Compliments, comments and complaints policy

We value your support and our relationships. We welcome and value feedback as this enables us to listen, learn, and to improve what we do and how. In short, your compliments, comments and complaints help us continue to strive to be truthful, compassionate, and ambitious for change.

1. Who this policy is for

This policy applies to individuals (‘members of the public’) and organisations wishing to comment on, compliment or complain about the performance of services, fundraising activities, the suitability of campaigns and the conduct of employees, volunteers, contractors and third parties working with or representing Alcohol Change UK.

This policy does not apply to compliments or complaints being made by Alcohol Change UK employees, volunteers, agency workers, interns, secondees, contractors, consultants and trustees. These are covered by other Alcohol Change UK policies including the Grievance Policy, Volunteer Policy, Whistleblowing Policy and Safeguarding policy, as appropriate.

Those persons to whom this policy does not apply should make their compliments and comments to their line manager or persons to whom they consider their compliments/comments are most relevant.

2. Complimenting our people or our work

Compliments are valuable, and important to us. Compliments enable us to:

  • Understand from our supporters and stakeholders what we do well and the positive difference this makes
  • Provide positive feedback to our people – whether paid or unpaid
  • Influence the continued development of what we do, why and how

Compliments will be recorded and reported on.

3. Commenting on our people or our work

It is always helpful to hear what people think about us; what we do and how.

Compliments and comments are welcome because they:

  • Help to influence the organisational decisions we may make
  • Help maintain the standards of our activities
  • Raise issues of real importance and can lead to change for the better

Wherever we can, we will record and report, internally and externally if required, on comments we receive. We will endeavour to acknowledge compliments and comments wherever possible. Whilst this may not always be practicable, they are always appreciated.

4. Complaining about our people or our work

There will be times when our trustees, staff and volunteers or third parties working on our behalf make mistakes, or get things wrong. We very much value and welcome complaints, because it can alert us to issues that we may not be aware of, and enable us to consider whether we are able to fix or solve the problem.

When we receive a complaint, we will always take it seriously, record and report on it internally (and externally if required) and deal with it in a timely manner.

We will always take steps to maintain the confidentiality of your personal information. We will only disclose it to people who need to look into your complaint, and, rarely, to others where we are legally permitted to do so.

5. Defining a ‘complaint’

We define a complaint as “an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about actions taken or a lack of action by Alcohol Change UK, or someone acting on behalf of Alcohol Change UK.”

Where it is unclear whether a communication is indeed a complaint, we will endeavour to confirm this with you, insofar as we can. If the communication or comment is done anonymously and we do not have your contact details, we may not be able to treat it as a complaint under this policy.

The following issues will be treated as complaints as they touch upon Alcohol Change UK’s purpose and values (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Inappropriate/improper fundraising methods
  • Poor standards of service including accusations of professional incompetence or misconduct
  • Financial losses or waste
  • Criminality within or involving Alcohol Change UK
  • Alcohol Change UK being deliberately used for significant private advantage
  • Non-compliance with Alcohol Change UK’s own policies or procedures
  • Non-compliance with relevant laws and regulations

Please note that under certain circumstances we may not be able to respond to a complainant, including where:

  • You have not identified yourself or provided your contact details
  • Your complaint is not about Alcohol Change UK or about its people in relation to their work for Alcohol Change UK
  • Your expression of the complaint is insufficiently clear
  • Your complaint has been sent to us and other organisations as part of a bulk mailing or email

However, Alcohol Change UK will still take the complaint seriously and deal with it appropriately, including contacting you where we are able to, to discuss the matter further.

6. Sharing your compliments, comments and complaints with us

Set out below are the details of how and to whom you should submit your feedback:

Email: [email protected]

In writing: Feedback, Alcohol Change UK, 27 Swinton Street, London, WC1X 9NW

7. Our process for dealing with complaints

Where a complaint has been submitted in accordance with section 6 of this policy, Alcohol Change UK will acknowledge your complaint within five working days, explain the process that will be followed and when a decision (if appropriate) will be made.

In the first instance, we would always attempt to seek an informal resolution and only if this is not successful, would a formal investigation be instigated.

Following a proportionate and fair investigation by us to establish the facts surrounding the complaint, we will always attempt to provide a full, written response within 15 working days. There may be occasions where this is not possible, and we will always notify you of this and advise you of the date by which you are likely to receive a response to your complaint against Alcohol Change UK.

When notifying you of the outcome of our investigation and any follow up action taken, we will confirm to whom you could submit an appeal, in the event that you wished to contest the outcome. An appeal must be submitted in writing within 15 working days from the date of the letter notifying you of the outcome and must satisfy one or more of the criteria in section 8.

8. Appealing our response

Any appeal must be in writing and satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  • you have new and/or relevant information to present, which you have not previously submitted, nor expected to have reasonably submitted at the time
  • we have failed to adequately consider information you provided in connection with the complaint
  • the response to your complaint is perverse in that no reasonable person could have reached that conclusion based on the information provided to them

We will acknowledge receipt of your appeal within five working days, as long as we have your contact details.

We will always attempt to provide a full response to your appeal within 15 working days, as long as we have your contact details. There may be occasions where this is not possible, and where this is the case, we will always advise you and notify you of a date by when you may receive a response.

Our outcome response, which will always be in writing, is final; there will be no further redress within Alcohol Change UK but listed in section 10 are external.

9. Complaints against the Chief Executive or a member of the Board of Trustees

If your complaint relates to Alcohol Change UK’s Chief Executive Officer or a Trustee, it will be investigated by:

  • The Chair of the Board of Trustees, or
  • The Governance and People Committee (excluding the Chair), as appropriate.

If your complaint relates to the Chairman of Alcohol Change UK Board of Trustees, it will be investigated by:

  • The Vice Chair

10. Taking your complaint outside of Alcohol Change UK

In the event that you remain dissatisfied with the response you have received, you are entitled to take your concerns to any relevant statutory body, including but not limited to:

The Charity Commission (England & Wales) -

The Fundraising Regulator -

The Advertising Standards Authority -

The Information Commissioner’s Office -

11. Legal Framework and Guidance

This Policy takes into account relevant legal requirements, regulations and guidance, including statutory guidance relevant to Alcohol Change UK issued by Alcohol Change UK regulators, including;

  • The Charity Commission
  • The Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice, Fundraising Promise
  • Good Governance: a Code for the Voluntary and Community sector
  • Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR
  • Charities (Protection and Social Investments) Act 2016

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