Before making a complaint
If you are not satisfied with a service you have received from us or want to make a comment or leave feedback, use the form below.
We aim to resolve complaints as near to the point of service delivery as possible, which means that in most cases, issues will be resolved by the person responsible for whatever is causing the concern. All reasonable efforts will be made to respond quickly and resolve issues as they happen or as soon as we are made aware of them.
Who can make a complaint?
Our formal complaints process can only be used by anyone who has directly received a service from us. It may not be accessed by third parties where there has been no legitimate connection for the provision of services.
Examples of those eligible to make a complaint would be individuals or organisations who have:
- Called our helplines
- Attended our training
- Commissioned specific consultancy work from us
- Commissioned a piece of research
Anyone who has not commissioned or directly requested a service that has been provided is not eligible to make a complaint, but may make a comment about our services. Comments will always be acknowledged and considered, but will not be a part of the formal complaints process.
Formal Complaints Process
In cases where informal resolution isn’t possible or appropriate, we will follow a three-stage formal complaint process (detailed below). For monitoring and learning purposes, the number and outcome of complaints are reported to the Board of Trustees to help identify any trends which may show a need to take further action.
The complaint should be made to the line manager of the person who is subject to the complaint (or if the complaint is regarding general service provision then to the Head of Department for the service provided).
The person making the complaint (the complainant) should make contact with our Head Office using the web form below or in writing. The complaint will be acknowledged and responded to within 10 working days and a copy of our Representation & Complaints Policy and Procedure will be supplied.
If the complaint is about a Head of Department then it should be addressed to the Chief Executive. If it is about our Chief Executive, or a trustee, then the complaint should be addressed to the Chair of Trustees who will appoint someone to undertake an investigation.
Within these 10 days the person responsible for responding to the complaint will investigate the concern as follows:
- make all necessary and appropriate enquiries to establish the substance of the complaint and any attempts already made to resolve the matter informally, ensuring that all attempts at informal resolution have already been made
- form a view and decide who the best person to respond to the complaint would be
- where necessary, initiate discussions or meetings with the complainant to fully understand their issue, seek clarity and be clear on what would constitute a resolution for them
- arrange any necessary mediation between the parties and any necessary, subsequent action(s)
If a resolution cannot be found at this stage, the complainant must inform the investigator within 10 working days if they want to go to stage two.
The details of the complaint and actions taken at stage one will be passed to the Chief Executive who will:
- acknowledge receipt of the stage two complaint and that they are reviewing details within five working days
- make it clear when a response can be expected. The aim will be for complainants to receive a definitive reply within 20 working days. If this is not possible for any reason, a further communication will be sent to say when a full reply will be given.
- review all documentation and the actions taken so far and discuss with the complainant the situation from their perspective and why resolution could not be reached. All conversations will be confirmed in writing and shared with the complainant
- discuss the same with the line manager or Head of Department and consider what, within the framework of our policy and if necessary, the law, could be a way forward to resolve the issue at hand
- where necessary, take advice from the Board of Trustees in order to formulate a response for the complainant and any necessary action
The reply within 20 working days where possible to the complainant will inform them of the action(s) taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
If a resolution cannot be found at this stage, then the complainant must notify the Chief Executive within 10 working days if they want to go to the appeal stage.
If the complainant remains unsatisfied after the stage two process has been completed (or stage one in the case of complaints against a Chief Executive or trustee), they have the right to request an appeal to the Board of Trustees, who will convene an appeals panel (who will not have been involved in any previous stage) to hear the complaint at stage three.
Once the request has been received to progress to stage three, we will acknowledge the request for appeal within 10 working days. The process undertaken at stages one and two will be reviewed and the Appeal Chair may choose to talk to the parties concerned to gain clarification on the issues.
A final decision and any action deemed necessary will be communicated to the complainant within 30 working days. If for any reason this timescale cannot be met, the complainant will be advised of the need for a revised timescale needed as soon as practicably possible.
Use the web form below to make a comment or complaint or write to us: Complaints team, Thirtyone:eight, PO Box 133, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7UQ or to speak to someone call 0303 003 1111.
For more information on how we store and process your personal information see our Privacy notice.