What happens if I have a complaint raised against me?

If a client decides to raise a complaint against a BANT member in relation to a one-to-one nutritional therapy consultation, they will be directed via the BANT website to your registrant body, the CNHC.

Your client may have informed you that they intend to raise a complaint and once they have, you will be informed about the complaint by your registered body either by phone call, email or letter.  It may be that the first you are aware of a complaint is when you are informed about this by your registered body.

Your registered body will explain their complaints procedure to you.  The CNHC complaints process can be found here.

If a complaint is raised against you, you are advised to immediately inform the BANT Professional Practice Panel (PPP) at [email protected].  

The role of the PPP during the investigation into the complaint by the registered body, is to support you in all aspects of the investigation, specifically regarding your response to the complaint.

Once the review of the complaint has been concluded by your registrant body, and assuming a fitness-to-practice issue has not been upheld, the PPP will review with you the sections of the BANT Professional Practice Handbook which you may have fallen short of, or not adhered to, and are relevant to the complaint raised.

The PPP will discuss with you how to incorporate the necessary changes into your practice to align yourself with the BANT Professional Practice Handbook and BANT’s ethos, to avoid further complaints of a similar nature in the future.

Complaints of any other nature, outside of the one-to-one, client – nutritional therapist relationship, will be reviewed directly by the BANT PPP.  If a member of the public or another practitioner wishes to make a complaint against you which does not relate to a one-to-one nutritional therapy consultation, they will need to complete the BANT Complaints Form, and submit it with any relevant supporting documentation to the PPP at [email protected].  On receipt of the form, the PPP will first establish whether there is potentially a compliant to uphold, and if so, will communicate this decision in writing to you, to BANT Council and to the complainant.

The details of the complaint will then be discussed by the PPP via email or at a regularly planned PPP meeting.  If additional information is required from you, then the PPP will request this to be sent within 16 days of receipt of the request.

The PPP will assess the nature of the complaint and discuss the appropriate course of action to be taken. The PPP will also notify you by email as soon as possible after a conclusion has been reached.

Types of actions to be taken include:

  • No action – Full records of the complaint will be kept by the PPP for a period of 2 years noting that nothing further occurred as well as the reasons for no further action.
  • Informal warning – This is not as serious as a formal warning (see below) but still needs to be documented. Remedial action such as CPD is likely to be required.  An Informal Warning will be noted on the member’s file for a period of between 6 – 24 months (depending on the breaches) and will be taken into account should a further complaint of the same nature be received.  If after this period of time no further complaints have been received, it will be removed.
  • Formal warning – This is more serious than an informal warning and will result in remedial action being required as determined by the PPP.  The formal warning will be noted on the member’s file for a period of between 24 – 36 months and will be taken into account should a further complaint of the same nature be received.  If after this period of time no further complaints have been received, it will be removed.
  • Membership suspension – This is more serious than a Formal Warning.   The PPP may feel that the nature and severity of the breach is such that the member poses a risk to the public or themselves and the resultant remedial action needs to be undertaken before the practitioner continues in practice.  The practitioner’s membership will be suspended until they have demonstrated that they are fit to practice.  Should a member continue to practice during a suspension period, their membership will be fully rescinded.  Any membership suspended will be noted on the members file for 5 years.
  • Membership rescinded – If the breaches identified are of such a serious nature that they result in the practitioner’s membership being rescinded, after five years have elapsed the member may reapply for membership.

The PPP will reach its decision based on the facts of the case, as far as can reasonably be established, but it may be necessary to consider whether there have been any prior incidents or warnings.

The PPP will decide whether there is a need to involve BANT Council, e.g. in the situation where membership is to be rescinded or in an appeal.

Appeals Process

The appeals process is not an opportunity for the BANT practitioner to present new evidence, but for the PPP and BANT Council to consider whether the original process was fair and reasonable in all the circumstances.  The appeal will be set out in writing, and the document will provide clear details of what is being appealed – the findings, the disciplinary penalty, or both.

If the PPP and BANT Council are satisfied that the original process was fair and reasonable then the appeal can be dismissed.  If there is a reasonable argument that the investigation should have covered more, consideration should be given to upholding the appeal.  Further investigation will then be arranged and may involve an independent panel.

The decision from the appeal should be reached as soon as possible and the BANT practitioner will be notified in writing of the outcome.  If the appeal is upheld, the original complainant must also be notified.

Membership Reassessment

After a period of five years, if the practitioner wishes to reapply for membership, the PPP will review the original complaint and will assess whether the misdemeanour/breach has been addressed.

Both BANT Council and the original complainant must be informed that the former practitioner has reapplied for membership.

All communications must be documented in writing and the final decision must also be sent in writing to the applicant and the original complainant.