Open Adult Counselling Service

Providing professional therapeutic Counselling for the community


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Many of us, as we
venture through life,
come across
difficulties, problems
and/or situations that
could challenge us
and might halt or
delay us on
life's journey.

Volunteers at OACS
are here to help.


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Complaints procedure

Complaints Procedure for Clients being seen at OACS

All clients should be informed at the initial assessment that the service has organisational membership of BACP and is subject to their Ethical Framework.

Any client who has a complaint regarding the administration of the service or the counselling which they have received should in the first instance raise it with their Service Co-ordinator. OACS will initially try and resolve all complaints informally. The service coordinator can contact the Clinical Director where appropriate for advice and support if required. If the Client is not happy with the initial resolution of the complaint then they must put their complaint in writing to the OACS Secretary.

Complaints Procedure for all Volunteers working for OACS

If a volunteer has any concern about the administration or procedures within the service or in respect of a client, they should bring it to the attention of their co-ordinator, supervisor, or a member of the Management Committee; whichever is most appropriate for the role and they carry out in the organisation and the matter they wish to make a complaint about. If a resolution is not found that is satisfactory to the Volunteer then they must put their complaint in writing to the OACS Secretary.

Procedures for written complaints

If a written complaint is received this will be looked at by a minimum of three members of the Management Committee of which at least one must be a qualified counsellor. No comment regarding the substance of the complaint should be made to the person who raised the complaint or to anyone outside the Sub Committee pending the meeting. This sub group of the Management Committee will meet within 4 weeks of the receipt of the complaint to consider the contents and any action required. If the sub group of the Management Committee feel further information is required, they will appoint an investigative officer to conduct a full investigation, interviewing all parties concerned. The details of the investigation will then be presented to the sub group for decision and action. The complainant will be kept informed via either email or letter depending on their preferred method of communication of the progress of the complaint.

Possible outcomes of complaints that involve volunteers of the service

Counselling volunteers at OACS sign up to working with the BACP Ethical Framework as part of their commitment of supporting the organisation; this is detailed in their Counselling Agreement. Any complaint that is seen as to be a breach of this Ethical Framework will result in the counsellor no-longer to be able to support the OACS service. It is hoped that such breaches shall be avoided by regular supervision and guidance.

Non-counselling volunteers are bound by a code of confidentiality and a suitable standard of customer service necessary to support the service, a breach of which would result in the volunteer being request to step down from their duties.

Complaint Appeals

If the complainant or the volunteer is not happy with the outcome of their written complaint after it has been dealt with by a Sub Group of the Management Committee; they must write to OACS stating the reasons they do not find the resolution acceptable. This will then be looked at together with the investigation report by another Sub Group of the Management Committee, who were not involved in the original meeting. This Sub group will either decide to uphold the decision, seek further information or to overrule it. The Complainant will be kept informed of all actions and decision and are able to request to attend the appeal meeting to present their appeal.

If the matter cannot be resolved, the complainant will be advised of their right to seek advice from BACP.

Additional Reference

Please note that OACS is an organisational member of the BACP, so reference must be made to their complaints procedure as required.

Please note that OACS is run entirely by volunteers who give their time free to support this service. To ensure all complaints are dealt with thoroughly and according to the relevant guidelines there may be a delay in some of the listed timings depending on the availability of the relevant personnel.