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Why before How

Appeals vs Complaints

Twice this week I've been in discussions about what is the difference between an appeal and complaint.

An appeal is a written request for reconsideration of a determination made by a credentialing body. For example, an applicant may appeal the denying of his eligibility status or a certificant may appeal the determination to revoke her credential.

In contrast, a complaint is a request, other than an appeal, made to a credentialing body, for corrective action relating to the activities of that body or regarding those it credentials.  For example, an individual may file a complaint that a certificant is acting in a manner that violates the profession's code of conduct.  These types of ethics-related complaints typically must follow a formal complaints policy and procedures.  However, also keep in mind that it's important to have a process to consider, resolve and track all complaints.  For example, a candidate may complain that he didn't get his eligibility letter in the published time-frame.    Do you have a system to track and resolve these types of complaints?  I've found many organizations don't!

So, even though the two are often lumped together, as in "you need to have policies and procedures for appeals and complaints" keep in mind that they are, in fact, separate processes.


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