On receipt of information about a regulated person or firm, IPReg may undertake an investigation to determine whether it amounts to a breach of any of its regulatory arrangements.  IPReg may investigate to the extent it is considered necessary, and not all complaints will be investigated.  A complaint may not be investigated where the alleged breached is very minor or technical in nature, or where it would be more appropriate for another agency, such as the Legal Ombudsman or the Police, to investigate.  IPReg may ask for further information from the person raising the concern or from the regulated person themselves.

If it is decided that a complaint should not be investigated or referred further for disciplinary proceedings, the case will be closed and the person who raised the concern will be advised, in writing, of the reasons for that decision.  It is possible for IPReg to write to the regulated person or firm and provide advice as to how future complaints of a similar nature may be avoided. 

If it is considered that the concern should be investigated and referred onward, the regulated person will be notified of the nature of the complaint and any evidence obtained, and they will have the opportunity to provide a defence in writing, for consideration by the Case Examiners (see “What happens next”).  In very serious cases, IPReg can refer the case to the Interim Orders Panel who will consider whether there needs to be a restriction on the regulated person’s ability to practise, pending the outcome of the disciplinary process. 

The complaint and decision process is described more fully in the Disciplinary and Enforcement Guidance.  You should see also Chapter 4 of the Core Regulatory Framework and the Investigation and Disciplinary Requirements Standard Operating Procedure.