We hope you never need to make a complaint as we strive for excellence in everything we do. However, sometimes things can and do go wrong and you may wish to make a complaint. A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about any aspect of our operations, whether actions taken or lack of action.
We take complaints very seriously and treat them as an opportunity to listen, learn and improve. This is why we are grateful to hear from people who are willing to take the time to contact us to make a complaint. Our aim is to provide a timely response, to communicate clearly throughout the process and to find the most appropriate resolution to every complaint.
In the first instance we would always encourage anyone with a complaint to try to resolve the matter directly with the person they have been dealing with or via their team leader (if appropriate). If you are unable or uncomfortable to do this, or if the complaint is of a more serious nature, the Complaints Procedure set out below should be followed. Even if the complaint is resolved directly with the person, it should still be reported to the Complaints Coordinator within 7 days so that it can be reviewed and added to our Complaints Register. This can be done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Complaints Coordinator is Suzi Gordon (Operations Lead for Equippers Church).
This policy covers all contractors, consultants, volunteers, members and visitors of Equippers Church engaged with activities run by Equippers Church. Trustees and employees should follow the process outlined in the Grievance Policy which can be found in the Staff Handbook.
All complaint information will be handled sensitively i.e. telling only those who need to know. There may be situations where we need to escalate an issue. If a serious incident takes place, charity trustees are required to report what happened to the Commission and explain how it is being managed. An actual or alleged incident must be promptly reported to all the relevant authorities. All complaints will be kept in the Complaints Register for 7 years.
1. Making a complaint
Complaints should be made in writing to the Complaints Coordinator. This can be done either by:
If emailing a complaint, the following information should be included:
2. Acknowledgement and Initial Response
We aim to acknowledge a complaint within 15 working days. You will be sent a copy of this Complaints Policy & Procedure for reference and will be informed of who will lead the investigation (the Investigator).
We aim to respond fully and conclusively to all complaints within 1 month of our acknowledgement. If the nature of the complaint is such that we anticipate the investigation will take longer, we will inform you of this and keep you updated on the anticipated timescales. The Complaints Coordinator will oversee the investigation and ensure that all complaints are dealt with impartially and promptly. If the complaint is about the Complaints Coordinator, then the investigation will be led by another member of the Leadership Team and their name will be notified to you within our acknowledgement. The Complaints Coordinator (or their replacement) will:
Should the Investigator need any further information or clarification from you during the course of the investigation, you will be contacted via your preferred contact method during the course of the investigation. If the complaint relates to a specific person/people, they will be informed by the Investigator and their response to the complaint will be recorded as part of the investigation.
If you are not satisfied with the result of the investigation you can request via the Complaints Coordinator that the complaint is reviewed by the Board of Trustees. An appeal should be emailed to the Complaints Coordinator within one month of being notified of the results of the initial investigation. The appeal will be acknowledged within 15 working days, and the acknowledgement will outline the timeframe within which you can expect to receive a reply.
The Board of Trustees will investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate to a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case to date, speaking with the Complaints Coordinator and taking external advice as appropriate. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they will be informed and given a further opportunity to respond. We will endeavour to conclude the Board review and reply to you within a month of our acknowledgement. If this is not possible then an update will be sent to you with an indication of when a full reply can be expected. Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply should state
that the review has been concluded and, if appropriate, state the conclusions of the investigation, and any action taken to remedy the issue.
Please note that for confidentiality/sensitivity and/or legal and compliance reasons we may not always be able to tell you the results of our investigations or what action we have taken in response to a complaint.
The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.
We aim to resolve your complaint in an honest, open and satisfactory way.
However, if after going through all the stages of our Complaints Procedure above you do not feel completely satisfied by our response then you can contact:
The Charity Commission
PO Box 1227, Liverpool, L69 3UG
Tel: 08453 000218
Information about the kind of complaints the Charity Commission can involve itself in can be found on their website: https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-charity
Situations where we may not respond to a complaint
On very rare occasions we may choose not to respond to a complaint. These include:
When a complaint is made anonymously we obviously cannot respond to the complainant, but we will investigate the complaint and use the information to improve in any way that we can.
Equippers Church commits to:
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Trustees.