Complaints

The ROAD Partnership is committed to the improvement of local communities in areas of need. Through partnership working, we help to inspire changes that will secure our futures and provide support to the most disadvantaged groups in Durham who are furthest from the labour market and who experience significant barriers to work.

We aim to provide a high quality of customer service that will surpass your expectations. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve our service is by listening and responding to the views of our Participants, and in particular, by responding positively to complaints, and by putting mistakes right.

 

Therefore, we aim to ensure that:

  • making a complaint is as easy as possible
  • we treat a complaint as a clear expression of dissatisfaction with our service which calls for an immediate response
  • we deal with it promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially
  • we respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, or information on any action taken
  • we learn from complaints, use them to improve our service, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures

We recognise that many concerns will be raised informally, and dealt with quickly. Our aims are to:

  • resolve informal concerns quickly
  • keep matters low-key
  • enable mediation between the complainant and the individual to whom the complaint has been referred

An informal approach is appropriate when it can be achieved. But if concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed.

 

Definition: The ROAD Partnership defines a complaint as ‘any expression of dissatisfaction (with the ROAD Partnership, with a member of ROAD staff, or with a ROAD Partner) that relates to the ROAD Partnership and that requires a formal response’.

 

Purpose: The formal complaints procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

 

The ROAD Partnership’s responsibility will be to:

  • acknowledge the formal complaint in writing
  • respond within a stated period of time
  • deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint
  • take action where appropriate

 

A complainant’s responsibility is to:

  • bring their complaint, in writing, to the ROAD Partnership’s attention normally within 8 weeks of the issue arising
  • raise concerns promptly and directly with a member of staff in the
  • explain the problem as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date
  • allow the ROAD Partnership a reasonable time to deal with the matter
  • recognise that some circumstances may be beyond the ROAD Partnership’s control

 

Responsibility for Action: The ROAD Partnership

 

Confidentiality: Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and the ROAD Partnership maintain confidentiality. However, the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality (with each complaint judged on its own merit). Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.

 

Monitoring and Reporting: The ROAD Partnership will produce regular anonymised reports of complaints made and their resolution in order to better our policies, procedures and practices.

 

Formal Complaints Procedure

All complaints will be dealt with seriously and with sensitivity: the time scales set out in this procedure will be followed unless mitigating circumstances do not make this possible or a specific contract states otherwise. You will be duly notified in writing.

Should you wish to make a complaint once you have left The ROAD Programme, this must be made formal in the same way as detailed in Stage Two below, and must be made within 1 month of leaving the Programme.

 

The Four Stages of Complaint

Stage One

Submit your complaint informally by approaching the member of staff you would usually work with (this could be an advisor/mentor/tutor). This member of staff should then conduct an investigation into your complaint and conduct enquiries as necessary. You should be provided with a response within 5 working days, together with an appropriate remedy or course of action, and timescale upon which your complaint or concern should be resolved.

Your Navigator should be able to resolve this matter directly with you.

If the matter has not been resolved through this informal discussion process, or if your complaint relates to the member of staff you usually work with, it should then be dealt with under the formal procedure highlighted in Stage Two.

 

Stage Two

Your complaint should be formally made, in writing, to:

Craig Drummond

ROAD Partnership Lead

Groundwork NE & Cumbria

Amos Drive, Greencroft Industrial Park

Annfield Plain, County Durham

DH9 7 XN

Please ensure that you provide all information surrounding your complaint, including the name of the organisation you are working with and details of any member of staff you have spoken with on this matter.

You will receive a response within 10 working days, outlining suggestions to resolve your complaint. Should your complaint take longer than 10 days to investigate and provide a solution, you will be informed of the expected duration of resolve.

If the response at this Stage does not resolve your complaint, you can escalate your complaint to the next level.

If no further correspondence is received within 3 months of exhausting Stage Two the complaint will be considered closed.

 

Stage Three

If you wish to escalate your complaint to Stage Three, you must first have exhausted Stage Two in the 2 months prior, and must submit a written communication of your complaint to:

Lesley Gardner

HR Manager

Groundwork NE & Cumbria

Grosvenor House, 29 Market Place

Bishop Auckland, County Durham

Dl14 8NP

Alternatively you can send your complaint electronically to north.east@groundwork.org.uk

You will receive acknowledgement of your letter or email within 5 working days of receipt.

The HR Manager will fully investigate your complaint and will respond in writing within 10 working days, with an acknowledgement containing suggestions and a timeframe to resolve your complaint. Should your complaint take longer than 10 days to investigate and provide a solution, you will be informed of the expected duration of resolve.

The ROAD Partnership hopes that the majority of complaints are resolved before or at Stage Three, however, if the matter has not been resolved through this formal process, your complaint can be escalated further as detailed in Stage Four.

 

Stage Four

All previous Stages must have been fully exhausted before moving on to this Stage.

If you are not satisfied with the response from Stage Three of the complaints process, you are able to escalate your complaint to the Funding Provider. If you wish to escalate your complaint to Stage Four, you must submit a written communication of your complaint, by letter within 2 months of exhausting Stages Two and Three to:

David Herron

Funding Officer

Big Lottery Fund, 2 St. James’ Gate

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 4BE

Alternatively, you can send your complaint electronically to david.herron@biglotteryfund.org.uk

You will receive acknowledgement of your letter or email within 5 working days of receipt. The Funding Officer will fully investigate your complaint and will respond in writing within 10 working days.

 

The outcome of the complaint at this Stage is decided and is final. You will be informed of the reasons for the final decision in writing.