Scripture Union's Complaints policy and procedures (July 2022) is as follows…
Ensuring that our stakeholders can hold us to account will improve the quality of our work. We strive to be excellent in all that we do but recognise that this cannot always be the case. When we make a mistake we want and need to be informed. We will use the information to endeavour to put things right and to help us to become more effective.
It is important that complaints are raised at the earliest possible opportunity to enable the matter to be dealt with speedily and effectively. An early informal approach is often the best means of resolution of minor problems. Nonetheless, we are committed to listening to and resolving all complaints whenever they are raised.
This policy applies to Scripture Union England and Wales (SU). A complaint can be made by any supporter, partner organisation or individual with whom we work or any member of the public who has a complaint arising out of their dealings with us.
This policy does not cover matters that are subject to separate procedures, which include the following:
- Provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use by anyone wishing to make a complaint
- Publicise the existence of this complaints procedure so that people know how to make a complaint
- Ensure everyone working or volunteering for SU is able to identify a complaint and knows what to do if a complaint is received
- Handle concerns, if at all possible, without the need for formal procedures but recognise the right of individuals, churches and organisations to make formal complaints and to have these complaints taken seriously.
- Ensure complaints are investigated fairly, consistently, effectively and in a timely way
- Ensure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired and improved
- Ensure that complaints regarding fundraising matters are dealt with in accordance with requirements stipulated by The Fundraising Regulator
- Ensure that complaints regarding data protection matters are dealt with in accordance with requirements stipulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office
- Ensure that a complete record of complaints is retained
- Ensure that complaint information is handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know, and following all relevant data protection requirements
- Gather information which helps us to improve what we do
- Encourage concerns to be raised at the earliest opportunity so they can be addressed and resolved as soon as possible.
We will not generally investigate anonymous complaints and will not generally respond to complaints made on behalf of other people (except by parents of minors or carers).
Complaints that are repetitious or vexatious will not be progressed.
What is a complaint?
We consider a complaint to be an expression of dissatisfaction about any aspect of our work, whether justified or not.
Complaints could include (not an exhaustive list):
- concern about the quality of an SU event, resource or communication;
- concern about the application of an SU policy;
- concern from a supporter or member of the public about a particular fundraising approach or campaign;
- concern about the behaviour of our staff, volunteers, consultants or trainees.
A complaint has to be about an action for which SU is responsible or is within our sphere of influence. A complaint is not:
- a general query about SU’s work;
- a request for information;
- a contractual dispute;
- a request to amend records e.g. to correct an address, cancel a donation;
- a request to unsubscribe from an SU ‘service’ e.g. a newsletter or email.
How will SU deal with a complaint?
We expect to deal with most complaints in an informal way in the first instance. If the informal approach proves to be unsatisfactory, the complainant may wish to register a formal complaint. This should be done in writing in most circumstances.
If the informal approach does not resolve the concern, we will ask the complainant if they wish to register the complaint formally.
Formal complaints should be made in writing. Details provided should include contact details of the complainant, details of the problem, what has gone wrong and how they would like us to resolve the matter.
We will acknowledge the complaint and provide a copy of the Complaints Procedure within three working days.
We will respond substantively to the complaint as soon as is reasonably practicable and will aim to do so within 20 working days. If this is not reasonably practicable, we will inform the complainant and update them as appropriate on progress in dealing with the complaint.
The response report sent to the complainant will describe the actions taken to investigate the complaint and the conclusions from the investigation.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome reached, they can request that the complaint is reviewed by the line manager of the person who handled the complaint. The request to do so must be made by the complainant within four weeks of receiving the response report.
In exceptional circumstances, if the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the review, they can request that the complaint is reviewed by the Leadership Team or National Director. The request to do so must be made by the complainant within four weeks of receiving the review response. The decision taken at this stage is final.
Who will handle the complaint?
The staff member with responsibility for handling the complaint is normally determined by the nature of the complaint. If the person is absent, responsibility will be passed to the next more senior manager.
All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.