Complaints Policy and Procedure

Complaints Policy

  1. Complaints Policy Statement

Thirlmere Deacon:

  • is committed to providing a good standard of quality services to clients, other agencies and organisations
  • will take seriously any concern or complaint and will look into it promptly, for resolution as quickly as possible
  • recognises that all clients, agencies and organisations
    -have the right to raise concerns or complaints about our services
    -have access to clear information on how to voice complaints and concerns
  • concerns and complaints procedure is open to everyone who receives or requests a service from Thirlmere Deacon and people acting on their behalf
  • will deal with complaints in line with Thirlmere Deacon’s Confidentiality policy
  • will keep a register of all complaints, which will be reviewed regularly by the Directors.
  • complaints procedure will be part of the process of monitoring the quality, effectiveness and non-discriminatory nature of its services
  • All staff, volunteers and Directors members are required to read, understand and comply with this policy and its procedures
  1. Introduction

2.1 Thirlmere Deacon strives for high standards in service delivery and welcomes feedback from individuals, users of our services, stakeholders, funding bodies and anyone who works with us, on all aspects of our services. Such feedback is invaluable in helping us evaluate and improve our work.

2.2 The objectives of Thirlmere Deacon’s complaints policy and procedures are to:

  • Ensure everyone knows how to make a complaint and how a complaint will be handled
  • Ensure that complaints are dealt with consistently, fairly and sensitively within clear time frames
  • Provide individuals with a fair and effective way to complain about our work
  • Ensure that complaints are monitored to improve our services

2.3 Thirlmere Deacon’s will ensure that we:

  • Listen carefully to complaints and treat complaints as confidential, where possible
  • Record, store and manage all complaints accurately and in accordance with the Data protection Act
  • Investigate the complaint fully, objectively and within a reasonable time frame
  • Notify the complainant of the results of the investigation and any right of appeal
  • Inform the complainant of any action that will be implemented in order to ensure that there is no re-occurrence
  1. Definition of a complaint

3.1 A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction by an individual, whether justified or not.

3.2 An individual may make a complaint if they feel Thirlmere Deacon has:

  • Failed to provide a service or an acceptable standard of service or made a mistake in the way the service was provided
  • Failed to act in a proper way
  • Provided an unfair service

3.3 This policy and procedure relates only to complaints received about Thirlmere Deacon and its services.

  1. Concern or Complaint

4.1 It is important to establish the difference between a concern and a complaint. Taking informal concerns seriously at the earliest stage will reduce the likelihood of their developing into formal complaints.

4.2 If you have any concerns about our work please inform a member of the Senior Management team as soon as possible, so they can quickly understand your concerns and try to put things right.

4.3 If you are not happy with the response to your concern and/or you want to make a formal complaint please follow the procedure below.

Complaints Procedure

  1. Complaints Procedure

5.1 Thirlmere Deacon aims to settle the majority of complaints quickly and satisfactorily by the member of staff who provides the service. The complaint may be resolved quickly by way of an apology or by an acceptable explanation to the individual.

5.2 There are three stages to the complaint’s procedure:

  • Stage One – the complaint
  • Stage Two – investigation
  • Stage Three – appeal
  1. Stage One – Complaint

6.1 The complaint can be submitted in writing via email to with subject heading: Complaint

6.3 The complaint should include the complainants name and address, the nature and date of the complaint and how they want to see it resolved.

  1. Stage Two – Investigation

7.1 All complaints at this stage should be dealt with by a manager or senior member of Thirlmere Deacon.

7.2 Complaints will be fully investigated, and a written response provided to the complainant within ten working days by the investigator.

7.3 The complainant will receive written confirmation of the outcome of any investigation any recommendations/remedies made, such as reviewing of policies, staff development and training or appropriate improvement to our services.

7.4 Where the complaint is upheld an apology should be offered.

7.5 Occasionally investigations may take longer, particularly if the complaint is complex.

7.6 If an individual remains dissatisfied with the outcome from Stage Two they can appeal within fourteen working days of the date of the outcome and progress to Stage Three.

  1. Stage Three – Appeal

8.1 If the complaint cannot be resolved to the complainants satisfaction at stage two, or if the manager feels that the complaint is of a very serious nature, or concerns a service leader then it will be referred to the CEO.

8.2  If the complaint is about the CEO then the matter will be discussed with two other Directors.

8.3 The CEO and/or Directors will acknowledge receipt within three working days, they will review the Stage Two investigation and recommend one of the following actions within ten working days (from the date the complainant stated they wanted to take the complaint to stage 3):

  • Uphold the action taken at Stage Two
  • Make changes to the Stage Two recommendation/actions

8.4 The complainant should be informed in writing of the outcome of stage three, the decision reached about this complaint will then be final but other options available to the complainant (as listed below) should be detailed in the letter.

8.5 If after Thirlmere Deacon has been through the three stages and the complainant is still not satisfied with the result, they should be advised that there is no further right of appeal with Thirlmere Deacon but they could approach any of the following agencies for advice:

  • A solicitor
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Property Ombudsman

This should be done within one month of receiving the outcome from the appeal.

  1. Anonymous complaints

9.1 Complaints received anonymously will be recorded and considered, but action may be limited if further information is required to ensure a full and fair investigation.

  1. Data protection

10.1 To process a complaint Thirlmere Deacon will hold personal data about the complainant, which the individual provides, and which other people give in response to the complaint. We will hold this data securely and only use it to address the complaint. The identity of the person making the complaint will only be known to those who need to consider the complaint and will not be revealed to other people or made public. However, it may not be possible to preserve confidentiality in some circumstances, for example, where relevant legislation applied or allegations are made which involve the conduct of third parties.

10.2 Thirlmere Deacon will normally destroy complaints files in a secure manner six years after the complaint has been closed.

  1. Monitoring

11.1 Complaints are an important tool which, alongside data provided by exit surveys, and stakeholder feedback, will allow us to learn about the services we provide. They provide a useful source of information about how individuals see our services and how we are serving them. To ensure we can learn from complaints the following data will be collected:

  • Name and address
  • Name of person dealing with the complaint
  • Date of complaint and response
  • Nature of complaint
  • Action(s) taken/recommendations made in response to the complaint Lessons learnt