Complaints

Policy and Procedure

March 2020

Urban Saints value complaints as they assist us to improve every area of our work as we seek to serve volunteers, Energize users, young people, our staff and the general public.

This policy has been designed to assist volunteers and staff in dealing with complaints. Urban Saints is committed to consistent, fair and confidential complaint handling and to resolving complaints as quickly as possible. We aim to make it as easy as possible for service users, volunteers and the general public to make a complaint if they are dissatisfied with any aspect of our work and we will treat all complaints equally.

This policy does not cover complaints from staff who should refer to Urban Saints' internal policies for such matters.

Complaint definition

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.

A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about any aspect of Urban Saints' work encompassing fundraising, Energize services, our staff, volunteers or anyone else acting on our behalf. Urban Saints will resolve complaints through day-to-day communication on a local level as far as possible. Where this is not possible this policy outlines the way in which a complaint will be handled. A complaint can be received in person, by phone, by email or in writing.

Scope

This policy covers complaints about:

Our complaints policy does not cover the following:

Linked Policies

Available from operations@urbansaints.org

Procedure 

1. Standards

When a complaint is made, Urban Saints will seek to:

2. Principles for investigation 

When investigating a complaint, we will try to clarify: 

We also 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

3.1    Informal Procedure of Dealing with a Complaint 

Urban Saints will take informal concerns seriously and make every effort to resolve the matter quickly. It may be the case that the provision or clarification of information will resolve the issue.

The complainant should raise the complaint as soon as possible with the relevant member of staff or volunteer either in person, by telephone or email on a local level. If 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 the Leader, they should contact the Urban Saints Support Centre. Contact details are, telephone – 01582 589850 or email operations@urbansaints.org.

Urban Saints will normally acknowledge informal complaints within 5 working days and investigate and provide a response within a further 10 working days. 

The informal stage may involve a meeting between the complainant and the staff member or volunteer that the complaint has been raised with. It may be appropriate to invite the person to whom the complaint is directed against.

If the complaint is not resolved informally, it will be escalated to a formal complaint. 

3.2    Formal Procedure of Dealing with a Complaint

When an informal resolution is not possible or a formal complaint is to be made from the onset, the following procedure applies. A letter or e-mail setting out a formal complaint in writing should be sent to the support centre at: operations@urbansaints.org or Operations Director, Urban Saints, Kestin House, 45 Crescent Road, Luton, LU2 0AH.

This letter/e-mail should provide details such as relevant dates, times, and the names of witnesses of events, alongside copies of any relevant documents. The complainant should also state what they feel would resolve the complaint. 

The Operations Director or other designated member of the National Leadership Team (NLT) will 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 Skype/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 Operations Director or other designated member of the (NLT) will inform the Board of Trustees of any formal complaints raised.

3.3    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. 

The complaint will 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

Urban Saints is committed to the highest standards in fundraising. We follow the fundraising procedures of the Fundraising Regulator and apply this in line with the guidance of the Institute of Fundraising. 

We endeavour to resolve all complaints fairly with the best possible outcome. However, if your complaint is related to fundraising and you are unhappy with our response, you have the right to take your complaint to the Fundraising Regulator

You can do so via their online complaint form. You can write to: Fundraising Regulator, 2nd Floor, CAN Mezzanine Building, 49 – 51 East Road, London N1 6AH.

Or call: +44 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: 

Once Urban Saints has decided that it is appropriate to stop responding, the complainant will be informed in writing, either by letter or email. 

6. Record-keeping 

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 in October 2021, or if a specific incident occurs requiring review or if pertinent legislation requires us to do so.