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Complaints Policy

Introduction

Naturewatch Foundation 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 Naturewatch Foundation 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 Naturewatch Foundation.

Where Complaints Come From

Complaints may come from an individual, volunteer or organisation who has a legitimate interest in Naturewatch Foundation.A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing. This policy does not cover complaints from staff, who should refer to Naturewatch Foundation’s internal policy on such matters.

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 of Naturewatch Foundation.

Review

This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.

Complaints Procedure of Naturewatch Foundation

Publicised Contact Details for Complaints:

Written complaints may be sent to Naturewatch Foundation, 49 Rodney Road, Cheltenham GL50 1HX or by e-mail at info@naturewatch.org. Verbal complaints may be made by phone to +44 (0) 1242 252871 or in person to any of Naturewatch Foundation’s staff or trustees at the address above.

Receiving Complaints

Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have, such as social media.  

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

Write down the facts of the complaint
Take the complainant’s name, address, telephone number and email address (if available)
Note down the relationship of the complainant to Naturewatch Foundation, e.g. supporter, volunteer, service providers
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

On receiving the complaint it should be recorded in the ‘Complaints Log’ and the CEO should be made aware at the earliest opportunity.

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

If the complaint has not already been resolved, the CEO should 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 it within five working days. 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 a month. 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 Board of Trustees. The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within five working days of receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The Board of Trustees will investigate the facts of the case themselves. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One. The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening.

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond. Ideally, complainants should receive a definitive reply within a month. 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

As Naturewatch Foundation is a charity registered in England and Wales, the complainant can complain to the Charities Commission and/or the Fundraising Regulator.

Variation of the Complaints Procedure

The Board may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest.

Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.

Last updated: September 2019