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Complaints Policy/ Procedure

Sensing Friends Complaints

Sensing Friends is committed to improving the services we provide and we welcome feedback and complaints which help us improve these services. Complaints can be verbal or written. If you wish to make a complaint you can do so by speaking to a member of staff or volunteer who may be able to resolve the issue at the time. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to a worker you can submit your complaint in writing to one of the Sensing Friends co-founders. If your complaint is about one of the co-founders you can submit your complaint in writing to the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The following section provides guidelines on how to make a complaint and what to expect after you have submitted your complaint.

How to submit a complaint

Report to staff member or volunteer

In some cases your complaint may be easily resolved at the time by a staff member of volunteer. If you feel able to raise an issue directly in this way then they may be able to sort it out there and then. You can also ask the staff member of volunteer to put the outcome of your complaint in writing so that you have a record of what was discussed and agreed.

Report to a Sensing Friends complaints officer

If you wish to complain about a staff member of volunteer but don’t want to raise the issue with them, or if you have a complaint about the service and wish to raise it with the Sensing Friends complaints officer then you can contact them by writing a letter of complaint outlining your concerns. Your complaint will be responded to following the procedures outlined below.

Report to the Chair of Board of Trustees

If your complaint is about one of the co-founders but you don’t want to raise the issue with them, please direct your letter outlining your concerns to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Your complaint will be responded to following the procedures outlined below.

Complaints Procedure

Stage 1

Your complaint will be dealt with by one of the co-founders when:

• the complaint cannot be resolved at the time by a staff member or volunteer
• the complaint relates to bad practice and professional misconduct by a staff member or volunteer
• the complaint relates to shortcomings in the service provided

The complaint will be investigated by the co-founder and where possible resolved. You will receive a response in writing within 28 days from the complaint being brought to their attention. The Chair of Board of Trustees will be informed of the outcome of the investigation and if you are dissatisfied with the response you can take the complaint to Stage 2.

Stage 2

At Stage 2 your complaint will be passed to the Chair of the Board of Trustees for review and further investigation.

• Where your complaint is referred to the Chair of the Board of Trustees, a written acknowledgement will be sent to you within seven working days with an offer of an appointment to discuss the issue. The letter will invite you to bring a friend or representative with you to the meeting if you wish.
• Your complaint will be investigated and a response will be made in writing as soon as possible and not later than two weeks after the above meeting.
• If your complaint concerns one of the co-founders or they are all absent (i.e. due to sickness etc) the complaint will be passed directly to the Chair.
• If at the end of this process your complaint is still not resolved the Chair will make a report to the wider Board of Trustees and they will consider what further action is necessary.
• At this stage you will be informed of the complaints procedures of our funders The Big Lottery.

Recording complaints

In line with data protection requirements all complaints are kept and stored confidentially for a minimum of 7 years. They will then be disposed of confidentially. There may be exceptions to this where there are specific contractual or legal requirements for keeping records.

Sensing Friends Complaints Officer : Kay Beach

Email: bradanhive@hotmail.com

Chair of Board of Trustees: Penny Wright
Email: penny@sensingfriends.org

Address: 13 Hollingbury Rise, Brighton, BN1 7HH

Whistleblowing
Whistleblowing is when someone raises a concern about a dangerous or illegal activity or any wrongdoing within their organisation.
Sharing information or talking through a concern can be the first step to helping an organisation identify problems and improve their practices and Sensing Friends welcomes any feedback and urges staff, volunteers and Trustees to share any concerns so that they can be addressed.

If staff, volunteers and Trustees do not feel able to share these concerns directly with Sensing Friends they can contact The Whistleblowing Advice Line on 0800 028 0285 or email help@nspcc.org.uk. This can be related to an incident that happened in the past, is happening now or something that could happen in the future.

? Safeguarding exception
Please also note that if you have a serious genuine safeguarding concern related to any of the work and activities at Sensing Friends it’s important to use Sensing Friends safeguarding policies and procedures where appropriate, rather than complaints policy. If you have serious concerns and feel they cannot be addressed though Sensing Friends normal avenue of safeguarding (please see safeguarding policy) it’s important to contact the safeguarding agency, Front Doors For Families on

Phone: 01273 290400
Out-of-hours: 01273 335905 (Emergency Duty Service)