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Complaints policy

This Complaints Policy outlines the procedure to be used when dealing with complaints and operates across all aspects of the work of DLF. It applies to any formal complaint or informal matter of concern expressed verbally or in writing to a member of staff or trustee by anyone outside the organisation. It also outlines how users of DLF’s Discussion Forums can make complaints about posts/threads in the Forums that they feel break DLF’s Forum Policy. It does not apply to matters covered by DLF’s Staff Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures.

Informal Process

It is best to deal with expression of concern or complaints informally at the time they are raised. If the matter cannot be resolved, take the Complainant’s details and pass to the appropriate line manager to either deal with immediately if the Complainant is on site (e.g. training) or follow up later as they feel is appropriate. A record of the complaint and outcome should be made and passed to the Chief Executive. It will be recorded in the Complaints Register, which is kept by the Chief Executive’s PA.

If anyone remains dissatisfied after these discussions then invite them to write to the Chief Executive, or to get someone to do so on their behalf, setting out the matter(s) of concern. Details of the process for dealing with formal written complaints are outlined below.

Formal Process

Written complaints should be emailed using our feedback formif possible. If the complainant does not have access to email, complaints should be sent in writing to the Chief Executive.

The complaints email inbox is accessible only to DLF staff and is checked every day during normal working hours (Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m). Complaints sent via email will receive an automatic response to acknowledge receipt. All complaints and responses are stored in the email box to act as a Complaints Register for complaints received by email.

Complaints sent by letter must be recorded in the main Complaints Register, which is kept by the Chief Executive’s PA, and acknowledged by return of post.

All written complaints (whether by email or mail) must be referred immediately to the Chief Executive to agree a response. If the Chief Executive is not available for an extended period (e.g. annual leave, sick leave) the complaint should be referred to a Head of Department that is not involved in the complaint.

For complaints that the Chief Executive judges can be dealt with swiftly, responses should be sent in the same format in which they were received within ten working days of receipt of the complaint.

If the Chief Executive judges the matter to be sufficiently complex or serious, he/she will appoint a Head of Department to act as investigator. This person will be independent of the service about which the complaint has been made. The Complainant will be notified within five working days of receipt of their complaint that an investigation is underway and that they will be notified of the outcome within twenty eight days. If this is impossible, a written explanation of the delay must be sent. The investigator will report to the Chief Executive, who will take any necessary action and arrange for the Complainant to be notified of the outcome. During the investigation DLF will not respond to any further enquiries from the Complainant on the same matter.

If a Complainant remains dissatisfied he or she may appeal to an Appeals Committee. This will include the Chair and Chief Executive or their representatives. The decision of the Appeals Panel will be final.

DLF will not respond to repeated complaints that have already been dealt with.

Forum Complaints

Registered Users of DLF’s Discussion Forums can complain about any posts that they feel break DLF’s Forum Policy via the ‘Report this post’ button in the Forum. They should give their reason why they are reporting the post. A report will be sent to DLF’s Moderators, who will review the post and decide what action to take. Options will include: no action necessary; removing the reported post and replacing with a message that says that the post has been removed by a Moderator; removing the entire thread; and, for users who persistently break DLF’s Forum Policy, banning the user from the Forum. Decisions by DLF’s Moderators as to which option to take will be final. DLF will notify users or threads whose posts are removed of this decision via email.

Reports about forum posts will only be dealt with by DLF’s Moderators during DLF’s normal business hours (Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.)

Forum Users should NOT use the feedback formemail box to complain about posts in the Forum but should only use the ‘Report this post’ button in the actual Forum. DLF will not respond to complaints sent to feedback formthat relate to Forum posts.

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