Complaints Policy

At West Sussex Counselling Training we aspire to provide excellence across all areas of the centre. We are committed to the continuous improvement of the education and service we provide. We aim to listen carefully to the views of our candidates, to reflect on feedback, and to implement changes where needed.

We recognise, that on occasions an individual may feel that West Sussex Counselling Training has fallen short of these high standards of education and service. When concerns arise we will treat these concerns seriously, respond promptly, and investigate fully so as to resolve the matter in a fair, timely and appropriate way.

Under this procedure, a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction concerning aspects of your learning experience, administration, or other services that we provide. The WSCT complaints procedure also covers internal assessment, and academic appeals. Please note, any concerns about external assessment must be addressed with the CPCAB directly following the complaints procedure available here:

The purpose of this procedure is to make it as easy as possible for you to tell us of your dissatisfaction, and to investigate and address any potential shortfall or deterioration in the service we provide.

This procedure sets out the process by which complaints will be handled and is designed to ensure a fair, consistent, and open approach for candidates.

Your complaint can be raised regardless of its nature, and we will provide details of the complaint to any person who is the subject of the complaint and to the centre Director Vivienne Richardson.

West Sussex Counselling Training Ltd will not normally deal with anonymous complaints.

West Sussex Counselling Training will not deal with a complaint if it is raised more than 6 weeks after the alleged incident. Nonetheless, where it is appropriate to do so, information provided may still be used to identify future improvement.

You will be entitled to be accompanied by a nominated person at any meeting, at any stage of the complaint’s procedure. However, as this is an internal process, legal representatives will not be permitted.

What to do if you have a complaint

  • Stage One: If you are a current student at WSCT and you have a complaint, you should in the first instance put your concerns in writing to the tutor. Your tutor will then invite you to an informal meeting to discuss your concerns. In most instances your tutor should be able to resolve your concern swiftly, informally, and locally through this means. Issues or problems that are resolved in this way will not be logged as formal complaints. If the issue is not resolved in this way, then you may wish to refer the matter to Stage Two as a formal complaint. There may also be instances where it is appropriate for a complaint to be referred directly to Stage Two without first going through Stage One, for example where the matter complained about is complex or sensitive in nature.
  • Stage Two: Formal complaints should be made in writing and addressed to the centre Director Vivienne Richardson ( Your complaint will be logged and acknowledged in writing within 5 working days of receipt. In dealing with the complaint, the centre Director may wish to talk to you to clarify their understanding of the issues and to reach a determination of the complaint.

    The outcome of the complaint will be given to you in writing within 14 working days. This will provide information on the outcome of any investigation and, if appropriate, what action West Sussex Counselling Training Ltd intends to take to resolve the issue. Information relating to the outcome may also be provided to any individuals who have been the subject of the complaint.

    NOTE: In the case of an appeal against an internal assessment decision, once fully investigated following the above process, WSCT will forward our investigation to our allocated CPCAB external verifier to cross check our marking procedure.

  • Stage Three: If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint under Stage Two, then you may request an appeal of the Stage Two decision by writing to the centre Director Vivienne Richardson who will forward your appeal to the independent complaints assessor and moderator Valerie Allen.

An appeal may be requested on one or more of the following grounds:

  • New material information is available which was not previously available
  • and / or the complaints procedure was not followed

In dealing with the appeal, the independent complaints assessor may wish to speak to you to clarify their understanding of the issues and to reach a determination of the appeal.

The independent complaints assessor will determine whether the appeal is upheld (in whole or in part) and the outcome following that determination. You will be provided with a written decision, with reasons, within 28 working days of receipt of your letter requesting an appeal. The outcome of the appeal will be final.

Stage Four
If you have exhausted the centres complaints procedure, and you remain dissatisfied you can contact the awarding body for your course, in this case CPCAB. Under these circumstances the CPCAB will investigate:

  • Whether the centre has followed their own processes fairly and properly
  • Whether CPCAB guidelines have been followed
  • That there have been no instances of malpractice or maladministration

It is worth noting that it is unlikely that CPCAB could change the results of a centre complaint.

Policy on malpractice and maladministration

This policy aims to define malpractice and maladministration in the context of the design, delivery and assessment of the qualifications that West Sussex Counselling Training offer.

The policy sets out the rights and responsibilities of our centre management, tutor team and candidates. It also outlines the procedures to be followed should malpractice or maladministration be suspected or identified.

West Sussex Counselling Training defines malpractice as an intentional act that threatens the integrity and/or validity of delivery, assessment or certification of our qualifications.

Candidate malpractice

Candidate malpractice can include Introducing unauthorised material in external assessment or passing off work by someone else as if it was their own (plagiarism); and/ or altering assessment documents or certificates, falsifying evidence or documentation.

Centre malpractice

  • Failing to follow CPCAB procedures for conducting external assessment, moderation or verification;
  • Compromising the integrity of external assessment materials or falsifying assessment records
  • Failing to declare a conflict of interest when a candidate is a family member, close friend or client
  • Overly assisting candidates with coursework or assisting/prompting them during external assessment;
  • Assessment bias or behaving in such a way as to undermine the integrity of the qualification.

Definition of maladministration

West Sussex Counselling Training define maladministration as a lack of care, judgment or competence by anyone involved in the development, delivery and assessment of its qualifications. On-going maladministration could constitute malpractice.

Examples of centre maladministration can include:

  • Failure to follow published procedures
  • Incorrect action or failure to take a necessary action
  • Failure to provide information or providing misleading, inaccurate, or out-of-date information
  • Inadequate communication, unacceptable delay or failure to investigate concerns

Procedure for investigating malpractice or maladministration

In the event of malpractice or maladministration being suspected at our centre, the centre Director will:

  • Inform CPCAB
  • Inform the person implicated (preferably in writing) of the nature of the alleged event
  • Give that person the opportunity to respond (in writing)
  • Keep CPCAB informed of the progress and outcome of the centre’s investigation
  • Co-operate with any further investigation that may be required and take steps to prevent a re-occurrence.

It is the responsibility of the Director of West Sussex Counselling Training, to carry out an investigation into allegations of malpractice or maladministration at the centre. An investigation may be initiated by West Sussex Counselling Training or at the request of CPCAB.


Staff and Candidates of West Sussex Counselling Training are entitled to appeal against any action required by our Centre and the CPCAB following an investigation into malpractice or maladministration. An appeal can be raised by following stage 3 of the West Sussex Counselling Training complaints procedure.

Ofqual’s definition of an Adverse Effect: ‘An act, omission, event, incident or circumstance has an Adverse Effect if it – (a) gives rise to prejudice to Learners or potential Learners, or (b) adversely affects –

(i) the ability of the awarding organisation to undertake the development, delivery, or award of qualifications in accordance with its Conditions of Recognition, (ii) the standards of qualifications which the awarding organisation makes available or proposes to make available, or (iii) public confidence in qualifications.’

Our policies and procedures are updated annually – last updated November 2022