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Complaint Procedures

Hong Kong Association of Doctors in Clinical Psychology (HKADCP) is a professional association of doctoral clinical psychologists in Hong Kong. Its establishment serves to advance psychology and to uphold high professional standards in the profession in Hong Kong.

HKADCP takes very seriously any complaints about the professional conduct of its members. The complaint and appeal procedures are formulated to be impartial and fair to both the party making the complaint (complainant) and the clinical psychologist against whom the complaint is made (respondent). The HKADCP Ethic Sub‐committee is responsible for handling all received complaints.

Criteria for Accepting Complaints

  1. HKADCP investigates complaints only against its members, and then only if the complaint is filed within twelve months from the time that the alleged unethical conduct occurred or was discovered, or that adjudication by another jurisdiction was completed.

  2. HKADCP shall not act on anonymous complaints unless the information is already known to the public, which causes widespread public concerns.

  3. HKADCP has no jurisdiction to investigate complaints against psychologists who are not its members.

  4. Where HKADCP becomes aware of its members who are convicted of criminal acts, or disciplined by other statutory bodies, whether or not a specific complaint is lodged with HKADCP, the Chairperson or the Board may request the Ethic Sub‐committee to conduct a review of the matter and make a recommendation to the the HKADCP Board on disposition.

Making a Complaint

HKADCP only investigates complaints which are made in writing and signed, together with proper statutory declaration that all information provided in the complain forms are true and correct in every particular and detail under the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, Cap.11, Laws of Hong Kong.

  1. Download the Complaint Form (Form C2) from HKADCP website (www.hkadcp.com.hk).
    Download the Complaint Form (Form C2) here (pdf file)
    Download the Complaint Form (Form C2) here (doc file)

    Contact HKADCP if problems arise for their assistance of sending you copies of the Complaint Procedures (Form C1), the Complaint Form (Form C2) and a copy of the Bylaws and Codes of Ethics, which registered clinical psychologists of the Association must follow.

  2. Complete and sign the Complaint Form (Form C2).

  3. Arrange the completed Complain Form (Form C2) for statutory declaration under the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, Cap.11, Laws of Hong Kong.

  4. Send the completed Complaint Form and attachments to the below address:‐

    The Chairperson of the Ethic Sub­committee
    Hong Kong Association of Doctors in Clinical Psychology
    Rm. 703, No. 555 Nathan Road
    Kowloon
    Hong Kong


Investigation

  1. The Chairperson of the Ethic Sub‐committee proceeds to:‐
    a) send a copy of the complaint to the psychologist against whom the complaint is made (respondent), who is asked to respond in writing within 21 days.
    b) refer the complaint to the Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC)for initial vetting and/or necessary investigation. The PIC consists of two appointed members of HKADCP including one from the Ethic Sub‐committee and another HKADCP member who is neither a Board nor Sub‐committee member.

  2. The Preliminary Investigation Committee (PIC):‐
    a) contacts both the complainant and the respondent. This may be in writing or by phone or both. The contact aims to gather the required information which helps clarify the nature and details of the complaint.
    b) after completed the necessary vetting and/or investigation, makes a recommendation to the HKADCP Board on either of the following:‐ 

    ‧ that the complaint has no basis in fact.

    ‧ that the complaint is insignificant/has been corrected.
    ‧ that the complaint may be resolved between the involved parties by 
informal resolution.
    ‧ that the complaint needs to go to a formal panel hearing.

  3. Subject to the endorsement of the HKADCP Board, the recommendation of the PIC is confirmed as final.


Hearing

  1. For complaints that are referred to a formal panel hearing, the rules are laid down in the “Bylaws and Code of Ethics” of HKADCP. The HKADCP Ethic Sub‐committee takes charge of the panel hearing.

  2. The panel is made up of 3 members of HKADCP. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel decides whether the complaint is justified.

  3. If the panel finds that the complaint is not justified, the respondent will be exonerated.

  4. If the respondent is found in breach of professional and/or ethical conduct, the panel can recommend to HKADCP that the respondent, for example:
    a) be reprimanded.
    b) be given mandatory advice on future conduct.
    c) be suspended or expelled from the HKADCP membership.
    d) be suspended or expelled from the HKADCP's Register of Psychologists.
    e) be given other forms of sanction which the panel deems appropriate.

  5. If
 the respondent is found in breach of serious professional and/or ethical misconduct, the decision of the panel will be published in the HKADCP website.

  6. Both the complainant and the respondent are informed of the decision of the panel and the reasons for the decision in writing.


Special Notes

Rules governing the investigation and sanctions

The rules governing the investigation and sanctions in relation to complaints are always being those contained in the most recent edition of the Bylaws and Code of Ethics of HKADCP, regardless of the date of the incidents that give rise to the complaint.

Consent and confidentiality

To be fair to the involved parties, complaints are accepted for investigation on the basis that the complainant, i.e. the client or his/her legal guardian lodging the complaint gives consent to the use of relevant information, including confidential information that may arise out of the investigation of the complaint.

HKADCP makes every effort to ensure that all personal and complaint information is treated with the utmost confidentiality and is only released strictly on need‐to‐know basis.


Appeal

  1. If the complainant and/or the respondent are not satisfied with the outcome of the hearing, the subject party may appeal the decision of the panel by filing a notice of appeal with the Chairperson of the HKADCP Board.

  2. An appeal must be made within 30 days of notification of the hearing result requesting review by the HKADCP Board.

  3. The HKADCP Board can exercise its power under the Bylaw and Code of Ethics to either of the following:‐
    a) confirm or quash the decision of the hearing panel; and/or

    b) refer the matter back to the hearing panel for further consideration in accordance with any direction that the Board may make.

  4. The endorsement of the HKADCP Board on the appeal result is taken as final.