Policies & Proceedures

Complaints Policy

Who can make a complaint?

This complaints procedure is not limited to parents or carers of children that take part in activities with VIP. Any person, including members of the public, may make a complaint about any provision of facilities or services that we provide. Unless complaints are dealt with under separate statutory procedures, we will use this complaints procedure.

The difference between a concern and a complaint

A concern may be defined as ‘an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important for which reassurances are sought’.

A complaint may be defined as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action’.

It is in everyone’s interest that concerns, and complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage. Many issues can be resolved informally, without the need to use the formal stages of the complaints procedure. VIP takes concerns seriously and will make every effort to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

If you have difficulty discussing a concern with a particular member of staff, we will respect your views. In these cases, we will refer you to another staff member. Similarly, if the member of staff directly involved feels unable to deal with a concern, he/she will refer you to another staff member. The member of staff may be more senior but does not have to be. The ability to consider the concern objectively and impartially is more important.

We understand however, that there are occasions when people would like to raise their concerns formally. In this case, VIP will attempt to resolve the issue internally, through the stages outlined within this complaints procedure. 

How to raise a concern or make a complaint

A concern or complaint can be made in person, in writing or by telephone. They may also be made by a third party acting on behalf on a complainant, if they have appropriate consent to do so.

Concerns should be raised with any member of staff. If the issue remains unresolved, the next step is to make a formal complaint.

Complaints against VIP staff should be made in the first instance, to Mr Peter Hogg, Designated Safeguarding Lead. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.

Anonymous complaints

We will not normally investigate anonymous complaints. However, the Director will determine whether the complaint warrants an investigation.

Time scales

You must raise the complaint within three months of the incident or, where a series of associated incidents have occurred, within three months of the last of these incidents. We will consider complaints made outside of this time frame if exceptional circumstances apply.

Scope of this complaints procedure

This procedure covers all complaints about any provision of activities or services by VIP, other than complaints that are dealt with under other statutory procedures.

If other bodies are investigating aspects of the complaint, for example the police, local authority (LA) safeguarding teams or Tribunals, this may impact on our ability to adhere to the timescales within this procedure or result in the procedure being suspended until those public bodies have completed their investigations.

Resolving complaints

At each stage in the procedure, VIP wants to resolve the complaint. If appropriate, we will acknowledge that the complaint is upheld in whole or in part. In addition, we may offer one or more of the following:

  • an explanation
  • an admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better 
  • an assurance that we will try to ensure the event complained of will not recur
  • an explanation of the steps that have been or will be taken to help ensure that it will not happen again and an indication of the timescales within which any changes will be made
  • an undertaking to review our policies in light of the complaint
  • an apology.

Withdrawal of a Complaint

Stage 1

Formal complaints must be made to Mr Peter Hogg. This may be done in person, in writing (preferably on the Complaint Form), or by telephone.

He will record the date the complaint is received and will acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing (either by letter or email) within five working days.

Within this response, he will seek to clarify the nature of the complaint, ask what remains unresolved and what outcome the complainant would like to see. Mr Hogg can consider whether a face to face meeting is the most appropriate way of doing this.

During the investigation, he will:

  • if necessary, interview those involved in the matter and/or those complained of, allowing them to be accompanied if they wish
  • keep a written record of any meetings/interviews in relation to their investigation.

At the conclusion of the investigation, there will be a formal written response within fifteen working days of the date of receipt of the complaint. 

If unable to meet this deadline, the complainant will be provided with an update and revised response date.

The response will detail any actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide a full explanation of the decision made and the reason(s) for it. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions VIP  will take to resolve the complaint.

The complainant will be advised of how to escalate their complaint should they remain dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 1.

Stage 2 

  • If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage 1 and wishes to take the matter further, they can escalate the complaint to Stage 2 – a meeting with The Director or his appointed representative. This is the final stage of the complaints procedure.
  • A request to escalate to Stage 2 must be made to the Director within five working days of receipt of the Stage 1 response.
  • The Director will record the date the complaint is received and acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing (either by letter or email) within five working days.
  • Requests received outside of this time frame will only be considered if exceptional circumstances apply.
  • The Director will write to the complainant to inform them of the date of the meeting. He will aim to convene a meeting within fifteen working days of receipt of the Stage 2 request. If this is not possible, the Director will provide an anticipated date and keep the complainant informed. 
  • If the complainant rejects the offer of three proposed dates, without good reason, the Director will decide when to hold the meeting. It will then proceed in the complainant’s absence on the basis of written submissions from both parties.
  • The complaints committee will consist of the Director and Senior Leaders plus a member of our HR team.
  • The committee will decide whether to deal with the complaint by inviting parties to a meeting or through written representations, but in making their decision they will be sensitive to the complainant’s needs. 
  • If the complainant is invited to attend the meeting, they may bring someone along to provide support. This can be a relative or friend. Generally, we do not encourage either party to bring legal representatives to the committee meeting. However, there may be occasions when legal representation is appropriate. 
  • Note: Complaints about staff conduct will not generally be handled under this complaints procedure. Complainants will be advised that any staff conduct complaints will be considered under staff disciplinary procedures, if appropriate, but outcomes will not be shared with them. 
  • Representatives from the media are not permitted to attend.
  • Any written material will be circulated to all parties at least two working days before the date of the meeting. The committee will not accept, as evidence, recordings of conversations that were obtained covertly and without the informed consent of all parties being recorded. 
  • The committee will also not review any new complaints at this stage or consider evidence unrelated to the initial complaint to be included. New complaints must be dealt with from Stage 1 of the procedure.
  • The meeting will be held in private. Electronic recordings of meetings or conversations are not permitted unless a complainant’s own disability or special needs require it. Prior knowledge and consent of all parties attending must be sought before meetings or conversations take place. Consent will be recorded in any minutes taken.

The committee will consider the complaint and all the evidence presented. The committee can:

  • uphold the complaint in whole or in part
  • dismiss the complaint in whole or in part.

If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the committee will:

  • decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint
  • where appropriate, recommend changes to the company’s systems or procedures to prevent similar issues in the future.

The Chair of the Committee will provide the complainant and VIP with a full explanation of their decision and the reason(s) for it, in writing, within five working days.

The response will detail any actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide a full explanation of the decision made and the reason(s) for it. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions VIP will take to resolve the complaint.

Further Information

NSPCC Helpline
0808 800 5000

CPSU (Child Protection in Sport Unit)

0800 1111


Anti-Bullying Alliance

This policy should be reviewed and updated annually

This policy was last reviewed
September 2021

Date of next review
August 2022

Named Safeguarding Officer
Peter Hogg

Contact information
07710 392386

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