The Complaints Procedure explains the procedure that should be followed when a complaint is made by an external party. Employees should refer to the grievance procedure in the Employees Handbook.
If the problem is relatively minor, as a first step, the person or organisation making the complaint may contact the member of staff or department concerned to see if the problem can be resolved informally. Staff should do whatever they can to put things right.
This may mean explaining why a situation is as it is/ why a decision has been taken, acknowledging that a person is not happy but that this is beyond the remit of the responsibility of the Company and/or that nothing further can be done.
If the complainant is not happy with the response, or does not know who to contact, or if the matter is a more serious issue, they may wish to make a more formal complaint. In this case they should contact the member of staff concerned or the Executive Director using their preferred form of communication.
What South East Dance should do on receipt of a formal complaint?
1. Record the complaint
The complaint will be recorded on the COMPLAINT REGISTRATION FORM.doc and held along with any supporting material as a permanent record of the complaint for three years from the date on which the complaint was received.
The form records:
• What happened
• When it happened
• Who was involved
• What resulted from this situation
• How the complainant feels this matter should be resolved
• What action they expect South East Dance to take
• In what format the complainant would like their response
2. Acknowledge the complaint
The complainant should be contacted within three working days to acknowledge the complaint, and if necessary to get full details of the complaint as above. The complainant should be informed that they will hear from South East Dance within ten working days unless the Executive Director is on leave. In this case the complainant should be informed when they will receive a response. If circumstances are urgent complaints may be referred to another senior manager or a Trustee.
3. Respond to the complaint
The complainant should be sent a response, in the preferred format as listed on their Complaint Registration Form (i.e.: letter, telephone call) within 10 days, (unless the Executive Director is on annual leave, and then the complaint will be dealt with within 10 days of their return). When a full response cannot be given, for example if the matter is very complex, the complainant should be given regular progress updates until the matter has been resolved.
Dealing with the complaint
South East Dance aims to deal fairly and objectively with the complaint in order to restore the relationship between South East Dance and the complainant. The complainant will be treated respectfully and equitably throughout the procedure.
The member of staff/ Executive Director should talk through the complaint with the person concerned or most involved with the area concerned. A solution and response to the complaint should be worked through together. The action the complainant would like to see taken should be taken into account when trying to reach a solution. A copy of the response should be filed with the initial record of the complaint.
Stage 2 of the process will be implemented under the following circumstances:
• Where a solution cannot be reached
• Where the complainant is not satisfied with the response given in Stage 1
• Where the complaint is of a serious nature that impacts on South East Dance as a whole or jeopardises activity
In this case the Executive Director will make a decision about whether the complainant has been given a fair response, and in some cases may wish to invite the complainant to a meeting to discuss the matter.
Stage 3 of the process will be implemented under the following circumstances:
• Where a solution cannot be reached
• Where the complainant is not satisfied with the response given in Stage 2
In this case the Board will check that the procedure so far has been carried out fully and properly. They will check that the fundamental point of the complaint has been addressed and look at any outstanding issues raised by the complainant.
Advice/Further Information regarding Specific Complaints Complaints of a discriminatory nature: The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and wider society. It replaces previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone. If you are dealing with a complaint of a discriminatory nature, refer to gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010/guidance for the legal context for the complaint.
If you need advice about tackling discrimination or promoting diversity you can find help from one or more of the following sources: Equal Opportunities Commission
Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
Complaints relating to health & safety: If the complaints relates to an injury or accident sustained whilst working for South East Dance then specialist advice should be sought, and the manager handling the complaint should liaise with the business manager and business and development director. The chief executive and trustees should be immediately informed of any complaints of this nature.
Complaints concerning Children or Vulnerable Adults: These complaints should be dealt in accordance with South East Dance’s Safeguarding policy.
Original Author Charlotte Semlyen
Version V2 RG
Date updated February 2019
Approved by Approved Board 31/7/19