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Complaints Procedure

Members of the Society of Garden Designers are obliged to comply with the Society's Code of Professional Conduct. In the event that the Society receives a complaint from a member of the public alleging that a member has breached the Code in their professional relationship with that member of the public, the following complaints handling procedure will be followed.

Level 1

The client and the designer should aim to resolve any issues amicably between themselves in accordance with Section 9 of the Society's Code of Professional Conduct (a copy of which is available on request).

Level 2

Where the complaint relates to an alleged breach of the Society's Code of Professional Conduct and cannot be resolved satisfactorily at Level 1, the client may refer the complaint to the Society of Garden Designers for further investigation. Complaints should be made in writing to the Society's office and addressed to The Secretary, Society of Garden Designers, 44-46 Wollaton Road, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 2NR. The complaint should give as much detail as possible about the alleged breaches of the Code including copies of correspondence, contract documentation, plans and other drawings.

It should be noted that the Society has no statutory powers. It is unable to settle fee disputes and cannot guarantee the quality of work of its members. If litigation related to a complaint is underway or proposed, the Society will await the outcome of such litigation before considering the complaint.

Each complaint shall be acknowledged, and the relevant designer notified, within ten working days of receipt. The designer facing a complaint will be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint and then the matter will be discussed at the next available meeting of the Society's Council. At that meeting depending on the severity of the complaint, the Council shall either make a decision on the complaint or, if deemed necessary, may decide to further investigate the matter by referring it to the Complaints Panel. The decision of the Society is final and shall be communicated in writing to the client and the designer within ten working days of the meeting.

Level 3

Where a complaint is referred to the Complaints Panel, the Council will appoint an independent panel of up to three persons from members of the Council and/or other suitable professionals. All complaints will be dealt with impartially, objectively and professionally. Details of complaints will only be given to those who need to consider the complaint and will not be revealed to any other person or made public.

The Complaints Panel will be invited to review all the paperwork regarding the complaint and may ask for further information from either party. It may also ask to visit the site and call for a meeting with the client and/or designer. It will then consider the matter and produce a report with recommendations to the Council's next scheduled meeting. The content of the report is private and confidential and will not be made available to the client or the designer. The Council will then make a decision on the findings as it sees fit. The decision shall be communicated in writing to the client and the designer within ten working days of the meeting. The Council has the right to impose any restrictions, suspension or expulsion on the designer as the Society feels appropriate and to make such sanctions public. Failure by the designer to comply with such requirements may result in expulsion from the Society. The Society's decision will be final.

Please note that Council meetings take place approximately every six weeks.


08/12/06

Registered Office: 44-46 Wollaton Road, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 2NR

t: 01159 683 188    e: info@sgd.org.uk  w: www.sgd.org.uk

Society of Garden Designers is a company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England and Wales No. 5283373