Complaints Policy

Status:

Ratified

Drafted by:

Governors

Ratified by Governors:

18/5/17

The Governing Body is responsible for establishing and maintaining this policy and for ensuring that it is followed.  The Principal is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Governing Body and for complying with this policy. The policy applies to the Principal and to all staff employed by the Academy.

Contents

Route 39 Academy

Complaints Policy

Contents

Aims

Investigating Officer

Stages relating to a complaint:

Stage 1 – Informal

Stage 2 – Formal

Stage 3 – Appeals to the Secretary of State or Ombudsman

Confidentiality

Aims

This Complaints procedure describes how anyone with a complaint can set about having the complaint dealt with.  It is in line with the Devon County model policy for complaints and the policies for ‘Dignity at Work’ and ‘Equal Opportunities’.

The procedure covers complaints made by children, parents, staff and others in respect of the performance of duties or exercising of powers by the school, staff or Governing Body either directly or through delegation.

A copy of this procedure will be given, on request, to anyone wishing to make a complaint under these arrangements.

All complaints will be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Each stage of the procedure should be completed within twenty (20) school days.  The procedure will not cover complaints about incidents that happened more than three months before the complaint is made other than in exceptional circumstances.  The Principal and Chair of Governors will agree the exceptional circumstances.

All complaints will be fully investigated, sensitively and confidentially.  The main aim at all stages will be to secure that the complaint is settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

The person making the complaint will receive a reasoned written reply and details of action deemed necessary where appropriate.

Anyone who is the subject of the complaint has the right to know, will be informed at an early stage of the allegations made, be advised to seek advice if appropriate and have an opportunity to respond.

Throughout the procedure, at all stages, Complainants, Governors, Principal, or member of staff complained against may be accompanied by a friend or supporter.

It is essential, in the interests of equality and consistency that all staff and Governors dealing with a complaint follow this agreed procedure.  Issues that are sent direct to the LA, other officials or persons and are then presented to the school for further investigation or attention will then become subject to this procedure.  Complaints that are made anonymously will be noted and not acted upon.  Individual governors must not investigate complaints outside of this procedure.

Records kept relating to complaints made must be made available for inspection by the Principal or Route 39 Academy Trustees.

Investigating Officer

An investigating officer will handle all complaints. The investigating officer is assigned as follows:

Stages relating to a complaint:

This procedure defines three stages:

A complaint could be considered at more than one of these stages.  It is essential that the complaint is dealt with by people not involved in the complaint.

Stage 1 – Informal

  1. Most complaints or possible complaints should be resolved locally in discussion with the Principal or other staff of the school in the first instance.  An informal discussion with the Chair of Governors may also be an alternative method at this point.

  1. The Investigating Officer will keep a written note of informal complaints and their views and on what solution has been offered.  The Investigating Officer may wish to contact the LA, Associations or Unions for legal advice and support (School staff dealing with a complaint or possible complaint should inform the Principal, at the earliest opportunity, of the nature of the complaint and their views on a possible solution).

  1. Complainants are advised to seek to fully resolve them under the informal procedure before embarking on the formal stage.

  1. It is expected that the Investigating Officer will engage the complainant in full discussion with perhaps more than one meeting in an effort to fully resolve the situation to the satisfaction of all.  Meetings will need to be arranged with those complained against.  If satisfaction cannot be reached, or the issue remains unresolved, then the complainant will be advised of the Formal Procedures.  A written record will be kept of all meetings and discussions.
  2. Should the face to face discussions appear unlikely to resolve matters, either party may initiate a move to the next stage of the procedure.

Stage 2 – Formal

  1. The complaint should be set out in writing by the complainant, and submitted to the Investigating Officer.  It is essential that any letter is accompanied by the ‘Form of Complaint’ to ensure that all relevant aspects are covered.

N.B. A form for this purpose is at the end of this Code of Practice.

  1. Receipt of the complaint will be promptly acknowledged (within 5 days) and the entire process (investigation and response) should be completed within 20 school days.

  1. The role of the Investigating Officer and panel where formed is to interview separately (giving at least three day’s notice of a time and place) the complainant, those complained against and any supporting witnesses each of whom may be accompanied by one friend or supporter for the interview.  The Investigating Officer will report on only the facts of the matter by the due date.

  1. The Investigating Officer will:

When the complaint has been fully investigated and considered by the Investigating Officer and panel where formed, the Investigating Officer will notify the complainant of the outcome in writing (within twenty school days of the receipt of the written complaint) giving an explanation of the conclusions, the reason for it and any action taken or proposed to be taken if appropriate.  A clause should be added to the effect that if the investigating officer has not had a response from the complainant within 10 days the matter will be considered closed.

  1. Those complained against will also be entitled to receive details of the outcome of the investigation at the same time as the complaint.

Stage 3 – Appeals to the Secretary of State or Ombudsman

After all school based stages have been exhausted, complainants who feel that the school has not investigated their complaint fairly may appeal to the Secretary of State for Education or Local Government Ombudsman.  

The Secretary of State for Education

Sanctuary Buildings

Great Smith Street

Westminster

London

SW1P 3BT

0171 925 5000

Local Government Ombudsman

The Oaks

Westwood Way

Coventry

CV4 8JB

01203 695999

Confidentiality

It is essential that a complaint is dealt with in the strictest confidence and utmost professionalism by all parties.  When the complaint is at stage 2 the governing body are only to be informed that there is a complaint, no details are to be given.  This ensures that there are always some independent Governors to form a complaints panel.  It also means that all written letters during the course of the investigation are from those investigating the complaint rather than from ‘Governors’ or the Governing Body.


Route 39 Academy Complaint Form

When you have filled in this form, take it or send it to the Chair of Governors or Principal at the school.  If the Principal or Chair is the subject of the complaint, please address it to the Vice-Chair.

This information will be used by the Investigating Officer / Chair of Appeal Panel.  You will be invited to meet the investigating officer / panel to put the facts of your complaint personally.

1.        Name:

2.        Address:

        Telephone Number:                                Mobile Number:

3.        Brief details of the problem (please continue on another sheet of paper if necessary):

4.        What date or period of time does the complaint relate to?

5.        To whom have you already complained informally, and when?

6.        Please give details of any more information you have to support your complaint such as letters or reports.  Original documents can be copied and returned to you.

7.        How do you see your complaint being resolved?

Signed ________________________________        Date __________________________