Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
01 230 35 36

Complaints Against IACP Accredited Course Providers


We aim through IACP Course Accreditation to set a standard of excellence for Counselling and Psychotherapy courses. Prospective students can be assured that courses accredited by the IACP are of a high professional standard. Our standards and regulations have been established over time to uphold professionalism within the area of Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

Before submitting a Complaint to IACP

The first step is for complaints to be raised with your course provider. Your provider should have a written complaints procedure and they are obliged to provide you with a copy and follow its steps. This should include an appeals stage.

You should therefore follow all steps set out by your training provider, including any appeals process, before contacting the IACP. If you fail to do so, you will be referred back to your training provider to complete their process.

The IACP is unable to advise or get involved in complaints between students and their providers until these steps have been completed.

My course provider refuses to provide me with a copy of their process, is not following their process, or is unreasonably delaying their response.

If you can provide the IACP with evidence (in writing) that your training provider is not following their process or is not responding to your complaint within reasonable timeframe, the IACP will send your provider a request to respond to this evidence. This request will inform your course provider that they must provide evidence (in writing) that they are following their process within 40 days.

Types of Complaints we can and cannot accept

The purpose of the Complaints Procedure is to provide a means of processing a complaint about an infringement of the agreed criteria for course accreditation.

We cannot get involved in complaints regarding issues such as value for money, refund requests, ability to find work, wishing to withdraw from a course, and so forth. These are all matters which would be covered by your training provider contract.

The IACP’s role is restricted to benchmarking against our agreed criteria for course accreditation.

Complaints by Third Parties

We can only investigate complaints received by students who are currently enrolled on an accredited IACP course.

The IACP cannot investigate anonymous complaints or complaints by third parties including course staff, family and friends of students etc.

The Complaints Procedure

We require evidence that the course’s complaints procedure has been exhausted before examining a complaint.

Complaints must be signed and submitted in writing and addressed to IACP Course Complaints by post or by email to

Once the complaint has been received, it will be considered by a Panel constituted to consider whether the complaint is admissible. This Panel will be appointed by the Board of Directors and shall be constituted of:

  • 2 Senior Members of the profession who have been accredited with the IACP for at least five years; and 
  • An independent external panel member who is not a member of IACP and who has no links with the involved parties. 

The procedure is divided into five possible stages:

Stage 1 – A signed complaint is referred to the Panel.

Stage 2 – The Panel reviews if the complaint is admissible.

If there is found to have been no breach of the Course Criteria, the complaint will be dismissed, and the Complainant will be informed with reasons for the non-admission of the complaint.   

Stage 3 – If complaint is deemed admissible – the Panel seeks authorisation to share the complaint with the Director of the Course complained against. When this is done, the Director is asked to respond in writing to the complaint. The reply is forwarded to the complainant. If the complainant is satisfied with the Director’s reply, and the Panel considers there is no need for further action, the procedure may be completed at this stage. If not, the procedure moves onto stage 4.

Stage 4 – The Panel will consider the issues raised by the Complainant and by the Director of the course provider and following the investigation – it will make a written report.  

The Director of the course provider will be asked to respond with their comments and observations in writing, by post or by email attachment, and informed that this correspondence, in full, will be made available to the Complainant.  The Director of the course provider will be asked to provide this response within four weeks of receipt of the completed complaint.  

The Director’s response will be sent to the Complainant for observations and comments.  The Complainant will be asked to send in any observations and comments they may wish to make within four weeks of receipt of the Course Provider’s response.  

The Complainant’s response will be forwarded to the Panel and discussed at the subsequent meeting. 

The Complainant’s comments are then made available to the Director of the course provider who is given an opportunity to respond in writing.  Again, a response should be submitted to the Panel within four weeks of receipt of the Complainant’s comments.

Once the Panel is satisfied that it has all the relevant information, the Panel will make a written report with their decision and recommendations for the Board.

Stage 5 –The Board will ratify the recommendations in the report and the Panel will write to the Complainant and the Director of the course provider with their decision.

The Panel may find that no breach of the criteria for course accreditation has occurred, and no action needs to be taken.  Both parties will be informed of the final decision, with the rationale for the decision.


The Panel may find that a breach (or breaches) of the criteria for course accreditation has occurred, and action needs to be taken.  

Where action is required, this may include sanctions to be imposed on the course provider,


There is no right of appeal to IACP decisions on training provider complaints.

Data Retention

Data regarding complaints is stored for 7 years from the date the complaint is finalised.

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