Why have a Complaints Policy and Procedure?
‘An effective complaints management system is a proven way of maintaining and building relationships with the people on whom the club depends.’
Complaints received will be aligned to the relevant section of the Poole AC Code of Conduct depending on the area that the complaint relates to (eg. a complaint regarding an athlete’s behaviour, will refer to the Athlete Code of Conduct).
Handling Complaints well:
- Demonstrates your commitment to your clients and other stakeholders
- Demonstrates your commitment to providing the best possible service
- Helps you to find out about things that have gone wrong so you can fix them
- Helps you to prevent things going wrong again in future
The policy assumes that complaints are likely to be handled by the Committee. Unless there is a senior volunteer who manages complaints in a professional capacity and who is better placed to field initial complaints and/or issues.
Due to the size and nature of Poole AC and the fact we do not have a permanent or head office careful consideration should be given to the address given out for correspondence of written complaints. Where possible email may be a preferred option.
Because the nature of complaints could be quite varied Poole AC will try to maintain as much flexibility as possible when dealing with them.
Poole AC views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person that has made the complaint.
Our policy is:
- To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
- To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
- To make sure everyone at Poole AC knows what to do if a complaint is received
- To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
- To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired
- To gather information which helps us to improve what we do
Definition of a Complaint
A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of Poole AC.
Where Complaints come from
Complaints may come from any person or organisation who has a legitimate interest in Poole AC. A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing. This Complaints Procedure is for members and non-members.
All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Chairman and the management committee.
This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.
Complaints Procedure of Poole AC
Written complaints may be sent to any member of the Poole AC committee or via the website enquiry and will be passed on to the relevant members of the committee. This will generally be the Chairman and two other committee members as nominated by the Chairman.
Verbal complaints may be made by phone or in person to any of Poole AC officials or committee members.
Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have. Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded.
The person who receives a phone or in person complaint should do the following:
- Write down the details of the complaint
- Take the complainant’s name, address and telephone number
- Note down the relationship of the complainant to the Poole AC
- Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure that can be found at on our website at www.pooleac.co.uk
- Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take
- Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.
- The individual (s) “accused” under the complaint, should not under any circumstances respond back to the complainant, unless authorised by the Chairman to do so, as this could jeopardise the successful resolution of the complaint.
In many cases, a complaint is best resolved informally by the person responsible for the issue or topic for which the complaint relates. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate. Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information should be passed to the Chairman within one week.
On receiving the complaint, The Chairman records it in the complaints log. If it has not already been resolved, they delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, the complaint should be dealt with by their “line manager” and the individual should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond.
Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within a week. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Committee level. At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Committee and the Chairman.
The request for Committee level review should be acknowledged within a week of receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.
The person who receives Stage Two complaints may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond.
The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within four weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given. Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Committee decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.
Variation of the Complaints Procedure
The Club Committee may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Chairman should not also have the Chairman as the person leading a Stage Two review.
Monitoring and Learning from Complaints
Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.
All complaints will be logged and any resulting actions as a result of the complaint will be recorded.
If any disciplinary action is deemed necessary by the officers of the club, as a result of a complaint or for any other reason, we will follow the process outlined in the UKA Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
Vexatious or Persistent Complaints
If a complaint is considered persistent and/or vexatious, we may bring the communication to a close. Vexatious – a complaint instituted without sufficient grounds and serving only to cause annoyance to the receiver of the complaint; an oppressive complaint (with unjust severity); or otherwise, an abuse of the procedures for dealing with complaints or conduct matters.
Persistent – a complaint that is substantially the same as a previous complaint (whether made by or on behalf of the same or a different complainant); contains no fresh allegations which significantly affect the account of the previous complaint; no fresh evidence, being evidence, which was not reasonably available at the time the previous complaint was made, is tendered in support of it.
Mark Pauley – Track & Field Co-Chairman
Bryan Murray – Track & Field Co-Chairman
Graham Filmer – Club Chairman
Jayne Offer – Welfare Officer
Dave Neal – Honorary Secretary