Haringey Phoenix Group

Winkfield Centre

33 Winkfield Road

Wood Green

London N22 5RP

Tel: 0208 889 7070

Haringey Phoenix Group
Haringey Phoenix Group

HPG Complaints Procedure


This policy sets out the procedures we will follow when we receive a complaint about any aspect of our services from users of the service, carers or third parties. It does not address complaints by staff or volunteers - these will be dealt with through grievance and disciplinary procedures.

We want to know if anyone is dissatisfied with any aspect of our service. This will enable us not only to deal with the specific problem, but will also help us to improve our standards.

All complaints will be treated seriously and dealt with as soon as possible. A complaint will be dealt with in an impartial and objective way.

We will discover the facts, solicit opinions, and look for different ways to resolve the matter. Complaints will be dealt with confidentially, and only those who have a need to know will be informed about the complaint or the investigation.

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the decision or the procedures, they will be informed of their right to appeal, the appeals procedure will be explained and if required the complaint will then be taken through this process.

If there is evidence that a criminal offence may have been committed, the police may need to be informed.

Step One: Dealing with complaints informally

Anyone who feels dissatisfied with any aspect of our service should, if possible, raise the matter in the first instance with the appropriate member of staff. If this is difficult or inappropriate, then speak to the manager. It may be that the member of staff or the manager can take immediate action to respond to the complaint and if necessary to apologise.

Often we will be able to give you a response straight away. When the matter is more complicated, we will be able to give you a response within 5 days.

Step Two: Making a formal complaint

If a complainant feels that:

they should inform the Manager that they wish to make a formal complaint. If the complaint is about the Manager, the complainant should inform the Chair of the Management Committee that they wish to make a formal complaint. If the complaint is about our fundraising activities it should be submitted to David Fuller, Fundraising Complaints Co-ordinator. It will then be assessed and investigated in accordance with the Fundraising Whistleblowing Policy that follows.

You can make your complaint by telephone on 020 8889 7070, email at haringeyphoenixgroup@yahoo.co.uk, fax on 020 8881 7235 or you can write to the following address:
Haringey Phoenix Group
Winkfield Resource Centre
33 Winkfield Road
N22 5RP

Recording and Investigating a Complaint

The person dealing with the complaint (either the Manager or the Chair) will interview the complainant and will either set down the details in writing or provide the complainant with a form for them to fill in themselves.

The complainant may choose to work with a third party at this stage and throughout the process.

The record of the complaint must be signed by the complainant, and the complainant will be provided with a copy of this record in a format appropriate to their disability, together with a written acknowledgement that the complaint is being processed and an outline of the time-scale for responding.

The Manager or the Chair will investigate the matter, interviewing any appropriate staff. If it is necessary to interview anyone else, the complainant's permission will be sought.

The investigation will be completed within 14 days unless there are exceptional circumstances, which will be explained to the complainant.

The Manager or the Chair will reply in writing or the format required by the complainant within 5 days of completing the investigation with his/her findings.

If the complainant is satisfied, they will then be asked to sign a copy of the report of the investigation and the action taken.

Step Three: Appeals

If a complainant is not satisfied with the investigation of their complaint or the action taken, they will be informed of their right to pursue the matter with the Management Committee. The Management Committee will appoint 2 of its members to act as the Complaints Panel.

The Complaints Panel will review the decision made at Step Two, and may seek further clarification from any of the parties involved. They will ensure that records of meetings are kept.

The Complaints Panel will notify the complainant of its decision and reasons within 14 days of having received notice of the complaint. The Complaints Panel's decision will be final.

Step Four: Contacting an external agency

Haringey Phoenix Group is funded by Haringey Council. If your complaint cannot be resolved within HPG you can contact:

Mr Sebastian Dacre
Commissioning Officer
Haringey Council
4th Floor
River Park House
225 High Road
N22 8HQ

If your complaint is about our fundraising activities, it must be made within 90 days of the fundraising incident or communication of which the complaint is made. If we are unable to resolve it to your satisfaction, you can ask the Fundraising Regulator, the independent regulator of charitable fundraising in the UK, to consider it by:

Haringey Phoenix Group is a member of the Fundraising Regulator and we agree to abide by its decisions. Please note that the Fundraising Regulator can only consider complaints received within two months of the final response of the Haringey Phoenix Group.

The Fundraising Regulator will advise you within four weeks of receiving it whether they will proceed with your complaint. Once all the evidence has been obtained and the complaint investigated, a final decision will be made, a summary of which will be published on the Fundraising Regulator's website. The Fundraising Regulator aims to complete investigations within 13 weeks of receiving the complaint.

The Fundraising Regulator's decision is final and there is no process of appeal. It is, however, open to the parties to seek an external review of their decision under limited criteria. The full procedure for requesting an external review can be found in the Fundraising Regulator's complaints policy on their website.

Fundraising Whistleblowing Policy

For the scope of this Policy, 'whistleblowing' is defined as;
"The reporting of any suspected malpractice, wrongdoing or dangers in relation to HPG's financial or fundraising activities." It is protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) 1998.

These may relate to:
1. Criminal offences;
2. Breach of any legal or professional obligation;
3. A miscarriage of justice
4. Breach of the Fundraising Code of Practice; or
5. Deliberately concealing any of the above.

A concern can be raised by telephone, in person, or in writing (including email). It is preferable if it is made in writing. Although the individual is not expected to prove the truth of their concern beyond doubt or provide evidence, the individual will generally need to provide the following as a minimum:
The nature of the concern and why the individual believes it is happening; and the background and history of the concern (where possible).
When a concern of suspected malpractice is reported, initial enquiries should be made to resolve the issue internally where possible. If this is not possible, then procedure for disclosing information incorporates three stages.
At each stage of the process, all parties will ensure that the matter remains strictly confidential.
In raising a concern, persons must act in good faith and believe that what is being alleged is likely to result in the outcomes 1-4 described above.

The three stages in the process of investigating a concern are:
Stage 1 - Initial investigation
A person wishing to raise an issue should take this up either orally or in writing with the Fundraising Co-ordinator.
If the Fundraising Co-ordinator is the person against whom the disclosure is made, the person may go immediately to Stage 2.
The staff member should investigate with the informant and document the facts surrounding the allegation. It should be made clear from the outset that the matter will be dealt with in confidence and that the informant will not suffer any detriment as a result of the disclosure being made. The investigation should be initiated within 5 working days and completed as soon as possible to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.

Stage 2 - If the issues are not investigated at Stage 1, or the matter is too serious or sensitive, the person may request that the matter be raised with the Manager of HPG.

Where the person deems the matter to be exceptionally serious, or sensitive they should go immediately to the Manager or Chair of Trustees.

Stage 3 - On completion of the investigation, consideration should be given to the next appropriate course of action. The trustees should be contacted to consider the case in full and to decide on further action in line with other relevant good practice and policies.

Where there is a case to answer in relation to the disclosure, 'further action' may include disciplinary proceedings for one or more parties involved in the matter disclosed. This should be dealt with in line with the Disciplinary Procedure (in the case of staff and volunteers). The rights of the person who has raised concerns should be respected and those concerns treated confidentially and their identity should remain protected where possible.

The person who has raised concerns will be informed, where possible, of what action has been taken and how the matter has been dealt with.

The Manager and Chair will be informed of all matters in relation to 'the concerns raised' and any course of action decided upon.

If the individual believes that the appropriate action has not been taken then they should report the matter to the proper authority i.e. Charity Commission.

There are other possible avenues of disclosure:
Persons may also refer concerns to either the Treasurer or the Accountant, details are listed with Charity Commission or available on request.

If for whatever reason, the person who has a concern, which they do not feel has been adequately dealt with hitherto internally, the law recognises that it may be appropriate for them to raise the matter with another prescribed person outside of HPG, such as a regulator or professional body.

A list of the relevant prescribed people and bodies for this purpose GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blowing-the-whistle-list-of-prescribed-people-and-bodies--2/whistleblowing-list-of-prescribed-people-and-bodies. If you have a concern regarding any of the HPG's fundraising practices which cannot be considered internally, you can contact the Fundraising Regulator https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/make-a-complaint/complaints/. Note that if you do so, you will be asked whether or not you are happy for your details to be shared with the HPG.

However, to ensure the protection of all our volunteers and staff, should the individual go outside of the internal procedure without reasonable justification or raise a concern frivolously, maliciously and/or for personal gain and/or make an allegation they do not reasonably believe to be true and/or made in the public interest, HPG may resort to disciplinary action under its Disciplinary Procedures. This may also be the case where the internal disclosure proves to be unfounded and not made in good faith.

HPG strongly encourages any individual to seek appropriate advice before raising a concern to anyone external.

HPG is committed to good practice and high standards and to being supportive to anyone who raises genuine concerns under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.

Any individual raising a genuine concern must not suffer any detriment as a result of doing so. If an individual believes they have suffered such treatment, they should inform the Chair or the Manager immediately.

No volunteer or member of staff must threaten or retaliate against an individual who has raised a concern and HPG will not tolerate any such harassment or victimisation. Any person involved in such conduct may be subject to disciplinary action.

What happens if you do not follow this Policy. If HPG is not made aware of any suspected wrongdoing in its fundraising practices, and such wrongdoing is subsequently proven, HPG is at risk of public censure by the Fundraising Regulator or the Charity Commission. This will damage HPG's reputation.

If this Policy is not followed in relation to any concern raised, there is a risk that any investigation into the matter is compromised.

Queries and comments If you have any queries regarding how this Policy works in practice, or comments or suggestions as to how it could be improved, please contact HPG's Manager.