Introduction

The APECS Code of Ethics and Conduct sets out the principles, standards and sometimes procedures that guide our work. Members of APECS accept these as part of their contract with APECS and would be expected to tell APECS if there was any part or parts of the Code with which they could not agree and which they could not practise.


Failure to abide by these standards by any member of APECS may be reported to APECS for investigation under its Complaints Procedure. In the first instance, APECS will encourage any complaint to be raised with the APECS member concerned if it is reasonable and practicable to do so. Throughout the process, the complainant and the individual named in the complaint will be encouraged to resolve their differences, work on the issues involved, learn from the situation and come to an amicable resolution whenever possible.


Making a Complaint

A complaint may be made against a member of APECS by a member of the public, another APECS member, a client of an APECS member, an involved buyer of coaching or a coaching supervisor if:

  1. there is deemed to be a breach of a clause in the APECS Code of Ethics and Conduct
  2. a member is demonstrating behaviour which is deemed to be bringing APECS and/or the profession of coaching into disrepute
  3. the matter is not already the subject of legal action or court proceedings
  4. the complaint is not being made anonymously
  5. the complaint is being made within one year of the alleged breach of the Code or behaviour having taken place.

The individual named in the complaint must be a member of APECS at the time of the complaint being made.

The complaint must be made in writing using the APECS Complaint Form and submitted by email to the APECS Membership Secretary who will verify that the individual named in the complaint is an APECS member, record the complaint and acknowledge its receipt within seven working days. The complaint will be then forwarded to the APECS Director for Governance.

Complaints that do not meet the above criteria will not be heard. APECS will not entertain complaints from 3rd parties that do not directly involve APECS and/or its members.


APECS Ethics and Complaints Committee

The APECS Ethics and Complaints Committee (‘the Committee’) will investigate and seek to resolve any complaint against a member of APECS that cannot be resolved by the individuals concerned or by mediation.

The Committee must always have a majority of independent members, i.e. members who hold no Board or other management role in APECS. The Committee may include members of APECS. All Committee members are expected to exercise their own judgement without prejudice. Any Committee member with a conflict of interest in the matter, be it personal or professional, should declare this at the outset and disqualify themselves from participation.

It is important that each stage of the process is adequately documented. The deliberations of the Committee will be recorded and notes may be disclosed if required in a subsequent legal action. The process requires a reasonable timeline from submission of the complaint to final decision. The APECS Complaints Procedure is set out below.

Complaints Procedure

We very much hope that complaints will be a rare occurrence for APECS. Should any issues arise, we hope that the first step will be for the individuals concerned (complainant and APECS member) to try to resolve the issue by talking to each other. If this fails, the next step would be to seek to address the issue through mediation. Should those attempts to resolve the issue both fail, the Complaints Procedure is as follows:


1. Initial Review of Complaint

The Director for Governance (DG) will review the Complaint Form for completeness and will contact the complainant within two weeks to request clarification and/or additional information if needed.

The DG will contact the APECS member named in the complaint to let him/her know that a complaint has been submitted. A copy of the Complaint Form and any supporting materials will be provided to the APECS member named in the complaint.

If the complainant has not yet raised their complaint with the APECS member concerned in an attempt to resolve the issue, they will be encouraged to do everything they can to resolve the issue in a way that is mutually agreeable, including independent mediation. Any costs incurred will be the responsibility of the parties involved.

If discussion or mediation succeed in resolving the issue, the complainant will be required to confirm in writing to the APECS member named in the complaint and to the DG that their complaint has been resolved to their satisfaction. This confirmation will be recorded by APECS.


2. Review by Ethics and Complaints Committee

If discussion/mediation fails to resolve the issue, the DG will forward the formal written complaint to the APECS Ethics and Complaints Committee (‘the Committee’). The Committee will request a formal written response to the complaint from the APECS member concerned within three weeks. The Committee will then review the steps taken, request additional information or clarification from the complainant or the APECS member named in the complaint, or investigate the complaint further, if needed before making a decision. The Committee may decide to speak to the complainant and/or the APECS member named in the complaint, or a third party if needed, via Zoom or similar.


3. Decision by Ethics and Complaints Committee

The Committee will decide if:
  1. there has been a breach of a clause in the APECS Code of Ethics and Conduct
  2. the APECS member named in the complaint has demonstrated behaviour which brings APECS and/or the profession of coaching into disrepute.

If the decision of the Committee is that there has been no breach of the Code, nor has the APECS member named in the complaint demonstrated behaviour which brings APECS and/or the profession of coaching into disrepute, the case will be closed and the complainant and APECS member named in the complaint will be advised of this in writing by the Chair of the Committee.

If the decision of the Committee is that there has been a breach of the Code and/or the APECS member named in the complaint has demonstrated behaviour which brings APECS and/or the profession of coaching into disrepute, the Committee will determine the appropriate remedial actions or sanctions.

Remedial actions or sanctions may require further training or supervision or the removal of APECS accreditation and membership.

The complainant and the APECS member named in the complaint will be informed of the Committee’s decision in writing and asked to confirm in writing their acceptance of the Committee’s decision and the remedial actions or sanctions.

If the APECS member named in the complaint accepts the remedial actions or sanctions, the case will be closed and confirmation provided in writing to the APECS member and complainant.

APECS cannot guarantee any specific outcome and is therefore not liable for any result. APECS and its agents are not a court of law and this is not a legal procedure.


4. Appeals Procedure

If the APECS member named in the complaint does not accept these remedial actions or sanctions, he/she may appeal in writing, within four weeks of the date of the decision, to the Chair of the Board of APECS, clearly outlining the grounds on which their appeal is being made. No new evidence will normally be accepted in considering the appeal unless in exceptional circumstances.

The appeal will be reviewed by the Chair, an APECS Board Director and two APECS members with no previous involvement in the case. A decision will be made within eight weeks of receiving notification of the appeal and communicated to the complainant and the APECS member named in the complaint. The Chair of the Board’s findings will be final and binding on all parties.


5. Timescales

As a volunteer organisation, APECS will seek to respond to a complaint within the following timescales, but cannot commit always to do so:


Membership Secretary verifies APECS membership of person named in the complaint and acknowledges receipt of complaintWithin 7 working days of receiving complaint
APECS Ethics & Complaints Committee reviews steps taken, requests additional information or clarification if needed and makes decisionWithin 4 weeks of receiving Complaint Form
APECS Ethics & Complaints Committee advises complainant and APECS member named in complaint of decisionWithin 8 weeks of being advised of outcome of discussion/ mediation
APECS Ethics & Complaints Committee advises complainant and APECS member named in complaint of decisionWithin 5 working days of decision being taken
Any appeal to be made in writingWithin 4 weeks of decision being communicated
Appeal considered and decision takenWithin 8 weeks of appeal being made

6. Confidentiality 

The APECS Complaints Procedure is intended to be confidential in nature. It is the intent of APECS that specific information about complaints made and the parties named in the complaints will not be disclosed to third parties not involved in the process unless required by law. Some facts and information derived from the complaint and its investigation and findings may be shared and used by APECS for learning and continuous improvement purposes, whilst maintaining the anonymity of the complainant and the APECS member named in the complaint.

Members of the Ethics and Complaints Committee, the Board, and others who in their role or expertise are involved in the handling of a complaint have an obligation of confidentiality as to the information about the complaint and/or appeal, that has come to their knowledge.

This obligation of confidentiality will remain in force after the termination of the work for the Ethics and Complaints Committee or for APECS. The obligation of confidentiality ceases only if a legal ruling obliges the person involved to disclose information.

Members of the APECS Ethics and Complaints Committee, the Board and the administration team are bound by the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that came into force in May 2018.


About APECS

The Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (APECS) is the top level professional membership body for executive coaching, supervision, and advisory services to corporate organisations.

Contact Us

  • To find out more about the benefits of joining APECS, please contact:
  • The Membership Secretary
  • membership@apecs.org
  •   +44 (0)333 567 1404
  • Further details on our programme of London events can be obtained from The Real Sessions website.