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Accredited Practitioner Register Sanctions Policy

The Register ensures that all practitioners comply with their Declaration of Compliance, the Ethical Basis of Best Practice and defined Professional Standards.

It is important to note that this Sanctions Policy applies to all practitioners on the Register and as such the same must also be fully aware of the contents of this policy and the possible sanctions application as there is the possibility of a sanctions application against them.

This policy ensures the defined ethics and standards of the Register are maintained by those on the Register.

This Sanctions Policy identifies:

  • failure by practitioners to comply with the declaration of compliance, Ethical Basis of Best Practice and defined Professional Standards of the Register;
  • outcomes arising from decisions made by the Professional Conduct Review Committee (PCRC)
  • the actions that the Register may take when any such non-compliance arises;
  • how the Register shall enforce non-compliance of its policies and procedures and how a breach of the same shall also trigger a breach of defined professional standards.

Approach to Sanctions

Sanctions are actions that can be applied to an individual who act in such a way as to contravene of the conditions of membership, act in such a way that is contrary to public interest, and/or threaten the integrity of the Register.

The decision to apply sanctions will made by the PCRC.

The Register has a range of sanctions that can be imposed on individual depend on the seriousness of the situation, the level and track-record of non-compliance and the risk to the interests of for example service users or clients.

If sanctions are required then they will be applied depending on the nature of the situation. The following non-exhaustive list identifies examples for recommending and imposing sanctions if the individuals on the Register has:

  • outstanding actions;
  • poor records to confirm assessment decisions;
  • an upheld complaint raised against an individual registrant on the Register;
  • breached any requirement contained in their individual application or approval for the Register;
  • repeatedly breached requirements for Register membership.

The purpose of applying sanctions is to:

  • to protect public interest and safety in all aspects of the delivery of Equine Facilitated Interactions;
  • uphold the credibility and public confidence in the Register
  • give time to investigate potential Malpractice and/or Maladministration whilst maintaining integrity;
  • protect the business and/or Register

Sanctions that may be imposed:

Should a practitioner be found to have committed malpractice then the following sanctions may be imposed on them by the PCRC in accordance with the arrangements outlined in the Malpractice and Maladministration Policy and may be communicated to the same by the Register, in line with the following:

  • can take anywhere from ten working days from receipt to three months or longer depending on what is being investigated;
  • will depend on the nature of the non-compliance and risk to the interests of the Service User;
  • can include: (i) an action plan (ii) written warning (iii) greater scrutiny (iv) additional compliance visits (at the member’s cost); (v) suspension of registration and/or membership; (vi) increased risk rating (review of procedures); (vii) withdrawal (in full or in part) from the Register (temporarily or permanently);
  • appropriate publication of individual details on the Register’s Professional Conduct Notices page on the website

Please note that any additional site visits to either an individual or organisational member of the Register shall be at their expense.  All fees paid are non-refundable.  For more information please see the Register’s Fees and Costs Policy.

Ensuring consistency in our approach

The length of time any of the above sanctions will be imposed will depend on the situation that warranted their introduction.

The PCRC shall be responsible for regularly reviewing the application and maintenance of sanctions to ensure they continue to be appropriate, consistent and proportionate to the incident(s) and risk of future incidents occurring.

Failure to Meet Payment Terms

The Register reserves its right to withdraw / remove an individual pursuant to the applicable Terms & Conditions, and applicable policies and procedures, including this Sanctions Policy) suspend membership with any individual that fails to meet, inter alia, its payment terms, or is deemed a financial risk. Ultimately any agreement between the same shall be terminated (including where applicable the Terms and Conditions).

Withdrawal

An individual must inform the Register of any intention to withdraw their membership.

Specifically individuals with such intentions must ensure that Service Users are not disadvantaged through such a decision and are supported in finding an alternative service provider. Importantly, withdrawing individuals must remove any reference to the Register or Athena Herd Foundation and the use of any applicable logos from its websites and literature, including publicity and delivery materials (please see the Athena Herd Foundation Brand Protection Policy, the applicable Terms and Conditions including policies and procedures).

Action will be taken against any individual displaying a Register logo which has not been approved by the Register which may also include reporting the same to the PSA.

Decisions and the Publication of Findings in respect of Individual Registrants on Accredited Practitioner Register

The Professional Conduct Review Committee (PCRC) is responsible for reviewing any complaints raised by service users or clients in respect of services provided by individual registrants on the Accredited Practitioner Register™.

Any upheld complaints and subsequently agreed sanctions will be published on the Athena Herd Foundation website on the Professional Conduct Notices page. Conditions of publication are defined with the Professional Conduct Review Committee terms of reference and the Professional Conduct Publication Policy. 

Notifications to/from Regulators and Accredited Registers

The Register will immediately inform the Professional Standards Authority and or any other accredited register where required in relation to any such breaches.

In cases where the Register is informed of sanctions imposed by, for example, a regulator or another accredited register, the Register will take appropriate action to check current activity, its quality assurance performance to date, undertake a Risk Assessment based on the information provided, and where appropriate, make arrangements to increase the Register’ monitoring processes.

Appeals

Individuals have the right to appeal against any sanction which has been imposed.  Appeals received by the Register will be acknowledged within 5 working days. Full details can be found in the Appeals Policy.

Monitoring and Review

An annual report on any cases of sanctions being applied, including those that have been withdrawn, will be made available to the Register’s Advisory Board.  The Advisory Board will review the policy annually as part of its self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary in response to individual and learner feedback, changes in its practices, advice from the regulatory authorities or external agencies, changes in legislation, or trends identified from previous instances of malpractice or maladministration.

Related Policies and Documents

This document is linked to the following policies and procedures:

  • Professional Conduct Review Committee and Professional Standards Notices Policy;
  • Where applicable, the Athena Herd Foundation Terms and Conditions;
  • Appeals Policy;
  • Maladministration and Malpractice Policy;
  • Whistleblowing Policy.
VersionInitialsDescriptionVersion Date
1JGInitial DraftDecember 2021
2GGInitial amendments to cover requirements of accredited practitioner registerNovember 2022
3GGUpdate to provide specific detail to support sanctions applicable to registrants 17/02/2023