We aim to maintain high standards in all that we do but recognise that we can sometimes get things wrong, despite our best intentions.
Dignity Freedom Network UK (DFN UK) 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 work and activities that DFN UK 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.
Our policy is:
- To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
- To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
- To make sure everyone at DFN UK knows what to do if a complaint is received
- To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
- To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired
- To gather information which helps us to improve what we do
Generally, the purpose of this External Complaints Policy 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 DFN UK.
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 CEO and he/she reports on them to our trustees within 14 days.
The information below sets out our Complaints Procedure.
A ‘complaint’ in this Procedure means any expression of dissatisfaction in relation to DFN UK that requires a response from the charity. It can involve the behaviour or activity of any of our staff or volunteers. It can also involve the accuracy and integrity of our communication.
Where complaints may come from
Complaints may come from service users of DFN UK, those involved in our activities, donors, fundraisers, supporters, members of the local community or any other person or organisation who has a legitimate interest in DFN UK.
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 staff, volunteers or trustees. These complaints are dealt with in accordance with an internal complaints and grievance policy.
While complainants are generally entitled to receive responses to a complaint and to challenge any responses received from DFN UK, it will not deal with complaints or challenges where in the reasonable opinion of the CEO and the Chair of the Board of Trustees they amount to persistent, habitual or vexatious complaints or challenges.
DFN UK expects any complainant to be polite and courteous. It will not tolerate aggressive, abusive or unreasonable behaviour or demands.
2.HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT
If you have a complaint you can contact us by phone, 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 nature of your complaint
- If the complaint involves the activity or behaviour of a person please explain where and when it happened and if known the name of the person(s) involved
- If the complaint involves any of our communications please identify the particular incident or item that is of concern
- What outcome you are hoping for (but we are not obliged to resolve the complaint in that way)
- Your contact details (name, address, daytime telephone number and/or email address)
Who you should contact within DFN UK 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.
You can make a complaint by telephone or by speaking to us in person in any of the following ways, during office hours.
If your complaint is about any member of the DFN UK team including staff, volunteers or trustees, you can phone 01785 785068 and ask for the CEO to return your call. (If your complaint is about the CEO or one of our trustees please state that you would like to speak with the Chair of the Board of Trustees or email the Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org) They will either speak to you about the complaint or, if they are not the appropriate person to do so, they will arrange for the appropriate person to speak to you on the phone.
Alternatively, you can speak (or arrange to speak) in person to the appropriate person about your complaint. If you do not feel that you can approach any of the above verbally for any reason, you can instead write to us as follows.
Complaints in Writing
If you would prefer to write to us, please send your complaint to us as follows:
Either by letter addressed as follows:
PO Box 3560
or by email to: email@example.com
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 or volunteer
The Chair of Trustees
Any trustee or charity secretary
The Chair of Trustees
Chair of Trustees
The CEO and a Trustee
Timescales for all First Stage complaints made by phone, in person or 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 phone or in person, within 24 hours if you phone us or contact us in person
- By email, within 48 hours if you contact us by email
- By letter, within five working days if you contact us by 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 four 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
PO Box 3560
Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 5 working days and will investigate your complaint or instruct the CEO to respond with a definitive reply within a further 10 working days.
If you are still not satisfied with our response and wish to take your complaint further, please inform the Chair of Trustee 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 three trustees (not including any trustee about whom the complaint was made). 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 10 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 the work of DFN UK, 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 DFN UK and its services and activities.
3.TAKING YOUR COMPLAINT OUTSIDE DFN UK
The Fundraising Regulator
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 Regulator. This is the self-regulatory scheme that works to ensure that organisations raising money from the public do so honestly and properly. Their contact details are:
2nd Floor CAN Mezzanine Building
49-51 East Road
London N1 6AH
Tel: 0300 999 3407
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:
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9AJ
Tel: 0300 066 9197
- 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 https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime 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 Information Commissioner’s Office on 0303 123 1113. In the first instance you will be advised to raise your concern directly with the charity.
- If a complain relates to offensive or misleading advertising, a complaint could be directed to the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) where appropriate.
The above is a sample only. Other regulatory authorities maybe more appropriate depending on the nature of the complaint.
- The Management Board will take steps to bring this policy to the attention of all senior staff when they are recruited and then on an annual basis. Senior staff should in turn take appropriate steps to bring this policy to the attention of all other staff and volunteers.
- The Management Board will, as appropriate, monitor and enforce this policy, and revise it regularly. Such reviews will take place in the light of guidance on best practice and are to take place not less than once every three years.