COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS POLICY AND PROCEDURE
1. Definition of Complaint
A complaint is considered to include any communication received from a learner, apprentice, customer, staff member, associate or supplier or anyone else who has dealings with AssistKD and expresses dissatisfaction with the standard of service or level of care that they have received from AssistKD. The complaint may be raised by letter, email or other electronic communication. If the complaint is made verbally or by telephone, the complainant may be requested to confirm in writing. An appeal may be lodged against the result of an examination – see Section 5.
2. Applicability of policy
This document sets out the policy to be adopted should a complaint be received. A complaint may relate to work done for a customer or to the behaviour of a member of staff. The complaint may also be raised against a third party, not directly under the control of AssistKD. An example of this would be where a customer is unhappy with an examination result from an examination body. In this case, the complaint would be passed to the appropriate body, and AssistKD would manage the communication between the complainant and the third party.
This list above is not exhaustive and there may be other types of complaint.
One type of complaint concerns whistleblowing and this may originate from within AssistKD or from an external party. Whistleblowing is the action of reporting wrongdoing in the workplace. The concern raised must affect others, for example, the general public. Legally this is known as 'making a disclosure in the public interest'.
A complaint is considered to be whistleblowing where it concerns one or more of the following:
- a criminal offence, for example fraud;
- someone’s health and safety is in danger;
- risk or actual damage to the environment;
- a miscarriage of justice;
- the company is breaking the law, for example does not have the right insurance;
- someone is covering up wrongdoing.
A whistleblowing disclosure is addressed and investigated using the complaints process outlined in section 3. An external agency may be consulted or informed if warranted by the situation.
AssistKD strives at all times to treat customers and staff with respect, and to deliver a high standard of service. AssistKD takes all complaints seriously and is committed to investigating all of them in a thorough and transparent way.
The Complaints process is owned ultimately by the CEO and each complaint is investigated by the appropriate Director with responsibility for the area relating to the complaint.
Every complaint is registered in the Complaints Log. The complaints process is as follows:
- A complaint is received by AssistKD (see ‘Definition of Complaint’ above)
- Complaints may be raised by phone (01844 211665) or email (email@example.com)
- Complaint is entered on the Complaints Log
- Complaint is acknowledged within 24 hours of receipt, generally by email.
- The complainant is advised when it is expected that a response will be available. The intended response period is within one week, although some complaints may be more complex and require more time. In this case the complainant is kept up to date on progress and given a date for resolution.
- The complaint is passed to the appropriate Director for investigation.
- The Director reviews any documentation that is relevant to the complaint and interviews other staff as appropriate.
- If the complainant accepts the outcome, the case is closed.
- If the complainant is still not satisfied, or if the complainant decides to register an official appeal, the case is passed to the Managing Director for a final review and decision.
- Any lessons learnt dealing with the complaint and any consequent actions are put into effect as soon as possible.
- Where the complaint comes from an apprentice on the UK Government’s Apprenticeship Programme, they have a right to complain to the EFSA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) if the complainant is not satisfied at the end of the process.
4. How to complain to the ESFA
- The ESFA will only accept complaints in writing, by email or letter.
- If the complainant has difficulties in providing details in writing or if they are under 18, complaints may be made on their behalf by a third party. They will need to confirm that the EFSA can communicate with that third party on their behalf. If the complaint is on behalf of more than one person, the ESFA will need written permission from everyone.
- Complaints should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or sent by letter to:
Customer Service Team
Education and Skills Funding Agency
Coventry CV1 2WT
- The ESFA will acknowledge the complaint within 5 days.
- If the complainant is still not satisfied after the ESFA response, they can write to the ESFA complaints adjudicator to make a final decision on the case.
5. Examination Appeals
- AssistKD organises examinations for customers as part of the training course delivery. An appellant may believe that the examination or examination process was unfair, and may lodge an appeal.
- The examinations may be set and marked by either AssistKD or by an external Examination Authority. Examples of the Examination Authorities include BCS, A4Q and PeopleCert.
- Where an examination is set and run by AssistKD, the appellant’s appeal will be recorded in the Examination Appeals Register, and the appeal will be considered by one of the AssistKD tutors with knowledge of the subject in the appeal.
- If the appellant remains unhappy with this review, a final appeal will be considered by the Examinations Director.
- Where an examination is set and run by an external examination body, the appeal will be sent to the appropriate body for consideration. The communication may then be directly between the appellant and the examination body, or it may be via AssistKD.
- The appellant will be kept up to date with all developments in their appeal.
6. Review of Policy
This policy is reviewed in the following circumstances:
- As part of the regular review of AssistKD policies. This takes place biennially as a minimum.
- In response to legislative or regulatory changes.
- In response to internal or external feedback. Any comments should be forwarded to email@example.com