Date: August 2020

Review Date: July 2022


This Policy is intended for:


Service Users, Members of the Public and Organisations who use Children First Derby’s services.


Children First Derby always aims to work in the best interests of the service users and members of the public who access our organisation. To help us do this we have set up a system for dealing with any complaints or problems you may have with our services.  Complaints from service users can be an important way for us to learn that our services, working practice or activities need to be improved.  We also are aware that no matter how good our practices are, sometimes things can go wrong.  The Complaints Procedure should allow you to complain, confidentially, with the minimum of difficulty and with trust that we will respond constructively.


This policy is for anyone, other than paid or voluntary staff (the Grievance Procedure should be used in this instance), to make a complaint about the service or lack of it, the building, other Service Users, visitors, staff, volunteers, Trustees or any other aspect of Children First Derby.  This includes:


·       Poor service

·       Discrimination

·       Failure to provide accurate information

·       Unreasonable delays in responding to enquiries or requests for appointments

·       Failure of confidentiality. 


The Procedure for making a complaint is as follows:

(If the complaint is about a member of staff or volunteer please see below)


Stage 1 – Informal stage


If you have a complaint you can have an informal discussion with a member of staff or a Trustee of Children First who will try to resolve the issue with you.


You can miss this stage if you want to, and make a formal complaint straight away.

Stage 2 – Formal complaint


Your complaint should be made to the Chief Executive or, if the complaint is about the Chief Executive, to the Chair of Children First’s Board of Trustees.  It will be acknowledged in writing within 5 working days you will also be sent a copy of the Complaints Policy and Procedure.  The Chief Executive/Chair of the Board will look into your complaint and respond in writing within 10 working days outlining how your complaint was investigated and explaining any outcomes. 


If you are not happy with the outcome then go on to Stage 3.

Stage 3 – Further investigation of the complaint


If you are unhappy with the outcome of the investigation you can request that your complaint is taken to Stage 3 in the procedure. Upon receipt of this request the Board of Trustees will choose a small group of its members (ideally 3) who will meet with you to investigate your complaint further. The members may ask other service users or members of staff for information about your complaint. Whilst investigating your complaint the group members will not discuss the investigation with other members of the Board.  We expect this process to be completed within 15 working days and a letter will be sent to you to explain the decision.


If you are not happy with this outcome go on to Stage 4.

Stage 4 – Your right to appeal to the Board of Trustees


If you appeal against this decision the Board will convene a group made up of different members who will investigate and report on the complaint within 15 working days.  This decision on the matter is the final decision from Children First Derby.

Stage 5 – Your right to appeal to an External Adjudicator


However, if you are not happy with the outcome from stage 4 you can take it to an External Adjudicator.  Efforts will be made to find an Adjudicator who is agreeable to both sides.  Possible external sources include the Council for Racial Equality, Derby City Council and the Law Centre.


Please try to make complaints within three months of the occurrence.

Complaints Concerning Staff

Staff includes those who are paid, as well as volunteers, contractors and Trustees.  The same procedure will be followed, including time scales, as above except:

  • Initially the Chief Executive will deal with any complaint about an employee, volunteer or contractor.  If it cannot be resolved at this stage it should be referred to the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
  • The Chair will deal with any complaint about the Chief Executive from the outset.
  • Any complaint concerning a Trustee will be dealt with by a sub group of the Board  and an Independent Adjudicator.
  • The person who is the subject of a formal complaint should receive written notice about this at the initial investigation stage, to be given the opportunity to put their point of view on the complaint, and receive written notice of the outcome as soon as it has been reached.
  • Employees and volunteers have the right to ask for advice and representation from their union representative, an advocate or a friend.
  • If the person who is the subject of the complaint is unhappy with the handling or outcome of the first stage of the procedure they may request a review.


Complaints and the Law


Where the nature of the complaint is such that it is covered by legislation, Children First Derby will work within the relevant law, and where there is a conflict between the two, the requirements of the legislation will take precedence over Children First Derby’s Complaints Policy.

If you wish to make a complaint, you should be aware that there may be other means of redress available to you, such as civil proceedings or an appeal to a regulatory body. However, if you choose to seek redress through one of these alternative methods, Children First Derby reserves the right to stop dealing with your complaint through its own complaints procedures.

Children First Derby reserves the right not to respond to a complaint if the complainant has also chosen to commence legal proceedings.


Children First Derby will ensure that complaints are dealt with in a confidential manner and that the complainant will not be disadvantaged from using the services as a result of having complained.  If the complaint is about an individual or group of individuals the identity of those persons will be kept confidential and only given to those investigating the complaint.  The facts of a complaint may however be reported to a relevant committee including the Board of Trustees.


During the investigation of a complaint it may be necessary to speak to other individuals who were witnesses to events.  It should be made clear to any such persons that they are bound by confidentiality regarding the whole matter.  In circumstances where confidentiality cannot be maintained, the limits of confidentiality will be explained at the beginning of the process.


Complaints and Equal Opportunities

Children First Derby recognises that some individuals or groups may have particular needs in order to be able se the complaints system.  Care will be taken to fulfil any reasonable requirements that may be necessary in order to enable someone to make the complaint.  Examples include:

  • People whose first language is not English may require an interpreter. 

Children First Derby will try to provide an interpreter but if one is not available the complainant should be encouraged to bring a friend or relative to interpret if appropriate

  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing may need a sign language interpreter, good lighting and clear speech to lip read, an induction loop or use of Typetalk telephone service
  • Blind or visually impaired people may be able to be provided with a pre- recorded tape of the Complaints procedure and a friend or a support worker will be given the Complaints procedure in writing to convey to the complainant
  • Lesbians, gay men, bisexual or trans-gendered people will be assured that a complaint about homophobic incidents or remarks are treated sensitively, taken seriously, the complaint is confidential and the persons sexuality will not be raised unless they request it should be
  • People with mental health problems or learning difficulties will be assured of being taken seriously and given adequate support to bring a complaint.  An advocate would be welcomed and if required sought for the individual
  • People with HIV/AIDS or hepatitis will be assured of confidentiality regarding their status
  • People of varying religions or cultures will be assured that any particular needs they may have regarding these will be taken into account if at all possible


Recording Complaints and Reviewing


  • Complaints may be made verbally or in writing by the complainant or by an advocate. If someone wishes to make a verbal compliant they should always be referred to the Chief Executive to ensure confidentiality is paramount.
  • Help will be available for people to write their complaint and understand the procedure
  • All complaints, the response and the outcome will be recorded.  The Chief Executive will keep records of all complaints and will review these annually. 
  • Any subsequent changes to policy, procedure or services will be recorded
  • This policy will be reviewed every two years
  • The Board will receive feedback on all complaints and any outcomes at the next Board meeting after an investigation.





  • Children First welcomes positive comments/feedback from families using its services, referrers or organisations it is completing work for.
  • Children First will provide evaluation forms for both adults and children to complete whilst they are using or when they are about to finish using the services.
  • If, and when it is required, a member of staff from Children First will help an adult or a child complete a service user evaluation form.
  • Children First will acknowledge any positive comments/ feedback by way of a letter or a telephone call.
  • Children First will make its staff aware of positive comments/feedback relating to them as individuals or the service in general.

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