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Team Domenica Compliments and Complaints Policy

Purpose and scope

1.0 Team Domenica strives to operate to the highest standards. We welcome feedback from individuals and organisations that we work with, including our candidates, parents and carers, partners and our local communities. Such feedback is invaluable in helping us to evaluate and improve our work.

1.1 Team Domenica has a single Compliments and Complaints Policy covering all of its activities and services, including Team Domenica’s Education and Adult Social Care provision.

1.2 This policy does not relate to situations where Team Domenica employees have a complaint or grievance. In these circumstances individuals should follow the internal grievance or whistleblowing procedures as outlined in the staff handbook.

1.3 Trustees who wish to make a complaint are expected to follow the procedure outlined in this policy.

Contact details: The Complaints Officer can be contacted via email: feedback@teamdomenica.com, by letter sent to 5-7 Preston Rd, Brighton BN1 4QE, or by completing this form.

 

1.4 The overall objectives of the Compliments and Complaints Policy are to:

  • Provide an accessible, simple framework for listening and responding to all feedback and complaints;
  • Ensure that everyone feels able to give both positive and negative feedback in a safe, non- judgemental environment in the knowledge that it will be heard and responded to;
  • Create a sense of community and belonging, protecting our candidates, parents/carers, staff and Trustee’s from serial, persistent, unsolicited criticism and complaint;
  • Ensure that complaints are dealt with consistently, fairly and within clear timeframes;
  • Ensure that feedback is monitored and used to improve our services and celebrate success.

1.5 Our principles are to:

  • Take all concerns and complaints seriously:
  • Encourage resolution of concerns by informal means where appropriate, in the spirit of partnership;
  • Keep individuals informed of progress;
  • Be impartial and non-adversarial;
  • Ensure that where appropriate, a full and fair investigation of the issue is undertaken;
  • Ensure that no-one is penalised for making a complaint in good faith;
  • Keep a written record, for at least three years, of all formal complaints, the action taken (regardless of whether the complaint was upheld) and at what stage they were resolved;
  • Respect confidentiality and data protection of individual complaints, except where Ofsted requests access to them;
  • Provide information regularly to the Senior Leadership Team, and on at least an annual basis, to the Team Domenica Trustee Board on the number and nature of complaints received, and the outcome of complaints, including whether they have led to a change in services, policies or procedures so that services can be improved.
  • We are committed to listening to and hearing the voices of our young people, individually and in groups. We take account of young people’s views in the provision of our services, and encourage participation, self-advocacy and independence.

 

What is feedback, what is a complaint, and how will complaints be resolved?

2.0 Feedback can be positive or negative and will usually not require a formal response. We expect to receive feedback daily in passing, during phone conversations, via email, through evaluations/, in writing and through our online contact us form. Relevant feedback will be considered in the development of our services.

2.1 Feedback and compliments will be shared with those to whom it relates and recognised organisationally or otherwise as appropriate.

Sometimes services and activities may not meet the expectations or satisfaction of those involved, and we would expect, from time to time, legitimate concerns to be raised. We encourage these to be raised with staff following the process outlined in this policy so that we can address these quickly and in partnership with you.

If appropriate, we will acknowledge that the complaint is upheld in whole or in part. In addition, we may offer one or more of the following:

  • An explanation.
  • An admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better. An assurance that we will try to make sure the situation will not happen again.
  • An explanation of the steps that have been or will be taken to make sure it will not happen again, and an indication of the timescales in which any changes will be made.
  • A commitment to review policies.
  • An apology.

 

How to make a complaint

3.0 Individuals wishing to raise concerns or make a complaint should contact the person who provided the service at the earliest opportunity. Alternatively, they can contact the complaints officer.

 

Timescales

4.0 Complaints should be raised within three months of the incident or, where a series of associated incidents have occurred, within three months of the last of these incidents. We will consider complaints made outside of this timeframe if exceptional circumstances apply.

4.1 If other bodies are investigating aspects of the complaint, for example the police, local authority safeguarding teams or Tribunals, this may impact on our ability to adhere to the timescales within this procedure or result in the procedure being suspended until those public bodies have completed their investigations. If this happens, we will inform you of a proposed new timescale.

4.2 If a complainant commences legal action in relation to their complaint, we will consider whether to suspend the complaints procedure until those legal proceedings have concluded.

4.3 Timescales for each stage of the process are set out below.

 

Who is involved in the process?

5.0 Complaint officer is responsible for ensuring that this policy is followed, and information is recorded properly. The complaints officer may nominate a substitute, for example a member of the (SLT) Senior Leadership Team, to investigate a complaint if there are appropriate reasons for doing so.

If a complaint concerns a member of the SLT the Trustees will manage this complaint.

5.1 If a complaint concerns a Trustee, the Chair of the Board of Trustees will manage the complaints process.

5.2 If a complaint concerns a Chair of the Board of Trustees, the Chair of the Board of Governors will manage the complaints process.

5.3 Compliments and 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. All anonymous complaints will be directed to the Complaints Officer.

5.4 If the complaint involves financial loss or the risk of compensation, the matter may be passed to Team Domenica insurers who may communicate directly with you.

5.5 If a complaint or allegation refers to a safeguarding, the Adult Safeguarding Policy will be followed. We take all allegations relating to safeguarding very seriously. This policy can be found on our website.

5.6 If a complaint is regarding fundraising, this will be handled in accordance with guidance from the Fundraising Regulator.

 

How your complaint will be handled

There are four stages to our complaints policy:

  • Stage One Raising a concern.
  • Stage Two Making a formal complaint.
  • Stage Three Appealing the outcome of a formal complaint.
  • Stage Four Requesting an independent review.

 

Stage One – Raising a concern.

6.0 Team Domenica aims to resolve concerns quickly and satisfactorily. It is hoped that most complaints can be made and considered on an informal basis. For example, by way of an apology or explanation or by simply providing the service or information requested.

6.1 Where it is appropriate to deal with a concern informally, it is important that the relevant member of staff concerned has the first opportunity to resolve the matter quickly and effectively.

6.2 Trustees and other senior staff will not become involved in the matter at this stage as it may compromise their role if the concern proceeds to a formal complaint.

6.3 All staff are expected to send a written record of concerns raised and action taken to the complaints officer; including the dates the complaint was received and hopefully resolved. It is their responsibility to inform the person who raised a concern of the action taken. Any concern regarding safeguarding must be immediately reported to the Designated Safeguarding Leads.

6.4 Where a concern cannot be resolved informally, or when it would be inappropriate to pursue an informal route, the Complaints Officer will instigate the formal complaints process.

 

Stage Two – Making a formal complaint.

7.0 This stage deals with matters that could not be resolved informally or where it would be inappropriate to seek to resolve an issue through informal means.

7.1 The Complaints Officer is responsible for this stage of the complaints process but may nominate a suitable substitute. This substitute will be someone senior within the organisation who is independent of the events complained about.

7.2 The formal complaints process starts when there is sufficient information to begin an investigation and would normally only commence after you have made a complaint in writing to the complaints officer. There are some circumstances where it would be inappropriate to wait for a complaint to be received in writing and decision to proceed to an investigation is a matter for the Complaints Officer. Under the Equality Act 2010, we will accept complaints via other means according to your communication preferences due to disability or learning difficulties.

7.3 On receipt of a formal complaint, the Complaints Officer will log the complaint on the Central Record of Complaints and issue a Unique Reference Number.

7.4 Where the formal complaint process is triggered by a verbal complaint the Complaints Officer will capture the nature of the complaint and ensure this is recorded on the Central Record of Complaints.

7.5 All formal complaints will be acknowledged by the Complaints Officer (or the nominated substitute, as described in section 5 above) within three working days, wherever possible.

7.6 The Complaints Officer (or the nominated substitute, as described in section 5 above) is responsible for investigating the formal complaint and will ensure that all information and evidence is recorded and logged within the Central Record of Complaints.

7.7 Following an investigation, the Complaints Officer (or the nominated substitute, as described in section 5 above) will provide a written response to you within 15 working days. The written response will confirm the outcome of the investigation and what action is being proposed as a result.

7.8 The Complaints Officer (or the nominated substitute, as described in section 5 above) will advise you that if you are not satisfied with the response to their complaint, and the action that is being proposed, you may appeal and progress to Stage Three – Appeal.

 

Stage Three – Appealing the outcome of a formal complaint.

8.0 If you wish to appeal the outcome of the investigation led by the Complaints Officer, you must write to the complaints officer within 15 working days of receiving the Complaints Officer’s written response with the reasons for your appeal.

8.1 SLT is responsible for Stage Three of the complaints process. They will review the Stage Two investigation led by the Complaints Officer and will confirm in writing, within 15 days, one of the following actions:

  • that no further action is taken by Team Domenica; or
  • specify changes to the Stage Two written response and actions.

 

Stage Four – Requesting a review.

9.0 If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the appeal you may request an independent review. Any request must be made in writing to the Chair of the Board of Trustees via the complaints officer within 15 working days of the SLT reporting on the outcome of an appeal.

9.1 It is the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Trustees whether to instigate a review. If it is decided that a complaint, or the process by which it has been investigated, warrants further examination, the Chair of the Board of Trustees can establish a Review Panel which will take place at the earliest possible opportunity.

9.2 The Review Panel may review all documentation, receive written submissions or, in exceptional circumstances and at its absolute discretion, take direct evidence.

9.3 The decision of the Review Panel will be communicated to you in writing within five working days of a decision being made. The decision is final and absolute.

9.4 The Review Panel will confirm in writing one of the following actions:

  • no further action is required and the matter is deemed to be closed;
  • overturn the appeal (Stage Three) and recommend specific actions;
  • recommend changes to internal systems and processes to reduce the possibility of similar complaints in the future.

 

Who else will listen?

10.0 If you are unsatisfied at the end of the complaints process you can contact the appropriate regulator.

 

  • For serious or significant concerns related to the education or adult social care provision you can contact the local authority at Brighton and Hove City Council. Hove Town Hall, Norton Rd. BN3 3BQ Telephone 01273 290000.

 

  • For serious or significant concerns from members of the public about charities you can contact the Charity Commission at www.gov.uk/complain-about-charity
      • Serious or significant concerns are defined by the Charity Commission as: not doing what it claims to do, losing lots of money, harming people, being involved in illegal activity or being used for personal profit or gain.

 

 

  • Contact the Advertising Standard Authority at www.asa.org.uk/make-a-complaint.html to complain about: the amount of mail you get from a charity or an advertising campaign you think is offensive, deceptive or inaccurate.

 

  • For concerns about our information rights practices (for example data protection or Freedom of Information), please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO): https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

 

The use of social media

11.0 Social media should not be used to make or progress a complaint. Complaints should be made through the channels outlined above to ensure that information is recorded safely and securely and to be sure that the complaint can be progressed in a timely way and in accordance with a set of clear procedures.

11.1 In the case of social media being used to express a negative opinion about an aspect of the work of Team Domenica the following four steps will be taken by the charity:

  • Gather evidence: When the charity becomes aware of a negative opinion being expressed through social media channels (Facebook, twitter, etc) about any aspect of its work and/or its staff, evidence will be gathered to establish what has been posted on social media and by whom. Staff will not respond to any postings deemed to be negative. The person (most likely to be a staff member) who identifies the post(s) will inform the Head of Marketing and Communications as soon as possible.
  • Reassure staff: The content of negative posts may upset staff members. The appropriate senior staff member should reassure staff and offer support through whole staff emails, meetings and individual discussions.
  • Report offending material and removal: The communications team will be approached to remove content it if it breaches the terms and conditions of the platform. If the content does not breach the terms and conditions of the platform, then the team will hide the post and/or review our settings including around posting to our page, posting about us, tagging.
  • Legal advice: In cases of malicious allegations, Team Domenica may seek legal advice. In some cases, this may result in a letter from a solicitor being sent to individuals warning that the allegations could result in legal action.

 

Complaints campaigns

12.0 Rarely, an organisation may receive large volumes of complaints all based on the same subject or from individuals unconnected to the charity or its education settings. Complaints of this nature may be handled by a separate procedure involving sending a template response to all complainants or publishing a single response on the organisation’s website. Complainants who are dissatisfied with the response can still follow the ‘who else will listen section of this policy.

 

Read our other Organisational Policies.