This policy is designed to provide a positive response to complaints and comments, and ensure that Calvert Trust Exmoor is open about the improvements that we have made as a result of feedback.
The Centre Director will monitor the implementation of this policy, collect information about required improvements, and will report all complaints and outcomes to the Board of Trustees during the EMG meetings every other month. All staff and volunteers have access to training so they are able to effect changes as necessary.
Many complaints arise from misunderstandings. It is very important to ensure that every effort is made to ensure that guests understand the reasons for decisions made about service delivery. The need for complaints can often be avoided if there is good, ongoing communication between staff, volunteers, guests, users and carers.
Calvert Trust Exmoor is committed to providing a quality service and achieving the highest standards. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our guests, members of the public or others who may want to comment. Therefore we aim to ensure that:
1. Making a complaint is as easy and transparent as possible.
2. That we deal with complaints appropriately and within the agreed time frame.
3. We treat a complaint as any clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service, or organisation as a whole, which calls for a response.
4. We respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation or an apology where we have got things wrong and if relevant and appropriate information on any action taken.
5. Handle complaints reasonably and proportionately.
6. When a complaint identifies that something has gone wrong or has fallen below standards it is seen as an opportunity to learn from the incident to improve and avoid a recurrence and it can allow for systems, policies, practices or procedures to be amended or put in place as appropriate.
The procedure covers complaints about the services that the organisation provides to the public, and complaints about the staff and volunteers involved in delivering those services. Complaints regarding discrimination and victimisation will also be investigated under this complaints procedure.
Assistance, where possible, will be offered to all parties in a complaint procedure to ensure equality of representation. Further guidance is available from the Charity Commission.
All complaints will be kept confidential to the parties concerned unless a concern is raised in relation to a safeguarding matter or in relation to serious criminality in which case we reserve the right to escalate the matter to relevant authorities. However, the complaint will normally be made known to the Centre Director who will discuss the matter with the Calvert Trust Exmoor Board of Trustees where necessary.
Exceptions to Above
We understand situations resulting in complaints can be difficult for all involved. We aim to ensure the process is reasonable, proportionate and transparent. This policy and the related process should be followed in all circumstances. Calvert Trust Exmoor reserve the right to refuse to accept a complaint (under this policy) if it is deemed vexatious, repetitive or motivated by racist, sexist, homophobic or other discriminatory attitudes, or where the complaint threatens or abuses Calvert Trust Exmoor staff/volunteers.
A complaint is deemed vexatious if it is believed to have been made to cause deliberate annoyance, frustration or worry. A complaint is deemed repetitious if the same complaint is made in numerous forms regarding the same incident.
All complaints are handled on their own merit, but once the complaints process is exhausted the same matter will not be reviewed again.
The decision as to whether a complaint is vexatious will be taken by the Centre Director in conjunction with the Board of Trustees where necessary.
If a complaint is deemed to be inappropriate / vexatious or repetitive the complainant will be advised in writing and will have the opportunity to present their views as to why this is not the case.
How do you make a complaint?
Wherever possible we will try to respond and resolve the situation at an informal level. The matter will go no further unless the complainant is still dissatisfied, at which point the formal process will then begin.
All formal complaints should be made to the Reception in all circumstances (no exceptions):
Via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or through the post to:
Calvert Trust Exmoor
Complaints regarding individuals, or where a formal follow-up is required, must:
Be in writing or via an advocacy service
Be from an identified complainant
Include the complainant’s name and contact details
We acknowledge that in certain instances a complainant may wish to remain
anonymous. In such incidences we will review the nature of the complaint and decide on follow up action if deemed necessary.
What happens next?
We aim where possible to address complaints promptly.
All complaints received will be given an ID number and logged onto the Calvert Trust Exmoor Complaints Register.
We will acknowledge all complaints in writing within 7 working days from when the complaint is received.
The Customer Service team will review the complaint to consider whether further investigations need to be carried out and will determine who is appropriate to lead on the complaint.
When investigating a complaint the Customer Services team will ensure that:
The complaint is fully understood – and acknowledged in writing.
There is a complete understanding of the situation in which the problem arose.
It may be necessary to interview staff or volunteers in order to fully understand the situation.
When interviewing complainants, staff or volunteers, they should be offered the opportunity to bring someone with them.
As a result of the investigation actions may include:
Specific improvements to service
Bringing together parties to mediate the dispute
Recommendations on staff training
Reflective practice for staff (i.e. outlining behaviour not meeting the required
standard and discussing how this standard can be reached in future)
Timescales will be as follows:
(days refers to the number of days since the alleged incident)
0 – 7 Days – Written acknowledge of receipt of complaint sent to Complainant.
Calvert Trust Exmoor aim to provide a written response outlining the details of the allegations within 7 working days of the allegations being made. This response letter will set out the allegations made and request written confirmation from the complainant that the allegations set out in the letter are correct and if not ask the complainant to reaffirm the nature and details of the allegation.
7 – 14 Days – Acknowledgement and confirmation from Complainant to returned to Calvert Trust Exmoor
Complainant reviews the details in the acknowledgement and verifies the correctness of the details contained within this letter and returns the acknowledgement to Calvert Trust Exmoor to be investigated.
14 – 21 Days – Written response to allegations
Calvert Trust Exmoor will aim to provide a full written response to the allegations received from the complainant within 7 days of the acknowledgement letter being returned to Calvert Trust Exmoor.
Over 21 Days
However, if a response within the timeframe set out above is not possible, because, for example, a detailed investigation is required, we will provide an interim reply explaining what is being done to deal with the complaint and providing a revised timetable.
Nature of the Response
In some cases, the complainant may have expressed a preference for a telephone discussion regarding the outcome. However, this will always be followed up by a written response so that both parties have a written record of the outcome.
Actions identified as a result of a complaint should be implemented within a reasonable timeframe.
Managers should produce an implementation plan for any improvements identified.
The following appeals procedure will apply in cases where the complainant is not satisfied with the response:
In cases where the complainant is dissatisfied with the response they have received, they are entitled to appeal the decision within seven days of receiving the response to:
Andrew Laming – Centre Director at the address above
or by email – email@example.com
In cases where the Centre Director is the subject of the complaint, the appeal will be referred to a member of the Calvert Trust Exmoor Board of Trustees.
Appeals will be responded to within 14 working days in writing.
In all incidences, complaints will be recorded in Calvert Trust Exmoor’s internal complaints register. These will then be included in the board reports and reviewed on a quarterly basis.
Complainants will not be informed of any disciplinary action taken as a result of an investigation into a complaint.
Time limits on making a complaint
Normally complaints should be made in accordance with our Terms and Conditions in that a complaint should be made at the time of the incident and before departure from the centre. If a complaint is made after departure, the complaint should be made in reasonable time thereafter and not more than three months of the event unless the delay is deemed reasonable due to the circumstances by the Centre Director.
Approved by Trustees February 2020