Section 9

Complaints Policy

A Introduction

The Puddenecks Charity views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person [or organisation] that has made the complaint.

Our policy is:

  1. To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint.
  2. To make sure everyone involved with the Puddenecks knows what to do if a complaint is received.
  3. To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way.
  4. To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired.
  5. To gather information which helps us to improve what we do.

B Definition of a Complaint

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of the Puddenecks.

C Where Complaints Come From

Complaints may come from any individual, volunteer or organisation having a legitimate interest in the Puddenecks. A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing.

D Confidentiality

All complaints information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

E Responsibility

Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Executive Committee, who are the trustees of the Charity.

F Review

This policy is reviewed annually and updated as required.

G Complaints Procedure

Verbal complaints may be made by phone or in person to any of the Puddeneck trustees. Written complaints (including by email) should be sent to the Hon Secretary, Mr Roger Moore MBE, Oakdene, 65 Northlands, Potters Bar, EN6 5JD, email ri.moore@virgin.net telephone 01707 650 969.

H Receiving Complaints

Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded. The person who receives a phone or in person complaint should therefore:

  • Write down the facts of the complaint
  • Take the complainant’s name, address and telephone number
  • Note down the relationship of the complainant to the Puddenecks, e.g. donor, volunteer, guest.
  • Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
  • Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take
  • Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words. If this is not possible ensure the complainant agrees the summary note of the complaint.

I Resolving Complaints

      a). Stage One

In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate. Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, a written summary of the complaint should be passed to the Hon Secretary within five business days who will the inform the Executive committee.

On receiving the complaint, the Hon Secretary records it in the Complaints Logbook. If it has not already been resolved, they nominate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within five working days. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints policy should be attached. Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within a month. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

     b). Stage Two

If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Executive Committee level. The request should be acknowledged within five working days of receiving it and the acknowledgement should say who will be dealing with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The Executive Committee may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One. The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening.

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond. Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within a month. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given. Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint. The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Executive Committee decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance to aid resolution.

J External Stage

As the Puddenecks Club is a registered charity, the complainant can complain to the Charity Commission at any stage’

K Variation of the Complaints Procedure

The Executive Committee may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about a Chair or trustee should not also have the Chair and/or trustee involved as a person leading a Stage Two review.

L Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any further action that may be required.

Bryan Harrison

Last Reviewed January 2021