Concerns and Complaints Procedure
Review date: April 2017
Scope of the Procedure
This procedure sets out the way in which concerns and complaints not covered by any statutory or regulatory procedure will be dealt with by ATE. It aims to provide a transparent and fair process whereby parents, carers, a child, ATE staff or other persons can express any concerns they may have, and if necessary make a formal complaint.
Staff grievances or disciplinary procedures do not fall within the remit of this complaints procedure. If a complaint is an allegation against a member of staff, this will be considered under ATE’s disciplinary procedure for employees.
Framework of Principles
This procedure is based on the following principles which are common to any effective complaints procedure. Its aims are to:
- encourage resolution of problems by informal means wherever possible;
- be easily accessible and publicised;
- be simple to understand and use;
- be impartial;
- be non-adversarial;
- allow swift handling with established time-limits for action and keeping people informed of the progress;
- ensure a full and fair investigation by an independent person where necessary;
- respect people’s desire for confidentiality;
- address all the points at issue and provide an effective response and appropriate redress, where necessary;
- provide information to the ATE senior managers so that improvements can be made if appropriate.
At each stage, the person investigating the complaint will endeavour to:
- establish what has happened so far, and who has been involved;
- clarify the nature of the complaint and what remains unresolved;
- meet with the complainant or contact them (if unsure or further information is necessary);
- clarify what the complainant feels would put things right;
- interview those involved in the matter and/or those complained of, allowing them to be accompanied if they wish;
- conduct the interview with an open mind and be prepared to persist in the questioning;
- keep notes of the interview.
At each stage in the procedure ATE will aim to keep in mind ways in which a complaint can be resolved, and if appropriate, it will acknowledge that the complaint is valid in whole or in part. In addition, it may also, if appropriate, offer one or more of the following:
- an apology;
- an explanation;
- an admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better;
- an assurance that steps have been taken to ensure the event complained of will not recur;
- an explanation of the steps that have been taken to ensure that it will not happen again;
- an undertaking to review ATE’s policies in light of the complaint.
Those raising concerns are encouraged to state what actions they feel might resolve the problem at any stage. Any acceptance by ATE that a situation could have been handled better does not amount to an admission of negligence.
This procedure will assist in identifying areas of agreement between the complainant and ATE. It should clarify any misunderstandings that have occurred, and thereby create a positive atmosphere in which to discuss any outstanding issues.
ATE’s Complaints Procedure
A record is kept of all concerns and complaints received and the action taken. A note of any meetings with complainants, and the matters discussed, will also be made and distributed to those involved.
Preliminary Stage – Informal Complaints
Any problem or concern should initially be raised promptly with the ATE office or, Superweek Director. Most complaints can be resolved satisfactorily at this informal stage.
Subsequent Stages – Formal Complaints
Stage 1: Contact the Training and Development Director responsible for Quality Assurance (Joe Shimwell) at ATE Headquarters
If you are dissatisfied with the initial response from ATE staff in regard to your complaint you should write to or email the TaD Director at the ATE Office, 8 St. Ann’s Road, Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 4RG. Email: email@example.com.
At this point you should
- make it clear that you wish the matter to be dealt with as a complaint
- outline the precise nature of the complaint and
- give an indication of what you would like done to resolve the matter
This correspondence will be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt. The Training and Development Director will investigate the complaint and provide a written response. This will normally be within 10 working days of receipt of your correspondence, but you will be kept informed if, for example, more time is needed to complete the investigation.
If your original concern was about an action by a Training and Development Director personally, and you have already discussed it at the informal stage, then you should put your complaint in writing to the Chair of Governors (stage 2).
Stage 2: Chair of Governors
If you are not satisfied with the response received from the Training and Development Director, you may contact the Chair of Governing Council.
The Chair will investigate your complaint and, in most cases, seek to resolve the matter through discussion with yourself and the Director of Training. At the end of this stage the Chair will provide you with a written response. This will normally be within a further 10 working days, but you will be kept informed if more time is needed.
Stage 3: Review by Governing Body Complaints Appeal Panel
For most complaints the Chair’s investigation of the complaint and response to the complainant will be the last step in the procedure, but all such complaints will be reported to, and discussed by the Governing Council at their next meeting. The findings of this group can result in modifications to ATE Training Courses, and to the instructions to the Directors of future Superweeks. If a complainant is not fully satisfied with the response from the Chair of the Governing Council, then a further representation can be made to that meeting, and a request made to view a report of the relevant part of the minutes of that meeting.
A Training and Development Director; a senior member of ATE administrative staff who has responsibility for quality assurance of training courses, and of Superweeks. This person, will be ‘on duty’ throughout the time that Superweeks are in progress.
Chairman of Governing Council; the activities of ATE as a charitable Trust are overseen by a Governing Council which meets on three occasions each year.
Superweek Director; the person who actually leads a Superweek. These people are experienced professionals, many of whom are teachers, who give up a week of their time to lead a Superweek. They have trained with ATE and have previously worked as Monitors and as Assistant Directors.