Complaints, compliments and comments policy and procedure

1. Policy statement

Our Time is committed to operating with the highest standards of care. We also adopt a culture of continuous development to maintain excellence in the delivery of our mission. Your complaints, compliments and comments help us to learn about, and improve, how we work. 

This complaints, compliments and comments policy and procedures applies to anyone not working for the organisation. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • children and young people
  • parents and carers
  • funders
  • members of the public
  • other organisations. 

If you are an employee, volunteer or working for the organisation in another capacity, please see the relevant policy and procedure for your feedback. If you want to provide feedback about a Kids Time Workshop, see section 3.

2. Types of feedback


2.1 Compliments


We strive to improve what we do by building on our successes as well as making improvements when things go wrong. Compliments about the organisation help us to understand what is valuable and going well so that we can build on it. Positive feedback about anyone who works for Our Time is always gratefully received and we ensure compliments reach those staff, volunteers and other workers directly so that they can hear what you found great too. 

2.2 Complaints


We define a complaint as; an expression of dissatisfaction about our service, actions taken, or a lack of action taken, by or on behalf of the organisation. Complaints may include but are not not limited to:

  • Concerns about the quality or standard of service 
  • Inappropriate behaviour, poor treatment or poor attitude by someone working on behalf of the organisation 
  • Non-compliance by the organisation to follow an appropriate policy or procedure, or a general dissatisfaction with them
  • Financial mismanagement or inappropriate fundraising methods

2.3 Comments


We welcome any other thoughts, comments or feedback you have about what we do and the people who are doing it with us. Our Time exists to make a difference for young people who have a parent with a mental illness: hearing your comments on what we do and how we do it, helps us continue to develop.

2.4 Anonymous feedback


We encourage all feedback to be sent by a named person so that we can share thanks, follow up with you or share an outcome. However, anonymous feedback will be read and treated with the same level of appreciation and seriousness although practically it may not be able to result in the most comprehensive action. Read more about why in section 4.

3. KidsTime Workshops

KidsTime Workshops are delivered with a range of partners who are expected to meet the same high standards as Our Time. We respect these partners’ right to manage feedback in line with their own procedures and ask that any feedback is raised with the workshop lead and/or organisation directly. 

In addition, we encourage all feedback about workshops to be shared with Our Time directly to support our commitment to high quality service delivery. See section 6.2 for who to contact. We will reply within five working days to acknowledge receipt of your email and inform you as to whether we will be taking any further action in line with the remainder of this policy and procedure.

4. Timeframe to raise your feedback


4.1 Compliments and comments


You can compliment us or give general feedback at any time.

4.2 Complaints


We encourage all complaints to be made as soon after an incident as possible. This helps us to act on your complaints in the most comprehensive way. If you are unable to do so immediately we ask that a complaint be made up to 12 months of either:

  • the date the matter which is the subject of a complaint is about occurred, or
  • if it was later, the date on which the complainant became aware of the matter.

The time limit will not apply if we are satisfied that there was a good reason for the complaint not being made within the time limit. Any complaints made beyond this time frame that are upheld will be considered historical complaints. 

Historical complaints will be taken just as seriously, however, we may be more limited in the information we can access during an investigation. We commit to pursuing a historical complaint if it is possible to investigate the complaint effectively and fairly.

5. Process for actioning your feedback


5.1 Compliments and comments


We will always do our best to acknowledge your comments and compliments. However, if we have been unable to, they are always appreciated and we strive for them to be passed on to any relevant parties internally.

5.2 Complaints 


5.2.1 Resolving through conversation


Where possible and appropriate please try and speak directly to the team or person involved. We hope that through this honest and relational approach, many of the complaints raised can be resolved by this direct approach, prior to an investigation. 

More details on who to contact if this direct approach is not possible are outlined in section 6.2. 

5.2.1 Verbal or written


We endeavour for all complaints to be resolved swiftly and completely. On receipt of a complaint, as outlined in section 4, we will:

  1. Acknowledge your complaint within five working days
  2. Carry out an internal investigation
  3. Provide a written response of our findings and any follow up action taken as soon as possible, but not later than a further 15 working days (20 days total)
  4. Provide details or how to appeal the outcome of the investigation.

If the investigation is anticipated to take longer than the timescale outlined above, you will be notified of a revised deadline before the 15 working days expires. You will be given a further date by which you can expect to receive a written response. 

5.2.2 Complaints about the CEO or a trustee


All complaints are taken seriously, this includes complaints about the CEO, a Trustee or another senior leader of the organisation. However, we recognise the need to report these to the most appropriate person. See section 6.2 for who to contact.

5.2.3 Appealing an unsatisfactory response


An appeal must be submitted in writing within 15 working days from the date of the correspondence notifying you of the outcome. It must also satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

  • you have new, relevant information (which you have not previously submitted)
  • there is a failure to consider adequately, or at all, information you provided in connection with the complaint
  • the conclusion and response to your complaint is unreasonable based on the information provided.

If your appeal meets this criteria, it will be considered a legitimate appeal. On receipt of a legitimate appeal we will:

  • acknowledge your appeal within five working days
  • complete a further investigation that will be carried out by a different person to the initial investigation. This could be someone more senior within the organisation or an independent external party e.g. HR agency, another charity
  • provide a written response of our findings and any follow up action taken as soon as possible, but not later than a further 15 working days (20 days total)

If the investigation is anticipated to take longer than the timescale outlined above, you will be notified of a revised deadline before the 15 working days expires. You will be given a further date by which you can expect to receive a written response. 

This outcome will be final. There are no further internal escalation channels. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of your appeal please see section 5.2.4 for how to escalate complaints externally. 

5.2.4 External complaints


We strive to resolve all complaints internally and at the earliest opportunity. However, if you continue to be dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, including the appeal outcome, you are invited to raise your concern(s) externally. 

Complaints can be raised with any relevant statutory body, including but not limited to:

  • The Charity Commission
  • The Fundraising Regulator
  • Information Commissioner’s Office

5.3 Managing your information and confidentiality


All complaints will be logged in as much detail as is necessary. This includes the personal information of the person making the complaint. Information about individual complaints will only be shared with those who need access for a legitimate purpose. This includes staff investigating and responding to the complaint.

Steps will be taken to maintain your confidentiality, beyond the people who need to look into your complaint. On occasion your information may be shared with others internally as well as externally when we are legally required to do so. Your data will be handled in line with the Data Protection Act (2018). You can read more in our Privacy Policy.

6. How to share your feedback

6.1 How to contact us


We encourage all feedback to be in written form, whether email or letter. If feedback is given orally we encourage it to be followed up in writing, particularly for complaints. This ensures the feedback is received in its truest form.

6.2 Who to contact


Whether you have a complaint, compliment or comment we always encourage you to speak directly to the team or person involved first. See section 4.2 for raising a complaint. 

If you have been unable to give feedback directly, below are the contact details for who to contact whether your feedback is about someone working on behalf of the organisation, its staff or any senior leaders. 

  • Staff, volunteers and other workers: dympna.cunnane@ourtime.org.uk
  • Kids Time workshops: helena.kulikowska@ourtime.org.uk
  • The CEO: Chair of Trustees – chair@ourtime.org.uk 
  • A Trustee: Chair of Trustees – chair@ourtime.org.uk 

Policy Lead: Dympna Cunnane
Late Date Reviewed: April 2022