COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE FOR CAT’S GUIDANCE
We aim to maintain high standards in all that we do, but recognise that we can sometimes get things wrong, despite our best intentions.
Cat’s Guidance views a complaint as an opportunity, as well as a chance, to put things right for the person making the complaint, and to improve the service that Cat’s Guidance offers. We would not be able to do so or learn for the future if we did not receive feedback when things go wrong. Therefore we value and take seriously any feedback we receive.
Generally, the purpose of this Complaints Procedure is to resolve disputes informally without resorting to formal investigation or legal proceedings. We will try to explore every reasonable option to resolve complaints by working with the person making the complaint to agree an outcome which is satisfactory to them and Cat’s Guidance.
Whether your complaint is justified or not, our reply to you will describe the action we have taken to investigate the complaint, conclusions we have reached as a result of the investigation, and any action we have taken or are taking as a result of your complaint.
We will ensure that all information received and produced in connection with a complaint is treated as confidential and handled sensitively, that only those who need to know have access to that information, and that relevant data protection requirements are all met.
All complaint information is passed promptly to our Chair of trustees and he/she reports on them to our trustees within 28 days.
The information below sets out our Complaints Procedure.
A ‘complaint’ in this Procedure means any expression of dissatisfaction in relation to Cat’s Guidance that requires a response from Cat’s Guidance.
Where complaints may come from:
Complaints may come from users of Cat’s Guidance’s services, those involved in Cat’s Guidance’s activities, service users, members, donors, fundraisers, supporters, members of the local community [or any other person or organisation who has a legitimate interest in Cat’s Guidance]
Complaints which cannot be dealt with under this Procedure:
This Procedure is only for the above type of external complaint, not for complaints or grievances from volunteers or trustees or others.
Whilst complainants are generally entitled to receive responses to a complaint and to challenge any responses received from Cat’s Guidance, it will not deal with complaints or challenges where in the reasonable opinion of the Chair of trustees they amount to persistent, habitual or vexatious complaints or challenges.
Cat’s Guidance expects any complainant to be polite and courteous. It will not tolerate aggressive, abusive or unreasonable behaviour, threats or demands.
How to make a complaint
If you have a complaint you can contact us via email, or letter.
To help us investigate and address all complaints, we ask you to provide us with as much information as possible. This should cover:
The [reason for] [nature of] your complaint
Where and when what you are complaining about happened
The name(s) of anyone involved (if known)
What outcome you are hoping for (but we are not obliged to resolve the complaint in that way)
Your contact details (name, address and email address)
Who you should contact within Cat’s Guidance will depend on how you to decide to make contact, and on who you wish to make a complaint about. We have indicated below who you can contact.
Complaints in writing
Please send your complaint to us as follows:
Either by letter addressed as follows:
The Chair of trustees
30 Arnside Road
or by email to him/her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once that person has initially received your complaint, we will normally deal with it as follows:
Who the complaint is about; Who will investigate, deal with, and respond
to you about it.
Any member of staff (apart from any trustee
the Charity Secretary) or any volunteer
Charity Secretary Chair of Trustees
The Chair of trustees The Vice Chair of trustees
Timescales for all First Stage complaints in writing.
We will try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible but if we cannot do this (for example, if we need to investigate further), we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within the following timescale:
By email, within [fourteen] working days or we may revise this timescale depending on the scale of the complaint. A new time scale should be submitted in writing via e mail.
By letter, within [fourteen] working days if you contact us by letter or a new time scale should be submitted in writing. A new time scale should be submitted in writing via letter.
Our acknowledgement will inform you of when we will next contact you either with a proposed resolution or update. It will also inform you of the name of the person dealing with your complaint. That person will then investigate and deal with it and then respond to you with their definitive reply.
You should receive that definitive reply within eight weeks. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report will be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
If, for any reason, you are not happy with the resolution of your complaint under the First Stage procedure outlined above, you can bring this to our attention as follows.
Please address a letter to:
Chair of Trustees
30 Arnside Road
Alternatively, please email at Chair and Vice Chair of Trustees: email@example.com
Please set out clearly the details of the complaint, explaining why you were not satisfied with our response under the First Stage and what you would like us to do to put things right.
The Chair of Trustees will send an acknowledgment within 14 working days and arrange for the Chair or Vice Chair of trustees to investigate your complaint and respond with a definitive reply within a further 28 working days.
If you are still not satisfied with our response and wish to take your complaint further, please inform the Chair of Trustees within 28 days of receiving the definitive reply we sent to you under the Second Stage. Please contact him/her by letter or email as required for the Second Stage (as above).
Your case will then be passed to a panel of at least two trustees (not including any trustee about whom the complaint was made or the trustee who investigated and responded to you under the Second Stage) The panel will further investigate your complaint and will contact you with their conclusions and any actions to be taken.
You can expect this to take a further 28 working days from the date on which we receive your letter or email request to implement the Third Stage.
In order for us to make improvements to Cat’s Guidance and its services, we may wish to contact you within a month of your complaint being dealt with in order to check that you were satisfied with our resolution. Any information you give will only be used to make improvements to Cat’s Guidance and its services.
Taking your complaint outside Cat’s Guidance
The Fundraising Standards Board
If your complaint is about our fundraising work or activities and you are not satisfied with our response, you are entitled to take it to the Fundraising Standards Board. This is the self-regulatory scheme that works to ensure that organisations raising money from the public do so honestly and properly. As a member of the Fundraising Standards Board, we are committed to abiding by any decision they reach on complaints that are escalated to them. Their contact details are:
Fundraising Standards Board, 65 Brushfield Street, London, E1 6AA
Tel: 0333 321 8803
If your complaint is about any other aspect of our charitable work other than our fundraising work or activities, you may wish to contact the Charity Commission. However, we suggest that, before you do so, you consider whether it is appropriate to contact the Commission in the first instance rather than ourselves. The Commission has guidance on its website as to when to direct complaints to a charity and not to the Commission. Their contact details are:
Charity Commission Direct, PO Box 1227, Liverpool, L69 3UG
Tel: 0845 300 0218
The Charity Commission guidance to the public states that:
if you believe there is criminal activity within a charity, you should inform the police
if you suspect fraud connected to a charity, you should report it using the Action Fraud Online Reporting Service at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or call 0300 123 2040
if you have information about possible terrorist activity connected to a charity, you should report it to the Anti-terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321]
If a complaint relates to your personal data, it may be appropriate to contact the Office of the Information Commissioner.
A complaint could be directed to another regulator where it properly falls under its jurisdiction or remit. For example, a complaint could be made to the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) where appropriate. If a charity is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) a complaint could be made to the CQC where the complaint relates to social care provided by the charity.
Date of Change:
Policy approved by the Trustees
Reviewed and circulated to Trustees for comments. No changes
Fixed formatting issue