ASORC sets and maintains ethical guidelines and standards for the profession so that the highest quality of service delivery may be maintained.
ASORC is a self-regulating professional body, with a Complaints Policy and Procedure for internal review and discipline of members for:
- protection of the reputation and integrity of ASORC and its members;
- the legitimate interests and safety of clients and the general public; and
- the maintenance of the professional conduct and standards required of ASORC members.
Membership of ASORC requires acceptance by the member of the ASORC Code of Ethics (the “Code”). The Code establishes a standard against which professional behaviour of ASORC members may be evaluated. Behaviour contrary to the Code amounts to behaviour against the best advice and interests of ASORC.
The Code will be used by ASORC in reviewing complaints about members and reviewing and determining appropriate courses of action regarding complaints concerning the professional conduct and ethical behaviour of ASORC members.
ASORC has no power to regulate the Rehabilitation Counselling profession in Australia, however ASORC does:
- Accept, review, consider and resolve complaints against ASORC members from fellow members, the general public and clients
- Counsel and educate ASORC members in respect of standards, ethics and appropriate behaviour
- Discipline members where ASORC considers appropriate, by suspending or terminating their membership
- If a complaint involves a breach of the criminal law, it will not be dealt with under this policy and procedure but will be referred to the appropriate authorities.
- If a complaint involves a civil dispute over fees or the terms of a contract of engagement, then it will not be dealt with under this policy and procedure until any civil proceedings between the parties are completed.
Structure of Complaints and Disciplinary Process
Types of complaints addressed
- Professional misconduct
- Ethical misconduct
- Material non-disclosure of relevant misconduct – See Criminal History Policy and Procedures
All complaints made against ASORC members shall be addressed to ASORC National office to the attention of the Administration Officer firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any person making a complaint by phone will be requested to:
- put their concerns in writing and,
- where possible and relevant, to identify their complaint by citing the specific section of the ASORC Code of Ethics that has been breached.
- where possible both parties to the complaint should submit their allegations and responses in the form of statutory declarations.
- Hearsay allegations (“This is true because X told me that he saw this, heard that….”) are discouraged as secondhand information and therefore lacking the persuasiveness of direct witness accounts.
- Supporting documents should also be referred to in the statutory declarations and be identified in the statutory declarations as being “True” copies of the original document.
Mediation - Preliminary Resolution Option
There is an opportunity for preliminary resolution by providing the parties with an opportunity to consent to engage in a preliminary mediation process at their own discretion and cost. In that regard:
- Payment for mediation is the responsibility of the parties and to be agreed between them.
- The ASORC Administration Officer holds a list of Mediators and will provide that list to the parties for their consideration.
- Upon the parties identifying a suitable mediator, the Administration Officer will pass the contact details of the parties to the identified Mediator.
- The mediator will proceed to manage the mediation process.
- If either or both party declines to provide their consent for mediation then the complaint process occurs as per the ASORC Complaints Procedure.
Procedural Fairness & Natural Justice
ASORC and the Ethics and Complaints Sub Committee shall, at all times apply principles of procedural fairness and natural justice in its decision making. Guidance in this regard should be sought from ASORC’s Honorary Counsel. All information considered is to be provided by individuals in writing, at a minimum in the form of a Statutory Declaration.
ASORC will uphold confidentiality as far as possible.
Following the conclusion of the complaints process, the committee will convene to review the process and make any recommendations to the Board. The process will be evaluated for changes and improvements.
For further information, please contact National Office: email@example.com.