this grievance.
  • The Head of Ombudsman Service must allow the Panel members to hold full in-depth discussions.
  • Each point raised against a grievance, dispute, or complaint must be clearly documented.
  • The Panel including the Head of Ombudsman Service will vote on the Outcome (Step 2: Complaint Procedure, point 9 and Step 3: Outcomes Procedure, point 1).

Appeal

  • The Director of Compliance no later than the third Tuesday of the month, will appoint a member of the Board or refer the matter to the IRCM’s Board of Directors, who will appoint a member of the Board, to lead as Head of Appeals.
  • No member of the Appeals Panel may have been included on the Facilitation and/or Complaints Panel.
  • Additional Panel members should be called from the following Departments – Compliance, Industry Direction, Registers, and/or Steering Committee.
  • The Panel must always be comprised of an odd number and including the Head of Appeals, must be a minimum of three members.
  • Where there is a conflict of interest, the Director of Compliance no later than the third Tuesday of the month, will appoint a member of the Board or refer the matter to the IRCM’s Board of Directors, who will appoint a member of the Board, to lead as Head of Appeals, the policy and procedure of this grievance.
  • The Head of Appeals Panel must allow the Panel members to hold full in-depth discussions.
  • Each point raised against a grievance, dispute, or complaint must be clearly documented.
  • The Panel including the Head of Appeals Panel will vote on the Appeal.

Any and all Requests for Facilitation, Formal Complaints, Sanctions, and Appeals will be clearly stated and noted in the IRCM’s Register (Complaint Summary, Complaint Details, Outcomes, and Sanctions Raised/Lifted).

The IRCM recognises that respondents are anyone with coaching and/or mentoring skills, and/or coaching/mentoring training, and/or working within the Coaching and Mentoring Industry:

  • Coaches – qualified, accredited, or not – and representing themselves as a Coach.
  • Mentors – qualified, accredited, or not – and representing themselves as a Mentor.
  • Students who have begun or completed a training course, and are using these skills as a Coach or Mentor.
  • Coaches and/or Mentors who are members of a Support Group.
  • Coaches and/or Mentors who are members of a Professional Body.
  • All individuals working for or representing a Private Commercial Training Organisation.
  • All individuals working for or representing a Formal Education Body.
  • All individuals working for or representing a Support Group.
  • All individuals working for or representing a Professional Body.
  • Any individual who is representing the coaching and/or mentoring industry.

A commercial organisation may be an organisation that supports the coaching and mentoring industry; is not within the coaching and mentoring industry and therefore the IRCM’s Ombudsman Service does not receive grievances registered against a Commercial Organisations.  Where the consumer wishes to raise a complaint against one of the Commercial Organisations, we request that the complaint is raised through the relevant Ombudsman.

Students, Coaches, or Mentors who wish to be excluded from the Coaching and Mentoring Industry must register their change of career or focus, but understand that the Ombudsman Service may receive and process a grievance registered against them for a period of no less than the period under ‘Defining a Complaint’ point 14.

It is the independent responsibility of each individual and organisation in the Coaching and Mentoring Industry and the consumers to understand this Ombudsman  Service Policy and Procedure.  The IRCM, providing the Ombudsman Service for the Coaching and Mentoring Industry will, for all grievances, disputes, complaints received, ensure that the Complainant and the Respondent is provided with the link to this Ombudsman Service policy and procedure.

It is important for every consumer who feels unsatisfied with the service they have received, knows about this Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedure.

The IRCM does not accept any responsibility for costs and/or expenses related to or incurred by every individual/organisation, or any supporting parties for any grievance or complaint registered and progressed through the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedure.

All communication, unless otherwise stated, will be through the use of email.  Emails will be deemed to be served within 12 hours after sending unless returned automatically as un-delivered.

All timeframes documented within this Ombudsman Service policy and procedure will be adhered to.  It is recognised that timeframes may not be met where gaining, collating, and processing all relevant information is reliant on receiving the information from one or more parties.  Where the timeframes cannot be adhered to, the IRCM will notify all other parties with the reason.  Parties may lodge an objection.

Independence
Ensuring and demonstrating the freedom of the Director of Compliance, Head of Ombudsman Service, Ombudsman Service Committee and the Appeals Panel from interference in decision making.

  • Freedom from interference by any Director or member of the IRCM team in Ombudsman Service decision making on grievances, disputes, or complaints.
  • Building an appropriate and proportionate structure.
  • Appointment, re-appointment and remuneration of the Head of Ombudsman Service, Ombudsman Service Committee and the Appeals Panel consistent with ensuring Ombudsman independence.
  • Governance arrangements which ensure and safeguard the independence of Director of Compliance, Head of Ombudsman Service, Ombudsman Service Committee and the Appeals Panel and the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedures.
  • The Director of Compliance, Head of Compliance, Head of Ombudsman Service, Ombudsman Service Committee and the Appeals Panel involved in the governance of the scheme to conduct themselves at all times in the best interest of the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedures.

Openness and Transparency      
Ensuring openness and transparency in order that the consumers (buying public) can have confidence in the decision-making and management processes of the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedures.

  • Be clear about the legal rights, governance, authority, and funding arrangements of the Ombudsman Service.
  • Clearly worded policies and procedures.
  • Clear criteria for outcome decisions.
  • Clear and proper recording of decisions and actions on the IRCM Register (Complaint Summary, Complaint Details, Outcomes, and Sanctions Raised/Lifted – further details found by clicking here).
  • Where possible the IRCM will maintain the confidentiality of the details of this complaint in as far as it is able to.
  • Where confidentiality is breached, the IRCM will notify all parties.
  • The Ombudsman Service will make all information and publication of decisions clear, consistent with statute, contract, and good practice.
  • Clear levels of authority including conflicts of interest delegation.
  • Providing when requested details of the conflict of interest which apply to the Ombudsman team in relation to the relevant parties of a dispute, grievance, or complaint.

Accountability
Ensuring that all members of the Ombudsman Service team are seen to be responsible and accountable for their decisions and actions.

  • Accountable to the Regulator of Community Interest Companies for external scrutiny.
  • Accountable to Complainants and Respondents, and the Coaching and Mentoring Industry.
  • Robust mechanism for external audit and review of service quality.

Integrity
Ensuring straightforward, in-depth, and complete dealing of each dispute, grievance, or complaint registered; based on honesty, selflessness, professionalism, and objectivity.

Ensure high standards of propriety in the conduct of all aspects of the Ombudsman Service.

  • Ability to demonstrate impartiality in all activities.
  • Demonstrating and declaring the management of all conflicts of interest
  • Ensuring that all members of the Ombudsman Service Team comply with the IRCM’s Code of Conduct.

Clarity of purpose
Ensuring that Complainants, Respondents, and the Coaching and Mentoring Industry know why the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedures exists, why it is defined, what it can do for each consumer (client, student, or member of a Professional Body), and what they should expect from it.

  • Clear explanation of the purpose of the Ombudsman Service.
  • Clarity on who the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedures serves.
  • Clear definition of the Ombudsman Service Policy and Procedures.
  • Clarity on the extent of the Ombudsman Service jurisdiction.

Effectiveness
Ensuring that the Ombudsman Service delivers quality outcomes; simply, efficiently and professionally.

  • Demonstrating the methods used to keep to commitments.
  • Working closely with the Formal Education Bodies and Professional Bodies to implement Coaching and Mentoring Industry recommendations.
  • Effective risk management to raise the standards, confidence and excellence in the Coaching and Mentoring Industry.

Confidentiality
Confidentiality is at the heart of the coaching and mentoring process, and good business practice.  The IRCM takes their responsibility of confidentiality seriously, and requests that all parties involved in the Ombudsman Service retain the Confidentiality of the Grievance, Dispute, or Complaint.

As stated above:

  • Where possible the IRCM will maintain the confidentiality of the details of this complaint in as far as it is able to.
  • Where confidentiality is breached, the IRCM will notify all parties.
    Where the Complainant, Respondent, or Third Party is an individual/organisation within the coaching and mentoring industry, this breach will be noted against their record.

The following terminology is used throughout this Ombudsman Service policy and procedure:

  • Grievance (also known as dispute) is a something believed to cause distress; or a wrong considered as grounds for a complaint; or resentment against an unjust or unfair act.  Therefore, this term refers to the objection the person or organisation is raising against a Coach, Mentor, Support Group, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisation, or Professional Body.
  • Complaint is a formal registration of the grievance.
  • Complainant – this term refers to the person or organisation that is raising the complaint.
    Please see the heading ‘Consumers’.
  • Respondent – the person or organisation that the complaint is in relation to.

Although there may be many reasons for requesting facilitation or raising a Grievance, Dispute, or Complaint, the Ombudsman Service focuses on the following three types of grievances, disputes, or complaints:

Professional Misconduct is defined when a Coach, Mentor, Support Group, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisation, or Professional Body has contravened the Unified Code of Industry Ethics or Unified Coaching and Mentoring Industry Core Competencies.
Whether on the IRCM Register or not, misconduct applies where a Coach, Mentor, Support Group, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisation, or Professional Body is considered to have failed to follow the ethical code of the coaching or mentoring industry.

Professional Malpractice is defined when a Coaches, Mentors, Support Group, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisation, or Professional Bodies professional behaviour, through incompetence and/or negligence, is deemed to be below the minimum standards of the coaching or mentoring industry, it will be considered to represent Professional Malpractice.
Whether on the IRCM Register or not, malpractice applies where a Coach, Mentor, Support Group, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisation, or Professional Body is deemed to be below the minimum standards of the coaching or mentoring industry.

Coaching or Mentoring Industry Disrepute is defined where a Coach, Mentor, Support Group, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisation, or Professional Body has behaved in such a way that it is deemed to have brought the Coaching or Mentoring Industry into disrepute; by behaving in a manner that undermines the consumer’s confidence in the coaching or mentoring industry.
Whether on the IRCM Register or not, bringing the industry into disrepute by a Coach, Mentor, Support Group, Formal Education Body, Private Commercial Training Organisation, or Professional Body Industry Disrepute is deemed to undermine the consumer’s confidence in the coaching or mentoring industry.

The IRCM recognises that consumers may be coaches, mentors, or owners/members of staff of organisations within the coaching and mentoring industry.  This recognition brings an additional level of review in the conduct of the individual/organisation within the coaching and mentoring industry.

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© 2020 International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring CIC. All Rights Reserved
Version 4: August 2020