Queries and complaints procedures

Managing queries

Sarah Henderson is the named contact to submit all queries to. All queries should be submitted in writing to sioutcomesfunds@socialfinance.org.uk.
We will acknowledge receipt of the query within two working days. We will respond to all queries within 15 working days, and 80% of those within 7 working days, in writing.
Complaints Procedure

Social Finance and LGA will adopt the following formal complaints procedure which details how and who to complain to and describes the steps we will follow in dealing with a complaint.
Aims and objectives

Social Finance and LGA aim to ensure that:

  •     Anyone wishing to make a complaint knows how to do so because it is easily accessible, publicised and simple to understand
  •     The resolution of problems by informal means is encouraged wherever possible
  •     LGA and Social Finance will respond to complaints within a reasonable time and in a courteous, efficient way
  •     LGA and Social Finance will, within a reasonable time,  share information with each other about any and all complaints received
  •     Complaints will be dealt with in an impartial and confidential manner

Complaints can be made by

  • Anyone receiving a service from the LGA and Social Finance within the scope of this contract
  • Anyone who has a need or a possible need for a service from the LGA and Social Finance within the scope of this contract

The complaints procedure

  1. Informal resolution: As a first step to make a complaint, the complainant should contact the person involved or the named individual face-to-face or by telephone (details provided).  The organisation receiving the complaint will acknowledge receipt of the complaint to both the complainant and Social Finance or the LGA (as appropriate)(as long as a valid email address is provided) within two working days. We will request that the complainant sets the complaint out clearly, articulating all relevant details and providing evidence where possible.  Social Finance or the LGA will attempt to resolve any complaint informally at the first stage.  If the complaint has not been resolved at this step, the complainant will be advised to proceed to Step 2.
  2. Formal complaint: For a formal complaint, or for one that cannot be resolved at the first stage, the complainant should put the complaint in writing to Sarah Henderson (sarah.henderson@socialfinance.org.uk) .We will send an email confirming that we have received the complaint within two working days (as long as a valid email address is provided). We will make enquiries as necessary and respond to the complainant within 15 working days. The response will state whether the complaint has been upheld, if it has been upheld the action we will take to rectify it and finally, how the complainant can appeal against the decision.
  3. Appeal process:  Should an appeal be necessary, it will be handled jointly and will be subject to legal advice. Handling the appeal will be carried out by Social Finance’s COO in partnership with the LGA’s Executive Director of Policy and Finance who will respond within 15 working days as to whether the initial investigation was fair, what the finding is on the appeal and what steps will be taken to rectify the errors found.  Where there is good reason, it is possible to extend this by a further 10 working days, with the complainant’s agreement.  Where the appeal is not upheld, the COO and Executive Director will advise what course of further appeal is open to the complainant.
  4. Further appeal: Any further appeal will be heard by an independent party agreed by both parties and within 20 days will write a report which will be sent to the complainant.

Points of note

At each stage in the procedure we will remain mindful of ways in which a complaint or query can be resolved. It might be sufficient to acknowledge that the complaint or query is valid in whole or in part. In addition, it may be appropriate for one of the following:
    •    An apology
    •    An explanation
    •    An admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better
    •    An assurance that the event complained of will not recur
    •    An explanation of the steps that have been taken to ensure that it will not happen again
    •    An undertaking to review School policies in light of the complaint

No admission of liability will be made without the prior consent of the LGA and Social Finance.

Written records will be kept of all complaints. Complaints may be withdrawn in writing at any time.

Review of the procedure

Social Finance and LGA will monitor the level and nature of complaints and review the outcomes on an annual basis to ensure the effectiveness of the procedure and make changes where necessary. Wherever possible, complaints information shared internally will not name individuals unless it is necessary to do so. Social Finance and LGA are committed to on-going improvement. Therefore as well as addressing an individual’s complaints, the process of listening to, and resolving complaints will contribute to service improvement. When individual complaints are heard, we will identify any underlying issues that need to be addressed. The monitoring and review of complaints by Social Finance and LGA helps in evaluating the overall service performance.

Dealing with unreasonable complaints

Complaints could be deemed unreasonable if the person making them:

  • Repeatedly makes the same complaint and refuses to accept the findings of the investigation into that complaint
  • Seeks an unrealistic outcome
  • Has a history of making unreasonable complaints
  • Makes frequent, lengthy, complicated and stressful contact with staff regarding the complaint

Or, if they are done so:

  • Maliciously
  • Aggressively
  • Using threats, intimidation or violence
  • Using abusive, offensive or discriminatory language
  • Knowing it to be false

In these circumstances the COO and Executive Director will liaise with their respective legal services before deciding on the action to be taken.