Complaints Procedure

 

Date Drafted: Summer 2017
Date Presented to Trust Board: October 2017
Date Adopted by LGB:  
Review Frequency: Bi-Annually or as legislation changes require
To be reviewed by: Nothworthy Trust HR Team

 

1. OVERVIEW


1.1 Introduction
Section 29 of the Education Act 2002 requires schools to have in place a procedure to deal with complaints relating
to the school and any community facilities or services that the school provides. The law also requires the procedure
to be publicised. This policy sets out the intentions of the Northworthy Trust (the Trust) and its Schools for dealing
with complaints.

1.2 Dealing with Complaints – Initial concerns
Each school within The Trust will attempt to handle all concerns at the earliest opportunity and therefore avoid the
need for formal procedures. The Trust believes that taking informal concerns seriously at the earliest stage will
reduce the number that develop into formal complaints. The requirement to have a formal complaints policy does
not undermine our efforts to resolve concerns informally if possible.
In most cases, the member of staff working directly with the student will receive the first approach and the school
will equip staff to resolve issues on the spot wherever possible.

1.3 Dealing with Complaints – Formal procedures
The formal procedures will be invoked when initial attempts to resolve the issue are unsuccessful and the person
raising the concerns remains dissatisfied and wishes to take the matter further. Each school will nominate a
Complaints Coordinator who has the responsibility for the operation and management of this procedure.
Complainants will be encouraged to state what actions they feel might resolve the problem at any stage.

2. PROCESS (also see flow chart)


2.1 Complaints relating to individual schools

Informal procedure
The relevant class teacher or other relevant member of staff will respond directly to the complainant and resolve
the issue. The complainant will be informed in writing of the school action and if they are not satisfied, informed of
how to proceed to the formal procedure.

Formal procedure – Stage 1
The complaint is submitted on the complaints pro-forma to the Headteacher who will acknowledge receipt,
investigate and provide a full written response within 15 school days. The Headteacher may delegate the
investigation to a senior member of school staff. If unresolved;

Formal procedure – Stage 2
The complaint is submitted to the Clerk to Governors requesting that the complaint be heard by the Local
Governing Body Complaints Panel. The Clerk to Governors will arrange a hearing within 25 school days and confirm
the decision in writing. There is no further recourse to internal school procedures.


2.2 Complaints relating to The Trust
Any complaint relating to the Trust and not falling to be dealt with by the Headteacher or Local Governing Body will
be dealt with under the following process.

Informal procedure
The relevant member of the Trust central staff team will respond directly to the complainant and resolve the issue.
The complainant will be informed in writing of the Trust’s action and if they are not satisfied, informed of how to
proceed to the formal procedure.

Formal procedure – Stage 1
The complaint is submitted on the complaints pro-forma to the Chief Executive Officer who will acknowledge
receipt, investigate and provide a full written response within 15 school days. If unresolved:

Formal procedure – Stage 2
The complaint is submitted to the Company Secretary requesting that the complaint be heard by the Trust
Complaints Panel. The Company Secretary will arrange a hearing within 25 school days and confirm the decision in
writing. The complainant may progress the complaint to the Secretary of State and Local Government Ombudsman
if not satisfied with the decision.

3. The Remit of the Complaints Panel


The Complaints Panel at school and Trust level will be independent and impartial and no governor will sit on the
panel if they have had prior involvement in the complaint or in the circumstances surrounding it. The panel will
include one member who is independent of the school. The remaining members will consist of a cross-section of the
categories of governor and be sensitive to the issues of race, gender and religious affiliation. The panel will aim to
resolve the complaint and achieve reconciliation between the school and the complainant. It has to be recognised
that the complainant might not be satisfied with the outcome if the panel does not find in their favour. It may only be
possible to establish the facts and make recommendations which will satisfy the complainant that his or her
complaint has been taken seriously.

The panel can:
• Dismiss the complaint in whole or in part
• Uphold the complaint in whole or in part
• Decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint
• Recommend changes to the school’s systems or procedures to ensure that problems of a
similar nature do not recur


4. Vexatious Complaints


There may be occasions when, despite all stages of the procedure having been followed, the complainant remains
dissatisfied. If the complainant tries to re-open the same issue, the Chair of Governors / Chair of the Trust Board is
able to inform them in writing that the procedure has been followed and that the matter is now closed. (Refer to
Vexatious Complaints Policy)


5. Investigating Complaints


The Headteacher, CEO, Complaints Co-ordinator or nominated member of staff will:
• Establish what has happened so far, and who has been involved
• Clarify the nature of the complaint and what remains unresolved
• Meet with the complainant or contact them to clarify or gain further information
• Interview those involved in the matter and/or those complained of, allowing them to be
accompanied if they wish

• Conduct all interviews with an open mind
• Keep notes of the interview/s and record the outcome
• Provide a full written response to the complainant


6. Recording Complaints


The Complaints Coordinator will record the progress of complaints and the final outcome and ensure that the
complainant and the school have the same understanding of what was discussed and agreed.


7. Review of Complaints


The Trust and its Governing Bodies will monitor the level and nature of complaints and review the outcomes on a
termly basis to ensure the procedure is operating effectively.


8. Publicising the Procedure


This procedure will be available on the Trust and school’s websites and referred to in any school brochure.

COMPLAINT PROCEDURE FLOWCHART

Complaints Procedure Flowchart

Complaint Form 1

Complaint Form 2

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