Complaints Policy and Procedures

April 2022


Intended audience
Amendments to the document
Approval and sign-off
Services within scope
Purpose of document
Complaints Procedure
Monitoring and Learning
Key contacts
Abbreviations & terms/definitions

Intended audience

This document is intended to be used by:

  • The 3H Foundation trustees
  • The 3H Foundation managers
  • The 3H Foundation employees
  • The 3H Foundation volunteers

Other key stakeholders include:

  • The Charity Commission
  • The Fundraising Regulator
  • The beneficiaries of the services provided by The 3H Foundation

    Amendments to the document

    This document will be reviewed on a 3 yearly basis by The 3H Foundation to ensure continual compliance with current legislation and standards and for observing relevant Codes of Practice to measure service performance and to identify any areas for potential improvement, unless requested as part of, or pre-requisite to, any Service Improvement Plan (SIP)

    Approval and sign-off

    This section identifies who within The 3H Foundation has approved this document contents and commits on behalf of each party to the working practices and support levels contained therein. This document covers the provision of the The 3H Foundation Group Holiday Programme, Grant Programme, TeensPLUS Programme and Carer Support Programme.

    By signing this document, the trustees nominated agree to commit to the responsibilities identified in this document. The document can be signed with an electronic signature or by typing in the names of the Chair and Deputy Chair as long as accompanied by an email confirming approval of the policy. The emails relating to the approval will be held in the office along with the electronic signatures. The date of approval should be included in the Approval box on the Document Control Sheet and should be the date when both approvals have been received.


    On behalf of The 3H Foundation 

    Signed by: Stephen Clark

    Name & position in organisation

    Stephen Clark – Chair of Trustees

    Signed by:
    Ed Landridge

    Name & position in organisation

    Ed Langridge – Deputy Chair of Trustees



    The scope of this document is in the context of The 3H Foundation complying with the requirements of its regulatory bodies in relation to the services it provides as follows:

    • The 3H Foundation Governance Strategy
    • The 3H Foundation Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM)
    • The 3H Foundation Change Management
    • The 3H Foundation Continuous Service Improvement

      Services within scope

      • The 3H Foundation Grant Programme
      • The 3H Foundation Grant Programme
      • The 3H Foundation TeensPLUS Programme
      • The 3H Foundation Carer Support Programme

      Purpose of document

      The 3H Foundation (referred to as 3H in this document) 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.

      Our Policy is:

      • 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 everyone at 3H knows 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 the complaints are, wherever possible resolved and that relationships are repaired.
      • To gather information which helps us to improve what we do.


      Definition of a complaint

      A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of 3H work including fundraising, marketing, and all of our programmes.

      Where complaints come from

      Complaints may come from any beneficiaries, volunteers or organisations who have a legitimate interest in 3H including the general public if something is perceived to be improper. A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing. This policy does not cover complaints from staff, who should refer to 3H internal policy on such matters.


      All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.


      Overall accountability for this policy lies with the 3H Board of Trustees.


      In relation to receiving and acting on complaints all staff and trustees have a responsibility to:

      • Be aware of how to respond to a complaint being made.
      • Be aware of this Complaints policy and procedures.
      • Co-operate in the investigation of any complaint

      In addition, the Charity Manager, supported by the trustees, will have responsibility for:

      • Ensuring all complaints follow the correct standards and stages as covered in this policy.
      • Provide relevant training for staff and volunteers in complaint handling.
      • Report any regulatory complaints to the relevant regulator if appropriate.

      Any complaint that involves or may involve a safeguarding issue must follow the guidelines set out in the Safeguarding Policy.

      Complaints Procedure

      Written complaints may be sent to The 3H Foundation, Unit B2 Speldhurst Business Park, Langton Road, Speldhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 0AQ. Or by email to Verbal complaints may be made by phone to 01892 860207 or in person to any of 3H 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, such as social media.

      Complaints received verbally need to be recorded. The person receiving the complaint should:

      • Write down the facts of the complaint
      • Take the complainant’s name address and contact number.
      • Note down the relationship of the complainant to 3H e.g., donor, beneficiary, volunteer.
      • Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure, and will give them a copy of this document.
      • Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take.
      • Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainants’ own words.

      Resolving Complaints

      Stage One (informal)

      In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the first point of contact or 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.  All complaints, whether resolved or not, should be passed to the charity manager and the trustees informed.

      Stage Two (Formal)

      If the charity manager receives a complaint that has not been resolved, they investigate it and take appropriate action. Or they can delegate this to an appropriate person. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond. If the complaint is about the charity manager, then it should be handled by a trustee. If the complaint is about a trustee, then the charity manager and a trustee, not subject to the complaint should jointly handle it.

      The aim of the investigation is to provide as full understanding of the situation as possible and then to take appropriate action without delay to resolve the matter.

      Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within five working days. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when they should expect a reply. A copy of this complaint’s procedure should be attached. Ideally complaints should receive a definitive reply within one month.  If this is not possible, 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 conclusion from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

      Stage Three (Review)

      If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at stage one, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at board level. At this stage the complainant will be advised that they can submit further evidence to support their view.

      At this stage the complaint will be passed to the Board of Trustees. The request for board level review should be acknowledged within five working days. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.

      The Board will investigate the facts of the case themselves or can delegate to the Charity Manager should they have not been involved. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at stage one. The person who did deal with the complaint at stage one should be kept informed of what is happening.

      If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond. Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within a month. If this is not possible, 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 Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution. Should the complaint that is being reviewed be concerning a trustees then an external source or organisation should be used.

      The board may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about a Chair or trustee should not also have the Chair and/or trustee involved as a person leading stage two.

      External Stage

      As The 3H Foundation is a registered charity, the complainant can complain to the Charity Commission for serious complaints after the above stages. Information about the kind of complaints that they can get involved in can be found on their website

      Alternatively if the complaint is regarding fundraising you can contact the Fundraising Regulator or if it is concerning advertising then the Advertising standards Authority

      3H will be cooperative with any independent review or process.

      Monitoring and Learning

      Complaints will be monitored over time to identify any trends, similarities and areas of risk which may indicate a need to take further action. This will be the responsibility of the charity manager and the trustees

      A definition of terms is provided below.

      Key contacts

      The 3H Foundation

      Name Role Tel No E-mail
      Corina Rumsey Policy Owner
      /Charity Manager
      01892 860207
      Corina Rumsey Charity Manager 01892 860207

      Abbreviations & terms/definitions

      Acronym or Term Definition
      SIP Service Improvement Plan
      RFC Request For Change
      SACM Service Asset and Configuration Management