Raising a Concern
The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) is the voluntary regulator for aromatherapy operating worldwide, set up primarily to protect the public. In carrying out our regulatory functions we ensure that the public interest is at the heart of what we do and publicise our complaints procedure to enable members of the public to bring registrants to account for their actions should anything go wrong. As a Professional Body we set the standards that practitioners are required to meet continuously in order to be displayed on the register. The Code of Conduct, Ethics and Practice, detail the quality of care that you can expect from an IFA registrant, which are binding on all practitioners on the register. If a member falls short of those standards we need you to tell us in order to bring the registrant to account for their actions and protect public confidence in the profession. All complaints will be investigated thoroughly and sanctions will be imposed on a registrant if appropriate, in keeping with regulatory healthcare guidelines.
Complaints we can deal with
- The care or advice received from one of our Registrants
- The physical or mental health of one of our Registrants
- A Registrant’s professional conduct
- A Registrant’s business practices that disadvantage or exploit clients
- A Registrant’s personal behaviour that directly impacts on their fitness to practice.
The IFA will not consider complaints that are raised more than three (3) years after the incident has occurred.
Please note however, we cannot arrange refunds or compensation or provide legal advice or become involved in legal disputes even if a complaint is upheld.
Complaints we cannot deal with
- Complaints regarding aromatherapy practitioners who are not current members of the IFA. To check the register click here.
- Complaints about companies, unless they are a registered corporate member. To check the register click here.
- Complaints made anonymously that cannot otherwise be verified, see Whistleblowing Policy.
- Complaints that are not made formally in writing. If this is likely to be a problem for you, you will either need to ask someone to fill the Complaints Form in for you or we will assist you. For example, the Registrar will take down the details over the telephone and complete the form for you and then read the statement back to you for confirmation to ensure you are in agreeance. The completed form will then be sent to you to sign.
- Complaints where the complainant refuses or is unable to provide the necessary evidence to justify their claims; the emphasis of supplying evidence rests on the complainant
- Complaints which fall within the jurisdiction of another regulator, for example:
- Complaints regarding employment disputes or civil proceedings. However, the IFA reserves the right to act on the outcome of the proceedings if they relate to dishonesty.
- Complaints regarding breaches of Data Protection which must be directed to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). However, the IFA reserves the right to act on the outcome of the proceedings.
- Complaints regarding a breach of the Committee of Advertising (CAP) code of practice, which is the role of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) unless there is evidence of a breach of the Cancer Act 1939. However, the IFA reserves the right to act on the outcome of any other proceedings by the ASA.
- Complaints regarding claims for compensation – all practising members have insurance to cover claims and all Registrants will provide their insurance details upon request.
- Complaints on another individual’s behalf - complaints should wherever possible, come directly from the person affected unless:
- The complainant is considered vulnerable and for example a chaperone wishes to raise concerns on their behalf
- the IFA receives written legal authorisation for someone to act on behalf of the client.
- It is a public protection issue, where the IFA will act on complaints or information received from a third-party source e.g. insurance reports, social media, another regulator etc. that suggests that one of your Registrants may have breached our Codes.
- Other third-party complaints may also be considered and will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
- Complaints in regard to contractual disputes between practitioners.
Some IFA registrants, for professional or other reasons, may also hold dual registration with other bodies. To prevent two registers from independently acting on the same complaint please see below links to other professional bodies, for you to progress enquiries or complaints with if necessary. Typically, registrants will display the bodies they belong to on their promotional literature.
- Association of Reflexologists (AOR)
- Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)
- Complementary Therapists Association (CTHA)
- Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)
Multiple or Duplicate Complaints
Where a complaint has already been made to another regulator or professional body, the IFA will not normally initiate its procedures until the outcome of the complaint has been finalised.
The IFA Disciplinary & Complaints Committee reserve the right to ratify the decision of another body that meets or has similar professional standards to that of the IFA and duplicate the sanction imposed by that body without any further reference to the IFA’s complaints process. This decision cannot be appealed but is subject to annual review by an independent assessor.
Where complaints are made simultaneously to the IFA and other bodies, the IFA has the right to negotiate with those bodies as to who will address the complaint to avoid duplicating complaints processes. If negotiation is not possible, the IFA will make its decision as to whether it will address the complaint first based on whether the registrant complained against has been a registrant of the IFA for a longer period of time than they have the other body. If so, the IFA will address the complaint first, if not, the IFA will allow or refer to the other body to hear the complaint first.
Where multiple or duplicate complaints are made against the same registrant, they would be considered together to enable a holistic assessment of the registrant’s fitness to practise, leading to better outcomes and for greater efficiency in the complaints process.