How to Complain about the GCC and not upset Peter Dixon or Margaret Coats

This is taken from the GCC website presumably written by The Chief Executive Margaret Coats. My comments  are in red.

All complaints should be made in writing either by post or email and sent to the appropriate person as explained below. The postal address for complaints is:

Margaret Coats
44 Wicklow Street

Complaining about staff
To complain about a member of GCC staff, please write to Margaret Coats or email

I once made the following “complaint” about certain office practices, and said they should be clarified for consistency ie how many times it is reasonable to ask a  complainant to make a statement. I don’t think we should be seen as putting pressure on people to complain, where only minor infringements of the COP and SOP have occurred. From the Working Practices it is not clear to me how much influence the office will have  on a complaint before it reaches the IC and that is also a concern.

Coats does not take kindly to criticism of her office. She responded to all council members. “In my view it is unacceptable that you have circulated what you regard as a concern about the way in which members of staff carry out their agreed duties”. She wanted me to follow due process and make a complaint to her and she could put it in her personal dustbin. I am not aware of any complaints upheld about a member of staff except that Maxine White was not good at her job. Mind you she did accuse Margaret Coats of being a bully in her resignation letter which the GCC buried.

To complain about Margaret Coats please write to her friend Peter Dixon or email

The first time I tried this as a council member was after the Election after she censored my election manifesto. No one wanted to deal with it.

Then finally I made my last complaint before Dixon decided I had to go.

On 31 Jan 2008, at 22:07, Richard Lanigan wrote to all council members.

Dear all

Technorati Tags: Margaret Coats,Peter Dixon,General Chiropractic Council,Chiropractic

Having received another letter yesterday telling me what’s off limits to Council members, I was thinking how ludicrous it would be if chiropractors were allowed to have friends investigate complaints made against them. Allegations were being made for years about Mr Greg Price and to my knowledge not one was upheld, he left the GCC without a blemish on his character. Nevertheless, complaints keep arising about him further eroding chiropractors’ confidence in the GCC and will continue until there is an independent investigation into the activities of Mr Price.

Dana Green’s letter and now Rod MacMillan’s raise a number of concerns in relation to Mr Price’s activities as an “executive officer” of the GCC. We are collectively responsible for Council’s actions.  A matter of such importance must be included as an agenda item for the closed meeting next week. I asked Peter when I received Dana’s letter and now I am asking Council members to request to be given the opportunity to ask questions about the risk posed to Council by Mr Price’s actions and if that risk has been managed to Council members’ satisfaction. Considering I was informed by Field Fisher Waterhouse last week that Mr Price has now made allegations that the GCC may have breached the Data Protection Act 1998, I think this is clearly a priority.

Rod McMillan’s letter referred to a complaint I made in 2002. It was about a “high volume” chiropractor and Mr Price decided not to present the complaint to the Investigating Committee (IC). Apparently, Mr Price had concerns that I had not got the patient’s permission to contact the GCC and the four UK chiropractic associations and did not pursue the case with his usual enthusiasm. I have been told that a police investigation took place last year and a GCC member of staff was questioned into allegations about Mr Price, among the allegations were that he solicited money from respondents to make complaints go away. Today I asked Margaret if any of this was true. She asked me why I wanted to know and I responded that I believed Council members should be informed. Without giving me any answer, she then told me she would pass my question on to Peter for him to answer.

Peter assures us “Mr McMillan’s complaint will be dealt with in accordance with GCC procedure”. What he does not say is that none of Mr McMillan’s allegations are new to him. In fact, Peter and Margaret completed their investigation into how Mr Price dealt with my complaint weeks ago and found that it was acceptable for Mr Price not to pass my complaint to the IC even though this seems to be a clear breach of the procedure as was explained to new Council members during our training. We were told that all complaints went to the IC and it was not for the office to raise questions about the validity of a complaint, that was the job of the IC. If the office had concerns that the patient’s permission had not been sought, why were those concerns not investigated, as opposed to being left in a file for years until I became a member of Council?

If it was all above board why did Mr Price state in two Freedom of Information responses that “the Investigating Committee was unable to take matters further” and that “Information regarding matters considered by the Investigating Committee are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000” when in fact the IC had never even seen the complaint?

Peter and Margaret have taken the view that as they can no longer ascertain “what was in Mr Price’s mind to make such statement”, there was nothing more to be done.  I find their “bygones” attitude to Mr Price’s actions very much at odds with their attitude to remarks made by me before I was elected onto Council. A  GCC person makes obscene comments about me using the pseudonym  “Cognitio” and the GCC have nothing to say, definitely no apology. This GCC person claims to be a registered chiropractor in breach of section 32 of the Chiropractic Act and the GCC invoke data protection to protect this person’s identity allowing this person (if it is Mr Price) to pursue a career at another regulatory body. However, if a criminal act has been committed then the Data Protection Act does not apply.

If the GCC is to start regaining the confidence of the profession they need to stop covering for Cognitio and Greg Price. The chiropractic profession is not against being regulated, they are against the way Greg Price performed that duty and the way others turned a blind eye. As Council members we are taking collective responsibility for these decisions, I believe it’s for all members of Council to decide with legal advice how to deal with the allegations that have been made against Mr Price, not a few of his friends.



Dear Richard,

The matters that you refer to in this e-mail are all being dealt with properly by me as the chairman.

I hope that you are not trying to undermine my authority as Chairman, and I take exception to your impugning both my integrity and that of the Chief executive in this way.

Yours sincerely


To complain about a member of Council, please write to Peter Dixon again or email

To complain about Peter Dixon write to his friend Judith Wothington at Peters e-mail address Judith felt criticism of Margaret Coats was unfair and normal for a registrar of a regulatory body and she could not understand why I wanted Greg Prices activities investigated.

Any complaint against a member of Council will be fully investigated by Peter Dixon. The Council member will immediately be notified of the details of the complaint and the investigation will enable:

  • All relevant facts to be established

  • The nature of the problem to be clarified

It may be appropriate to obtain statements from any individuals with relevant information. For example in the case of Maxine Whites complaint they interviewed everyone except the person making the allegations against Margaret Coats her secretary Maxine White.

Complaints about the GCC – a checklist
The information the GCC usually needs is in the complaints checklist below. The GCC understands that every complaint or concern is different. So, if this checklist does not help you set out your complaint, please explain your concerns in your own way.

Your details

  • Your name

  • Your address

  • Your email address

  • Telephone number where you can be contacted

  • Mobile telephone number

  • Fax number to which the GCC can send letters

Details of your complaint

  • If you are complaining about individual members of staff or Council members, please provide their names

  • Please explain what happened, where it happened and the dates when it happened

  • Did any people see or hear the things you are complaining about? Please give their names and explain how they were involved

  • Do you have any documents (for example, letters) that might support your complaint?
    Please send copies to Margaret Coats and list them in your letter

  • Have you already complained to anybody else about this matter?
    If yes, please say which organisation or person you have complained to. Give brief details of what happened and send copies to the Margaret Coats of any letters between you and the organisation or person so she can have a word.

What happens next? NOTHING
All complaints will be investigated and normally a response will be provided within 28 days. Should the Margaret Coats identify any mistakes she will acknowledge them and remedy them as appropriate. I dont think this has ever happened.

If you still disagree
Once a complaint has been considered and you have been sent a response, the decision is final. The Margaret Coats will get someone to acknowledge any further correspondence from you but, unless it raises any new issues that are considered significant, we will bin your comments.

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