Complaints Policy and Procedure
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that complaints are dealt with in an appropriate and confidential manner. The complaints policy and procedure is accessible to all, and is published on our website. All complaints are handled in a fair, consistent and timely way. This policy allows for all stakeholders and learners to log a formal or informal complaint should they have a need to.
Our Training Team is responsible for this process, ensuring that it complies with ESFA Funding Rules. It is reviewed annually, or as and when Funding Rules or CIF are revised. The Quality Manager oversees the management of the process and stakeholders involved.
Scope and definition
Provision of apprenticeships is regulated by the ESFA and quality assured by Ofsted. Our complaints procedure aligns to the requirements outlined within their guidance. All apprentices, employers, parents and local partners will be made aware of the complaints procedure by a number of means. For example the process is embedded into our apprentice induction, within employer contracting and established on our website. All complaints are dealt with appropriate discretion and sensitively.
A complaint is defined as an oral or written expression of dissatisfaction.
- Complaints concerning assessment practice will be dealt with through our appeals procedure which is aligned to awarding body requirements.
- Complaints from partners will be dealt with along alongside contracting terms.
- Complaints can be raised informally (e.g. in day-to-day conversation with staff), which should be dealt with immediately to prevent any escalation of dissatisfaction. However, where this is not always possible, our escalation process will look to resolve complaints to a satisfactory outcome.
- Complaints can be received in a number of ways, e.g. face to face, by email, or phone, and can be received by any staff member. It is therefore important to know the correct way to deal with a complaint to ensure satisfactory resolution.
- Where a complaint is received it should be documented and forwarded to a member of the Training Team. The complaint is then formally logged and investigated.
- The complaint will be formally acknowledged within 2 working days of receiving it.
- The allocated manager will investigate the complaint. Where a complaint is made against a specific member of staff the investigating manager will ensure that the complaint is handled in line with our internal HR policies and procedures. The HR Manager will take over the investigation due to the nature of the complaint.
On completion of the investigation the manager responsible will send a formal response to the complainant. The response will detail the findings from the investigation, and any resolution offered to the complainant, if applicable.
- All stages and decisions will be recorded centrally on the complaints log, electronic records will be retained of the complaint investigation and all information will be kept confidential.
- Every complainant has the right to appeal against a decision made under this procedure, if they are not satisfied with the outcome or the resolution offered. Details of how to appeal will be provided as part of the response to the original complaint. The appeal must be made within 5 working days of the complainant being informed of the decision and must be in writing. The complainant may approach any member of staff for help in formulating their appeal. The complaint will then be passed to the Training Manager to review.
- The Training Manager will review the original complaint and response, conduct another investigation which will be undertaken within 5 working days of the appeal.
- The Training Manager considering the appeal will inform all parties of their decision within 2 working days of it being reached. Where the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint they have the option to progress the complaint to the ESFA.
- Where a complaint cannot be resolved through the internal procedure the complainant has the option to submit a complaint to the ESFA. The ESFA will not normally investigate a complaint until our internal complaints procedure has been exhausted. ESFA complaints team can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Customer Service Team, Education and Skills Funding Agency, Cheylesmore House, Quinton Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT.
- Each manager taking responsibility for a complaint must log the complaint information on the central complaints log. The Quality Manager will produce a report regularly reviewing the number of complaints, root cause of complaints and resolutions which will be provided to the senior management team. The Quality Manager is then responsible for identifying actions and adding them to the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) to prevent any future complaints relating to the complaint trends.
- It is the responsibility of the Training Team to ensure they identify actions and addressed them in the strictest confidence.