Complaints Policy and Procedure

Introduction

The MS International Federation (MSIF) 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 organisation) that has made the complaint.

Scope

This policy and procedure applies to MSIF and its work with the global MSIF movement (MSIF, its Member Organisations, its Supporting Organisations and its Corresponding Organisations) and is global in its application. A complaint can be made by any supporter, organisation, community or individual with whom we work, or any member of the public, whether an individual, organisation or other entity, in the UK or anywhere else in the world.

Definition of a Complaint

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of MSIF and its work with the global MSIF movement.

Where Complaints Come From

Complaints may come from any external individual or organisation, including the general public. A complaint can be received in any manner, such as orally, by phone, by email, or an online ‘contact us’ form on any of MSIF’s associated websites or in writing.

This policy does not cover complaints from MSIF staff/volunteers, for which there are separate policies contained in MSIF’s Staff Handbook. Complaints relating to serious incidents such as fraud and corruption or safeguarding concerns will be dealt with through the relevant policy and procedures (for example the Whistleblowing Policy). This policy does not cover contract disputes.

Our Approach to Handling Complaints

  • 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 all members of staff, trustees and volunteers at MSIF know 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 that helps us to improve what we do.

Confidentiality

All information relating to a complaint will be handled sensitively, and will only be shared with those who need to know. All relevant data protection requirements will be followed when handling this information. Any personal data collected in relation to this complaint will only be retained for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements (see MSIF data protection and privacy policies).

 

MSIF’s Complaints Procedure

Publicised Contact Details for Complaints:

Written complaints may be sent to MSIF at: MS International Federation, Skyline House, 200 Union Street

London SE1 0LX United Kingdom or by e-mail at [email protected]

Verbal complaints may be made by phone to +44 (0)20 7620 1911 or in person to any of MSIF’s staff or trustees at the same address as above or at any of our events.

Receiving Complaints

Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have, including social media, ‘contact us’ forms on our websites or staff email addresses.

Complaints received by telephone or in person will be recorded in writing. The person who receives a complaint via the phone or in person should:

  • Record the facts of the complaint, the complainant’s name, email, address and telephone number
  • Note down the relationship of the complainant to MSIF (for example: member organisation, visitor of website, donor, etc.)
  • Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
  • Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take (share this document)
  • 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

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 staff member or trustee should pass the complaint information to MSIF’s Deputy CEO within ten business days.

On receiving the complaint, the Deputy CEO records it in the complaints register. If it has not already been resolved, they delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within ten working days, explaining who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached. Normally complainants should receive a definitive reply within 6 weeks. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

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

Dealing with unresolved Complaints

If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved via the above process, they can request that the complaint is considered for review at CEO and/or Board level.

At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the CEO. The request for CEO review should be acknowledged within ten working days of receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

The CEO may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint initially. The persons who dealt with and recorded the original complaint should be kept informed of what is happening.

Normally complainants should receive a definitive reply within a month. If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should 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 should 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 CEO decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.

Variation of the Complaints Procedure

MSIF may vary the Complaints procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest.

Making a Complaint to an External Body

As MSIF is a UK registered charity, the complainant can complain to the Charity Regulator or Fundraising Regulator at any stage.

It is entirely up to those individual external bodies whether or not they choose to look into a complaint and this will depend on their own criteria and procedures, which vary from regulator to regulator. Generally they will only look into more serious issues. Where they will look into issues, often, though not always, they will expect the complainant to have contacted us first.

The main bodies that regulate MSIF are the UK’s Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Fundraising Regulator.

The Charity Commission can be contacted via an online form on its website. Direct, PO Box 1227, Liverpool, L69 3UG or by email via the Charity Commission website.

Read the Charity Commission’s guidance about complaints.

If your complaint concerns fundraising, you will need to contact the Fundraising Regulator.

Visit the Fundraising Regulator website to find out how they work with other organisations across the UK to regulate fundraising.

Monitoring and Learning from Complaints

Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action and a report is submitted to the board of trustees summarising the complaints received during the year.

Any complaints relating to fundraising are reported to the UK Fundraising regulator on an annual basis.

 

 

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