Policy and Procedure
Urban Saints value concerns and complaints as they assist us to improve every area of our work as we seek to serve young people, volunteers, Energize users and partnerships. If we are not getting something right, please let us know.
Urban Saints is committed to consistent, fair and confidential handling of concerns and complaints, and to resolving problems as quickly as possible. We aim to make it as easy as possible for people to make a complaint if they are dissatisfied with any aspect of our work. We will treat all complaints equally and seriously.
A concern is defined as an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important for which reassurances are sought. Urban Saints will resolve concerns through day-to-day communication as far as possible. Concerns should be raised with the person responsible for whatever is causing the concern. It may be the case that the provision or clarification of information will quickly resolve a concern.
A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction about any aspect of Urban Saints' work, encompassing fundraising, services (Groups, Camps, Energize), our paid team members, volunteers, or anyone else acting on our behalf. Where it is not possible to resolve concerns through day-to-day communication on a local level, this policy outlines the way in which a complaint will be handled.
This policy covers complaints about:
- The standard of service you may have received from Urban Saints.
- The behaviour of anyone who may have played a part in delivering that service.
- Any action, or lack of action by our paid team, volunteers or any other person acting on our behalf.
Our complaints policy does not cover:
- Matters that have already been investigated through the complaints procedure.
- Any concern that falls into the remit of the safeguarding policy or whistleblowing policy.
- Disputes between third parties that are outside of our remit.
- A complaint made on behalf of another adult, unless written consent is provided by that person.
- Disputes between paid team members or in relation to employment.
- Concerns about an investigation that should be raised under our appeals or review procedure.
When a complaint is made, Urban Saints will seek to:
- Listen to complaints and feedback, treat them seriously and learn from them.
- Deal with all complaints fairly, constructively and consistently.
- Effectively address complaints to support volunteers and paid team members.
- Share information between local activities and the Support Centre, making sure each complaint is effectively handled and data is collated as appropriate.
- Follow the policy and procedure for every complaint, wherever it comes from.
- Handle all information sensitively and in accordance with data protection legislation.
- Make every attempt to ensure that both the complainant and Urban Saints maintain confidentiality. However, the circumstances of a complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality (each complaint will be judged on its own facts). Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.
- Take action where appropriate.
2. Principles for investigation
When investigating a complaint, we will try to clarify:
- What has happened,
- Who was involved,
- What the complainant feels would put things right.
We intend to address complaints as quickly as possible. To achieve this, realistic and reasonable time expectations will be set for each action within each stage. Where further investigations are necessary, new time expectations will be set, and the complainant will be sent details of the new timings and explanation for the delay. Urban Saints expects that complaints will be made as soon as possible after an incident arises and no later than three months afterwards. We will consider exceptions to this time frame in circumstances where there were valid reasons for not making a complaint at that time and the complaint can still be investigated in a fair manner for all involved.
3. Stages of Complaint
Step 1) Procedure for dealing with an Informal Complaint
A complaint should be raised as soon as possible on a local level with the relevant Urban Saints paid team member or with the relevant volunteer Leader, either verbally or in writing. Within a Group or Camp setting, this will usually be the Main Leader of the activity, Group or Camp. If the complainant is unclear who to contact or how to contact them, or if the complaint is about a Main Leader, they should contact the Urban Saints People Team (T: 01582 589837 or E: email@example.com).
Urban Saints will usually acknowledge informal complaints in writing within 5 working days and investigate and provide a response within a further 10 working days.
If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved informally, it will be escalated to a formal complaint.
Step 2) Procedure for dealing with a Formal Complaint
When an informal resolution is not possible or a formal complaint is to be made from the onset, the following procedure applies. An e-mail or letter setting out a formal complaint in writing should be sent to the People Team at: E: firstname.lastname@example.org or A: People Lead, Urban Saints, Kestin House, 45 Crescent Road, Luton, LU2 0AH.
This written complaint should provide details such as the reason for the complaint, when and where it happened, the name(s) of anyone involved (if relevant/ known), the outcome hoped for and the complainants contact details (name, address, phone number, email).
Urban Saints will usually acknowledge formal complaints in writing within 5 working days. The People Lead or other designated member of the National Leadership Team (NLT) will then investigate and contact the complainant within 10 working days to clarify concerns and to seek a resolution. We may call a meeting either in person, or remotely by Zoom, with the complainant. The complainant may be accompanied to this meeting and should inform Urban Saints of the identity of their companion in advance. The companion is present to observe and support the complainant but should not play an active role in the meeting.
In certain circumstances, Urban Saints may need to refuse a request for a particular individual to attend any such meeting – for example, if there is a conflict of interest. If this is the case, the Urban Saints will notify the complainant as soon as they are aware, so that the complainant has the opportunity to arrange alternative accompaniment.
The written conclusion of this investigation will be sent to the complainant within ten working days. The People Lead or other designated member of the NLT will inform the Board of Trustees of any formal complaints raised.
Step 3) Procedure for escalating a Formal Complaint to Trustee Board
If the complainant wishes to appeal the outcome of their formal complaint and take matters to the next stage, they should inform the Chair of Trustees in writing within 14 days by sending a letter to Chair of Trustees, Urban Saints, Kestin House, 45 Crescent Road, Luton, LU2 0AH.
This letter should set out the details of the complaint including evidence as set out above. The complainant should also specify what they feel would resolve the complaint, and how they feel the previous stage of the procedure has not addressed their complaint sufficiently.
Urban Saints will usually acknowledge escalated formal complaints in writing within 5 working days. The complaint will then be heard by a review panel consisting of members of the Board of Trustees. These individuals will have access to the existing record of the complaint’s progress.
The complainant must have reasonable notice of the date of the review panel; however, the review panel reserves the right to convene at their convenience rather than that of the complainant. At the review panel meeting, the complainant and representatives from Urban Saints, as appropriate, will be present. Each will have an opportunity to set out written or oral submissions prior to the meeting.
The complainant must be allowed to attend the panel hearing and be accompanied by a suitable companion if they wish.
The panel must then put together its findings and recommendations from the case. The panel will also provide a copy of the findings and recommendations to the complainant and, where relevant, the subject of the complaint, and make a copy of the findings and recommendations available for inspection by members of the NLT at Urban Saints.
The Trustees will inform those involved of the decision in writing within ten working days of the hearing. The decision of the Trustees is final.
4. Taking complaints further
All complainants will be responded to as per the procedures and timeframes identified in this policy. If an outcome is not satisfactory to a complainant, contact can be made with any of the following places, relevant to the complaint:
- Charity Commission: www.charitycommission.gov.uk, 0845 300 0218
- Scottish Charity Regulator: www.oscr.org.uk, 01382 220446
- The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland:
- www.charitycommissionni.org.uk, 0283 832 0220
- Information Commissioner’s Office, for concerns about collection and use of personal data: www.ico.org.uk, 08456 306060 or 01625 545745
- Fundraising Regulator: www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk, 0300 999 3407
5. Persistent complaints
Where a complainant tries to re-open the issue with Urban Saints after the complaints procedure has been fully exhausted and the organisation has done everything it reasonably can in response to the complaint, the Chair of Trustees (or other appropriate person in the case of a complaint about the Chair) will inform the complainant that the matter is closed.
If the complainant subsequently contacts Urban Saints again about the same issue, Urban Saints can choose not to respond. The normal circumstance in which we will not respond is if:
- Urban Saints has taken every reasonable step to address the complainant’s needs, and
- The complainant has been given a clear statement of Urban Saints’ position and their options (if any), and
- The complainant is contacting Urban Saints repeatedly but making substantially the same points each time
Once Urban Saints has decided that it is appropriate to stop responding, the complainant will be informed in writing, either by letter or email.
Urban Saints will record the progress of all complaints, including information about actions taken at all stages, the stage at which the complaint was resolved, and the final outcome. The records will also include copies of letters and emails, and notes relating to meetings and phone calls.
This material will be treated as confidential and held centrally. It will be viewed only by those involved in investigating the complaint or who serve on the review panel, except where the secretary of state (or someone acting on their behalf) or the complainant requests access to records of a complaint through a freedom of information (FOI) request, or data subject request under the Data Protection Act, or where the material must be made available during any statutory powers of investigation.
Records of complaints may be kept for up to 70 years.
7. Policy Review
This policy will be reviewed every three years, or if a specific incident occurs requiring review or if pertinent legislation requires us to do so.