Our complaints handling policy

Serving In Mission views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that has made the complaint.

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 Serving In Mission 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.

 
Definition of a Complaint

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of Serving In Mission.

 

Where Complaints Come From

Complaints may come from members, associates, supporters, sending churches, candidates and others including both individuals and organisations. A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing.

This policy does not cover complaints from staff, who should use Serving In Mission’s Discipline and Grievance policies.

 
Confidentiality

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

 

Responsibility

Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Board of Trustees.

 
Review

This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.

 

Complaints Procedure of Serving In Mission

Written complaints may be sent to Serving In Mission at Wetheringsett Manor, Wetheringsett, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 5QX or by e-mail to info@sim.co.uk.

Verbal complaints may be made by phone to 01449 766464 or in person to any of Serving In Mission’s staff, volunteers or trustees at Serving In Mission at Wetheringsett Manor, Wetheringsett, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 5QX or at any event or conference we attend.

Receiving Complaints

Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have. Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded.

The person who receives a phone call or in person complaint should:

  • Write down the facts of the complaint.

  • Take the complainant's name, address and telephone number.

  • Note down the relationship of the complainant to Serving In Mission (for example: support, member or sending church).

  • Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure.

  • Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take.

  • Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.

Resolving Complaints

Stage One

In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about.  If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate.

Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information should be passed to the Senior Administrator within one week.

On receiving the complaint, the Senior Administrator records it in the complaints log.  If it has not already been resolved, they delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and take appropriate action. 

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within a week.  The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply.  A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.

Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks.  If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
 
Stage Two

If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Board level. At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Chair.

The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within a week of receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The Chair may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so.  This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One.

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond.

The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening.

Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks.  If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution. 
 
External Stage

The complainant can complain to the Charity Commission at any stage.

Information about the kind of complaints the Commission can involve itself in can be found on their website at: www.charitycommission.gov.uk/publications/cc47.aspx]
 
Variation of the Complaints Procedure

The Board may vary the procedure for good reason.  This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Chair should not also have the Chair as the person leading a Stage Two review.
 
Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Complaints are reviewed every three months by the directors to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.