The following summarises what to do if you wish to make a complaint against a Registered Farrier's workmanship and/or conduct. A booklet entitled 'Making a Complaint' which gives full details of the Council's complaints procedure and the roles of the Investigating and Disciplinary Committees is available to download below.
Dissatisfaction between a farrier and a client can arise because of misunderstandings or breakdowns in communication. These can often be resolved by direct discussion with the farrier concerned. It is always best to try to resolve a problem in this way before making a formal complaint. If you are considering making such a complaint, it is good practice to write to the farrier setting out the problem and asking for an appointment to talk to him/her at a mutually convenient time in an effort to resolve the situation.
The Council will not normally consider any complaint where criminal action is intended or in progress until those proceedings have concluded.
You should be aware that the Council has no power to order compensation or costs for professional negligence - such claims must be pursued through the civil courts.
If you wish to make a formal complaint or discuss a possible complaint please telephone the office. You can discuss your concerns in confidence with a member of staff who can give you information about the complaint process and if necessary, send you the booklet ‘Making a Complaint’ and the relevant complaint form. The function of the Council staff is purely administrative; they can advise on procedural matters but advice or opinions on individual cases cannot be given.
To pursue a formal complaint you will need to complete a form setting out the details of your complaint including all the relevant facts. Your complaint form should be accompanied by any evidence to support your case. Evidence may be in the form of labelled, dated and relevant photographs, DVD recordings, x-rays, reports from attending farriers or veterinary surgeons and statements from eye witnesses.
Please be aware that the quality and weight of evidence is a crucial factor in the determination of your complaint. Judgments can only be made on facts - hearsay will be excluded. For example, it would not be sufficient to say in your statement 'my vet said my horse's feet were in a terrible state'; in this example you must submit a signed statement from your vet regarding the condition of the horse's feet as he/she saw them.
The responsibility for the collection of evidence lies with the complainant since only you are aware of the full circumstances of your case.
The receipt of a signed complaint form and any supporting evidence will be acknowledged by the Council in writing. Copies of all the complaint paperwork and supporting evidence will be sent to the relevant Registered Farrier with a formal request for his/her comments on the issues raised.
All documentation relating to the complaint and the Registered Farrier’s response will be passed to the Investigating Committee for its consideration. The Committee meets three times a year so there may be some delay between submitting a complaint and its consideration by the Committee. This meeting is held in private and neither the complainant nor the farrier attend. The Committee decides whether or not there is a case of serious professional misconduct to answer and if the evidence is sufficient to justify the case going forward to the Disciplinary Committee. You will be informed of the outcome in writing.
The procedures used by the Disciplinary Committee are similar to those of a Court of Law. Proceedings are open to the public and witnesses are called and may be cross-examined on oath. The complaint is presented by the Council's solicitor and/or barrister. The respondent farrier may be legally represented and is well advised to be so. The complainant may be called as a witness and this will usually be essential in contested cases.
In any case where the allegation is found to be proved and the Committee consider it to be serious misconduct in a professional respect, the Committee has the power to:
The Disciplinary Committee has no power to order a fine nor to order the payment of compensation or costs.