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Complaints Policy

 

OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation has a complaints policy in place to ensure there is a consistent approach to complaints across the Foundation and that all complaints are treated seriously and resolved at the earliest possible stage. 

We view 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 OneSpirit 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 OneSpirit’s work.
 

Where Complaints Come From
Complaints may come from OneSpirit students, ministers or anyone who feels they have been directly affected by something OneSpirit has done or that someone has done acting on our behalf.

A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing. 

This policy does not cover complaints from staff, who should use OneSpirit’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.
 

Publicised Contact Details for Complaints:
Written complaints may be sent to OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation, The Gateway, 85-101 Sankey Street, Warrington, Cheshire  WA1 1SR or by e-mail to: admin@osif.org.uk

Verbal complaints may be made by phone to 0330 120 1996 (option 2) or in person to any of OneSpirit’s staff, volunteers or trustees at any of our events or activities.
 

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 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 OneSpirit (for example: student, minister)
  • Inform the complainant about our complaints procedure and where to find this information
  • 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 Operations Manager within one week, who will then record it in the complaints log.

If the complaint has not already been resolved, the Operations Manager will either investigate it and take appropriate action or designate an appropriate person to carry this out on their behalf. 

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they will be informed at this stage and given a fair opportunity to respond.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within 10 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 20 working days.  If this is not possible because for example, enquiries have not been fully completed, a progress report will 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 will 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 designated trustee for dealing with complaints.

The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within 10 working days of receiving it.  The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The trustee who receives Stage Two complaints 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. The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening. In some circumstances the trustees may decide it is appropriate to appoint an independent third party to carry out this stage of the investigation, and to report back to the trustees.

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 20 working days.  If this is not possible because for example, enquiries have not been fully completed, a progress report will 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 annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.
     

    Making a complaint – what you should expect from OneSpirit staff

    • The staff member should remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation
    • They should listen and allow you to talk about the complaint in your own words,
    • without arguing or debating with you, and show an interest in what is being said
    • They should obtain details about the complaint before any personal details and ask
    • for clarification wherever necessary
    • They should show that they have understood the complaint by reflecting back
    • what you have told them
    • They should acknowledge your feelings
    • Ask you what you would like done to resolve the issue
    • Be clear about what they can do, how long it will take and what it will involve
    • They won’t promise things they can’t deliver
    • Give clear and valid reasons if requests cannot be met
    • They will inform you of where to find our complaints policy and how to submit a formal complaint