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Complaints Procedures Governing Trustee Directors, Standing Committee Volunteers and Staff

Approved by BABCP Board, 22 July 2021

Introduction

The Board and officers of BABCP wish to provide an excellent service both to BABCP members, other organisations that we work with, and to members of the public. Where this may not happen, we are committed to addressing this in an open and accountable way, so that concerns raised are resolved fairly, effectively and in a timely manner. We will also use the experience of complaints in a positive way, to inform the improvement of our services.

We will ensure that:

  • Raising a concern is straightforward
  • All complaints are dealt with in a responsive, professional manner, within appropriate timescales
  • The response given will be appropriate, whether that be an apology, an explanation, or information on action taken
  • Complaints are monitored, with regular reports to Board, on complaints and lessons learned, and the complaints policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Scope of this policy and procedure

This policy and procedure will apply to any concern raised about the service provided by a member of staff, or a Trustee or a standing committee member volunteer while acting on behalf of BABCP, which requires a formal response.

Submitting a complaint

All such concerns and complaints must be put in writing. Where a complainant has difficulty submitting a complaint in writing, perhaps due to a disability, please contact ceo.complaints@babcp.com or arrange to discuss how your complaint might best be transcribed by phoning BABCP’s main switchboard number, found at the foot of this document, and ask to speak to the Personal Assistant to the CEO.

This policy and procedure does not apply to:

  1. Concerns about BABCP policies. All such concerns should be put in writing to the CEO of BABCP, who will normally arrange confirmation of receipt within five working days and a fuller response within a further 28 days. Policy matters may require discussion at a Board Meeting.
  2. Complaints about individual members of BABCP concerning breaches of BABCP Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics. All such concerns are covered under BABCP Complaints Procedures Governing Members.

Procedure

In order for BABCP to look into the complaint, the complainant is asked to provide as much information as possible, including:

  • Contact details including name and contact details of postal address, email address and telephone number.
  • Full details of their concerns, including the dates, locations and witnesses who are willing to come forward. Please send us any relevant documents you feel are relevant as supporting evidence.
  • Written exchanges provide for the most efficient and effective audit trail where a matter is to be considered. Please contact us via ceo.complaints@babcp.com.

Personal data will be protected under the requirements of GDPR. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted. BABCP can anonymize complaints at the request of the complainant if there seems good reason to do so, such as fear of professional repercussions, though this might cause some delay due to amending literature or other evidence. Indeed, it may be difficult to progress complaints beyond any given point without the knowledge of the complainant being known. However, permission will be sought from the complainant or their legal guardian before their identity is disclosed.

We ask that complaints are received as soon as possible after the issue being raised took place. Complaints raised after 3 months following the issue of concern taking place will be passed to the President of the Association to determine whether discretion will be exercised and the complaint investigated. This might be, for instance, where evidence becomes only available for presentation after 3 months.

Where a complaint is raised towards a member of BABCP paid staff, including those individuals employed as a member of staff such as via an employment agency, this will be considered initially by CEO, via ceo.complaints@babcp.com and whether the Staff Disciplinary Policy and Procedure should be adopted. Here, confirmation of receipt is normally sent within five working days and a fuller response within a further 28 days. Where a complaint is received concerning someone employed via an employment agency it is likely BABCP will request permission from you to share the complaint with that agency and a fuller response may take longer than 28 days.

Initial Consideration

If a complaint is received of a relatively minor nature, reasonable attempt will be made to reach an outcome informally. The matter will be raised at the earliest reasonable opportunity with the officer concerned. Following an initial response to the complaint from the officer and where the matter still seems relatively minor, such as a minor conduct issue or a misunderstanding, attempt will be made to reach an informal outcome. This helps ensure that the matter is addressed but without the need to move to formal proceedings as laid down below. If the concern cannot be resolved in this manner, then the Formal Complaints Procedure should be followed.

Formal Complaints Procedure

Where it is has not been possible to resolve matters informally, the complaint will move to Stage 1.

Stage 1

The timescale on the complaints process will begin when receipt of the complaint is acknowledged and sent to the complainant.

Once the relevant information has been received and acknowledged, the complaint will be passed by the CEO to the President or their nominee in the first instance, Vice President or Honorary Secretary in the President’s absence (ensuring no conflicts of interest) who will then ask two other board members without prior knowledge of the issue to join an investigative panel. This panel will decide whether there is a case to answer in terms of the complaint being (a) directly connected to the duties of the person complained about in their capacity representing BABCP and (b) it involving inappropriate conduct in that context.

To ensure accountability, all correspondence issued on behalf of BABCP will be copied to the CEO. One member of that group will be assigned to communicate with and support the complainant, the other to the respondent, with the chair providing oversight. If the view is that there is a case to answer, a Board member will be identified by the President to carry out an investigation of the complaint.

If the complaint does not concern the person’s work undertaken for BABCP, the complainant may be referred to other sources of redress, such as professional bodies or employers.

Where a complaint may involve criminal activity, the complainant may be referred to the police or similar authority.

Where complainants are referred to third party organisations to further a complaint , the complainant may be requested to update us with any significant developments or outcomes. This is so this information can be taken into account should BABCP be required to take action. The person looking into it may need to contact the complainant for further information. We aim to complete the process within 28 days once the complaint has been acknowledged. If this is not possible all reasonable attempt will be made to keep all parties updated and new timescales applied.

If the conduct of an individual is the subject of the complaint, the individual will be informed of the details of the complaint, including the identity of the complainant unless otherwise agreed, and be asked to provide a written response to the investigator within 21 days or sooner if the complaint appears serious in nature.

Once the complaint is investigated a report will be provided to the President by the investigator. An outcome will be determined by the panel, and this will be made available to the complainant and the member in written form. Both will be advised of their right to a review of the complaint and the outcome consistent with Stage 2. Any appeal must be requested in writing within 28 days from the date of our response and outcome to the complaint.

Potential Outcomes:

Once the investigation of the complaint has been completed, a range of outcomes is possible:

  • The complaint is not upheld
  • The complaint is partially upheld
  • The complaint is upheld

The President or their nominee will write to the complainant and the member concerned to inform them of the outcome.

Where a complaint is partially or wholly upheld, a range of actions may follow.

The complainant or the member may ask for an appeal to the outcome of the complaint by writing to the President of BABCP via ceo.complaints@babcp.com within 28 days of BABCP outcome being communicated to the interested parties.

Stage Two (Appeals)

Where there is a written request to appeal the outcome of a complaint, acknowledgement of receipt is normally sent within five working days via the CEO. The President will appoint a panel of up to three Trustees without previous knowledge of the complaint, to review the complaint, the application of procedures in determining the outcome, and the proportionality of the outcomes of the complaint. Any evidence that was not available previous may be presented and considered.

The panel of up to three Trustees will take whatever reasonable self-determining steps are necessary and within their remit as Trustees to consider any appeal.

This panel will report back to the President in written format within 56 days with an outcome. The President will then write to the complainant with the outcome of the appeal as

  • The outcome of the initial complaint is not upheld
  • The outcome of the initial complaint is partially upheld
  • The outcome of the initial complaint is upheld

There will be no further opportunity to contest the findings of a complaint within BABCP.

 

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