ACRE aims to provide an efficient, prompt and courteous service to all. We welcome your comments regarding any dissatisfaction with our services and aim to resolve these through our complaints procedure. This policy tells you how to go about making a complaint, about our service and what response you can expect from us.
Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is a national charity speaking up for and supporting rural communities. We work to create thriving, inclusive and economically active rural communities which have the services they need. We believe no one should be disadvantaged because of where they live. For further information about ACRE see www.acre.org.uk
What are the principles involved?
- We welcome feedback from our service users. ACRE aims to be an open and accountable organisation.
- Feedback and suggestions are helpful to us in providing an effective and responsive service and in meeting our objectives. ACRE welcomes and values both positive and negative comments as we strive for continuous improvement.
- Complaints are valid whether they are recorded in writing or not. We value both verbal and written comments and will report the outcome of any complaint back to the complainant.
- Complaints will be dealt with courteously, quickly and effectively by the most appropriate member of staff.
What kind of complaint can be considered?
Grounds for complaint include:
- Dissatisfaction with standards of service (for example, the quality of information provided, either verbally or in written form, or the manner in which that information was provided).
- Deficiencies in standards of service (which might include problems with accessibility or the provision of information in appropriate formats).
- Discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation.
- Other deficiencies in the quality of your experience with ACRE.
What kind of complaint is excluded?
The nature of what we do means that we often work in partnership or in association with a large number of organisations, groups and individuals. We cannot respond to complaints about the work of others and suggest that such complaints be addressed to the organisation, group or individual concerned. Complaints made to ACRE need to relate to the actions of ACRE staff or others working as representatives of ACRE, such as contractors and volunteers.
How to make a complaint
If possible, any complaints should be resolved informally, without delay, by speaking with the individual concerned or by phoning 01285 653477. If, however, this does not resolve the situation a formal complaint can be made through ACRE’s two-stage complaints procedure.
Making a complaint: stage one
In the first instance, a complaint will be dealt with by ACRE’s Executive Director. Therefore, please put your complaint in writing and address it to:
Richard Quallington, Executive Director
It will help us if all formal complaints are made in writing with as much detail as possible, including any supporting documents or additional information. This helps us to understand the complaint more fully and to respond more effectively. In addition, it is also helpful to include any suggestions as to how the complaint might be resolved.
We take all complaints seriously and you can expect to be treated with courtesy and fairness at all times. We will aim to resolve your complaint as quickly and as fully as possible.
We will acknowledge receipt of a complaint within five working days and a full response will be provided within 15 working days of receipt of the complaint. If for some reason we are unable to respond within 15 working days, we will contact the complainant to explain why.
The Executive Director may discuss the complaint with any relevant parties (i.e. people directly involved in the complaint). However, we undertake to maintain full confidentiality beyond this and will not discuss the complaint with anyone outside ACRE without first agreeing this with the complainant.
Making a complaint: stage two
If the complaint remains unresolved at Stage One, then the complainant can request that the matter be taken to Stage Two. At Stage Two, the complaint will be reviewed and responded to by the Chair of ACRE.
The complainant will receive an acknowledgement of their request to proceed to Stage Two within five working days, and a full response to the complaint will be provided within 20 working days of receipt of the complaint. If for some reason we are unable to respond within 20 working days, we will contact the complainant to explain why.
The Chair may discuss the complaint with any relevant parties (i.e., people directly involved in the complaint). However, we undertake to maintain full confidentiality beyond this and will not discuss the complaint with anyone outside ACRE without first agreeing this with the complainant.
Once the Chair has responded to the complaint the formal internal complaints process is concluded.