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Complaints and Allegations Policy

This policy applies to all staff, directors, volunteers and anyone working on behalf of The Together Project.

The purpose of this policy is to give guidelines on:

  • raising concerns or complaints about behaviour by another member of staff/volunteer
  • raising concerns or complaints about behaviour by a service user
  • what will happen if a concern or complaint is raised against you
  • whistleblowing

Everyone who works at The Together Project must accept and understand this Code.

Our Code

The Together Project should always be a welcoming, inclusive and safe organisation to be part of. It is our intention that no one working for us should be subjected to discrimination, inappropriate or unwanted behaviour, bullying, harassment or abuse of any kind whilst carrying out their duties.

We have the same duty of care towards all our service users. By ‘service users’, we mean people taking part in our activities, whether participants (such as care home residents) or facilitators (such as care home staff).

The Together Project strives to be an ethical company that puts the needs of its staff, volunteers and service users first. As a Community Interest Company we are duty-bound to serve our community well, ensuring we always act in the public interest.

We will take any allegations of misconduct extremely seriously.

This policy should be read alongside our policies and procedures on:

  • recruitment, training and support
  • risk management
  • safeguarding
  • code of conduct

Raising concerns or complaints about behaviour by another member of staff/volunteer 

An incident experienced by yourself:

If you have personally experienced any incidents by a fellow staff member/volunteer that you feel go against our Code, please report this to your Manager as soon as possible. You may do this verbally or in writing. Your Manager will fill out a report card and work with you to agree the next steps, depending on the nature of the complaint. You will receive a copy of the report card and next steps plan.

The next steps plan might involve an informal chat between the person you have complained about and their Manager. Or for more serious allegations, it might be disciplinary proceedings or dismissal. These are just two examples of a range of options.

If you would prefer to speak to someone other than your Manager, please contact one of our Board of Directors. Their details can be found in the Volunteer Handbook.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your meeting, or feel the steps taken are insufficient, you should raise a further complaint either with your Manager or one of the Board.

An incident experienced by someone else: 

If you are aware of, or suspect, behaviour by a staff member/volunteer that goes against our Code, please follow the procedure above. This applies to allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards people working for The Together Project and our service users.

We will do all we can to accommodate requests for confidentiality. However, as we must always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our staff/volunteers and service users, this may not always be possible. This will always be discussed with you first.

Raising concerns or complaints about behaviour by a service user

If a service user has behaved in a manner that you feel is unacceptable, please report this as soon as possible. If you are on-site at a care home, let a member of care home staff know so that they can take any necessary steps to reduce further risk for yourself and other people.

Please also report this to your Manager. You may do this verbally or in writing. Your Manager will fill out a report card and work with you to agree the next steps, depending on the nature of the complaint. You will receive a copy of the report card and next steps plan.

Next steps might involve an informal chat with the service user by a member of care home staff or The Together Project staff. Or for more serious allegations, the service user may be prevented from attending future activities run by The Together Project. These are just two examples of a range of options.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your meeting, or feel the steps taken are insufficient, you should raise a further complaint either with your Manager or one of the Board.

What will happen if a concern or complaint is raised against you 

If a concern or complaint is raised against you, the next steps will depend on its nature and severity. In some instances, your Manager will contact you to make you aware of the situation and organise a chat about it where you will have the opportunity to present your side of the story.

If more formal action is required, you will receive both a written notice of the complaint and a request for a meeting to discuss it. You are welcome to request that another member of staff, volunteer or director accompanies you. The outcomes will be agreed at the meeting and a written record provided to all parties. This might include a mediation service, a written warning, a rejection of the complaint or dismissal.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your meeting or wish to appeal, you should raise a further complaint either with your Manager or one of the Board.

Whistleblowing

Whistleblowing is the reporting of certain types of wrongdoing. It applies to matters in the public interest, rather than personal incidents such as bullying, abusive behaviour and so forth.

Complaints that count as whistleblowing include:

  • a criminal offence, e.g. fraud
  • someone’s health and safety is in danger
  • risk or actual damage to the environment
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • the company is breaking the law, e.g. doesn’t have the right insurance
  • you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing

If you are aware of this type of behaviour happening at The Together Project, you should report it to your Manager or a Director, either verbally or in writing. They will discuss your concerns and fill out a report card.

You can inform them anonymously but they may not be able to take the claim further if you haven’t provided all the information they need. You can give your name but request confidentiality – the person you tell will make every effort to protect your identity.  

If you would prefer to speak to someone outside of the organisation, you should contact a ‘prescribed person or body’. Details of what this means and who to contact can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Your Manager, Director or prescribed person/body will decide if any action is needed. You will not have a say in the action that is taken, but The Together Project will aim to keep you informed about the outcome. This may be limited if we have to keep the confidence of other people. 

We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually. This policy was last reviewed on 22nd February 2018 by Louise Goulden.