Original Date: June 2007
Last Reviewed: April 2017
Original Date: June 2007
Last Reviewed: April 2017
As an independent provider it is essential that we are open and transparent. We need to show that the welfare of our pupils is our priority and as such we have all the due process in place for them and others who have their interests at heart to voice their opinions and experiences. In the case of them being dissatisfied they must be aware of the process by which their complaint will be dealt with. This in no way interferes with or supersedes their legal rights.
This policy will provide a clear, concise and efficient way of handling any complaint against The Lifehouse or its staff /members / students. It will act to reassure everyone concerned that all complaints will be dealt with openly and fairly.
- A complaint is received. This may be directly to the accused or to a director. It may be written or verbal.
- A complaint will be treated as an informal complaint in the first instance, and all reasonable measures will be made to resolve the issue through discussion.
- All complaints MUST be recorded in a COMPLAINTS LOG BOOK
At the initial instance regardless of the eventual outcome at the time of the complaint. Complaints will first be noted as ‘informal’ and will be noted as ‘formal’ if they reach the written stage (see procedure point 6). If the procedure is taken beyond this stage it will be noted as taken further.
The stage at which it is resolved and all actions taken will be noted.
- If not immediately resolved, then all other directors must be informed within 3 working days at the latest and a meeting must be held at that time.
- Evidence of complaint must be gathered from all concerned parties and considered by the board of directors. A nominated director will attempt to resolve the issue by discussion with both parties. This will happen within 5 working days of the original complaint.
- If not resolved there will be further investigation and agreement of the remaining directors if it is about one of them, or all directors if the complaint is about another member of staff or a student. This must now be put in writing by the complainant. At this stage the complaint will be recognised as ‘formal’. We would discuss how best to reach resolution. It may be decided that there would be benefit in further discussion with involved parties. This process will take place within 10 working days of the initial complaint.
- If there is still no resolution then the directors will convene the Independent Panel, which is made up of six independent professionals, of which at least 3 will convene for any one complaint. The hearing will be before a panel appointed by the proprietor of at least three people who have not been directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint and one of whom is not directly involved in the day to day management of the school. The panel will consider the evidence that has been collected and they can then decide if they need to gather more evidence and convene again at a future date not more than one calendar month, and subsequently at monthly intervals from the initial complaint. The complainant must be informed of all panel meetings and invited to attend. It is recommended that no more than three panel meetings should be convened. When they feel it is appropriate to make a finding and give recommendations the panel will inform:
- Is the complaint upheld or dismissed?
- If the complaint is upheld then would they advise litigation for compensation?
- Should the incident be reported to Health and Safety Board or any other relevant legislative body?
- Should the incident be reported to The Local Education Authority including the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board?
- If there is any suspicion of a criminal offence they MUST report the incident to the police.
Their role is purely advisory and does not prevent the complainant following legal action independently. The Directors undertake to consider the advice of the Independent Panel very seriously. The Panel hold the right to inform any other party they feel should know about the complaint.
The panel will be asked to convene within one week of being notified of the requirement. The complainant is welcome to attend the panel meeting and be accompanied by a person of their choice. The panel will notify the complainant about the time and venue of the meeting.
- Details of the outcome will be recorded in the Complaints Logbook at whatever stage the issue is resolved. The logbook will clearly indicate at what stage the complaint was resolved. The panel will be asked to draw up a document that outlines findings and recommendations. A copy of this will be given to the Directors, Head teacher, complainant and where relevant the person about whom the complaint has been made.
All correspondence, statements and records of complaints will be kept confidential. However, The Lifehouse recognises that it must inform any interested party about the number of formal complaints made in the preceding year as stipulated in the Education Act 2002 section 163.
The directors must give consideration after the event to any arising issues regarding, for example, Risk Assessments, Health and Safety policy, Child Protection or suitability of staff. Should the incident be related to one of the directors then similar consideration should be given to issues of good practice and suitability of person to task.
Outcomes and resulting action will be recorded in the COMPLAINTS LOG BOOK at whatever point resolution is made
Complaints will be confidential but the number of complaints made against The Lifehouse in the preceding year is available to any interested party