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Complaints Procedure - Ripon Cathedral
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Complaints Policy & Procedure

Definition of a Complaint

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of the cathedral and its mission and ministry.

The Charity Commission report ‘Cause for Complaint’ states: ‘an effective complaints management system is a proven way of maintaining and building relationships with the people on whom the charity depends.’

Handling complaints well:

  • Demonstrates your commitment to your clients and other stakeholders
  • Demonstrates your commitment to providing the best possible service
  • Helps you to find out about things that have gone wrong, so you can fix them
  • Helps you to prevent things going wrong again in future

Ripon Cathedral views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or the organisation that has made the complaint.

The cathedral policy is:

  • To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
  • To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
  • To make sure everyone at Ripon Cathedral knows what to do if a complaint is received
  • To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
  • To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired
  • To gather information which helps us to improve what we do

Where Complaints Come From

Complaints may come from any person or organisation who has a legitimate interest in Ripon Cathedral

A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing.

This policy does not cover complaints from staff, who should use the Discipline and Grievance policies.

Confidentiality

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

Responsibility

Overall responsibility for the cathedral policy and its implementation lies with the Chapter of the Cathedral.

Review

This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.

Contact

Written complaints may be sent to:
Chief Operating Officer
Liberty Courthouse
Minster Road
Ripon HG4 1QS

Verbal complaints may be made by phone, 01765 603462 or in person to any of the cathedral’s staff in the cathedral or in the offices.

Receiving Complaints

Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have.

Complaints received by telephone or in person will be recorded.

The individual who receives a phone or in person complaint will:

  • Write down the facts of the complaint
  • Take the complainant’s name, address and telephone number
  • Note down the relationship of the complainant to the cathedral
  • Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
  • Outline to the complainant the next steps and how long it will take
  • Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.

Resolving Complaints

Stage One

In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about.  If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate.

Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information will be passed to the Chief Operating Officer within three working days.

On receiving the complaint, the Chief Operating Officer will make a full record of it.  If it has not already been resolved, they will delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action.  

If the complaint relates to a specific person, the individual will be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond.

It is the cathedral’s aim to acknowledge the complaint within ten days.  The acknowledgement will say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply.

It is the cathedral’s aim to send complainants a definitive reply within three weeks.  If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report will be sent with an indication of when a full reply can be expected.

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant will describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

Stage Two

If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed by the Chapter.  At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Dean.

The request for a Chapter level review will be acknowledged within a week of receiving it.  The acknowledgement will say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply. 

The Dean may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitable member of Chapter to do so.  This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One.

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they will be informed and given a further opportunity to respond.

The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One will be kept informed of what is happening.

It is the cathedral’s aim to send a definitive reply within three weeks to the complainant. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report will be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant will describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Chapter decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution

Variation of the Complaints Procedure

The Chapter may vary the procedure for good reason.  This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Dean should not also have the Dean as the person leading a Stage Two review.

Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.