Complaints Policy

1.  Scope      

This policy provides a guidance document on the procedures for handling complaints from customers of Voluntary Action Coventry. 

VAC is committed to providing excellent customer service to everyone who is affected by its operation.  We do not look at complaints as unwanted and we are firmly committed to a process of continuous improvement of which the complaints procedure is just one element.

2.   Definition of Customer

2.1     For the purposes of this procedure, customers are defined as anyone who has any dealing with the organisation; excluding staff who are asked to raise issues either with their line manager or under the internal grievance procedure. Trustees are also excluded from this procedure; any specific issues should be raised with the Chair.

3.   Application

3.1     A full copy of this policy will be held in the Volunteer Drop In Centre for visitors to view on request, participants attending forums, training or events facilitated by Voluntary Action Coventry will be notified of the existence of the policy. 

3.2     A copy of this policy will be provided to all new members and will be included in the Membership approval email.  All staff will be issued with a copy of the Complaints policy as part of their induction.

3.3     Where possible all requests for the policy in accessible formats will be met and a variety of methods will be used to ensure feedback is captured in the most appropriate way. 

3.4     The Office & Personnel Manager will be responsible for monitoring requests for the Complaints Policy and Complaint Record form, recording the contact details and date of request.

4.   Integrity

4.1      During the process of dealing with a complaint we will be as open and transparent as possible.  People raising complaints will be given full information about the progress of their complaint except in the cases mentioned below:

  • If the complaint involves questions about the actions or competencies of individual members of staff or trustees, other processes may subsume the complaints procedure and VAC may not be able to provide the person raising the complaint with all the relevant information.  (For instance, employment legislation may prevent publication of the results of disciplinary processes)
  • The legal requirements of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (Whistleblowers) may restrict the information that can be provided to persons raising complaints.

If either of these situations occurs the Chief Executive will provide an explanation without disclosing any restricted information. 

To ensure confidentiality, information about the progress of a complaint will only be provided to the person making the complaint.

5.   Complaints procedure

5.1      All complaints will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

5.2     Where possible complainants will be encouraged to discuss their concerns as soon as an issue arises.   If this is not appropriate then they should be encouraged to speak to a member of the Senior Management Team to see if an understanding can be reached through discussion.

5.3     All complaints received must be recorded onto the Complaint Record form by either staff and/or the third party and passed to the Office & Personnel Manager who will file the completed Complaint Record form into a folder and record on to the P drive for SMT notification and/or action.    

5.4     If it is not possible to resolve the issue in this way, complainants will be advised to put their complaint in writing to the Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Coventry,  if the issue concerns the Chief Executive then correspondence should be addressed to the chair.  All correspondence should be marked Private & Confidential, for the addressee only and sent to Voluntary Action Coventry, 29 Warwick Road. Coventry  CV1 2ES.

5.5     If the complaint concerns a member of staff they will be informed that a complaint has been made about them and the matter will be addressed.  

5.6     If the complaint concerns an omission, error or procedural issue the Senior Management Team will seek where possible to ensure subsequent errors, omissions or procedural issues do not occur.

5.7     The Chief Executive or another member of the Senior Management Team will respond to complaints within 10 working days, where possible indicating what action has been undertaken as a result of the complaint.

5.8     Complainants dissatisfied with this response should respond in writing to the Chief Executive within 10 working days.

5.9     Again, the matter will be subject to further consideration and the complainant will be informed of any action taken within 10 working days of the dissatisfaction letter.

5.10   The Chair of the Trustee Board of Voluntary Action Coventry will take up unresolved matters.  This may include convening an independent arbitration panel.

5.11   All correspondence will be kept on file for a minimum of 7 years. 

5.12   If legal or disciplinary proceedings need to be undertaken the terms and conditions of this policy may be revoked.

6.   Comments, Compliments and Suggestions

6.1     Voluntary Action Coventry recognises that staff throughout their working day may receive many positive comments and compliments; this might be a thank you for providing information, a comment on the ambiance in reception or a view on how staff have facilitated a meeting.  As a learning organisation it is important for Voluntary Action Coventry to monitor and record these comments and suggestions so that staff can be commended or services adapted and improved. 

6.2     All visitors to Voluntary Action Coventry offices will be encouraged to use the Comments, Compliments & Suggestions box located at Reception to record their views, compliments and to make suggestions. The Comments, Compliments & Suggestions forms are kept next to the box in reception.

6.3     The Client Services Coordinator will record and monitor all completed forms received.