1. Introduction and Overview
1.1 DMR Training and Consultancy Ltd (DMR) is committed to providing the highest level of service and training to all learners, employers, lead training providers and other customers.
1.2 This Complaints Policy and Procedure will apply in all circumstances where an applicant, learner, employer or other customer wishes to complain about the service they have received from DMR or the behaviour of any individual associated with DMR. Complaints may be about training and assessment delivery or support functions and services.
1.3 DMR will respond to all complaints promptly, vigorously and fairly.
1.4 DMR will: –
1.4.1 Acknowledge the formal complaint in writing.
1.4.2 Respond within a stated period of time.
1.4.3 Deal reasonably and sensitively with the complaint.
1.4.4 Take action where appropriate.
1.4.5 Monitor complaints and use them to improve the service provided.
1.5 Less serious complaints will be investigated and concluded within 5 working days. More serious complaints are likely to require a more detailed investigation and reporting process and will be concluded within 20 working days.
1.6 Where a complaint involves the alleged misconduct of a member of staff or learner then the investigation process may also lead to separate action under DMR’s staff or learner disciplinary procedures.
1.7 Where any of DMR’s services fall short of acceptable standards, DMR will endeavour to rectify the failing and remove any resulting disadvantage experienced by the complainant. DMR will monitor complaints and use the outcomes from complaint investigations to improve the quality of its services wherever possible.
1.8 This Policy and Procedure does not cover complaints which relate to assessment appeals, bullying, harassment or staff grievances. These complaints are dealt with under separate procedures.
2.1 The Operations Manager will usually investigate and monitor all complaints and will agree any necessary action to resolve a complaint. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Operations Manager may delegate this responsibility to another senior member of staff to act as an Investigating Officer
3. Notification of the Complaint Procedure
3.1 DMR will publicise the Complaints Policy and Procedure on its website, within reception areas, on noticeboards etc. This document can be accessed at https://dmr-training.co.uk/contact-us/complaints-policy-procedure/
4. Making a Complaint
4.1 Anyone who receives, requests or is affected by DMR’s services can make a complaint.
4.2 A complaint may be received in person, in writing or in any electronic format. Complaints should state what has gone wrong and what the complainant would like to happen to put it right.
4.3 Examples of potential complaints are as follows: –
4.3.1 A service that should have been provided has not been provided.
4.3.2 A service has not been provided to an appropriate standard.
4.3.3 A request for a service has not been answered or actioned.
4.3.4 A member of staff was rude or unhelpful.
4.3.5 A member of staff was late or failed to attend a scheduled appointment.
4.3.6 A policy or procedure has not been adhered to.
4.3.7 Training delivery or teaching approaches are not providing a good learning experience.
4.3.8 A training programme’s content does not meet a learner’s needs.
4.4 DMR will need to be provided with all the relevant details so that the complaint and the need for any further proceedings can be fully investigated.
4.5 Sometimes a customer may be unable or reluctant to make a complaint on their own. DMR will accept complaints brought by third parties as long as the customer concerned has given their personal consent. In some instances, complaints may be made with the help of an advocacy agency. DMR will support the use of advocacy agencies where the complainant finds it difficult to make a complaint on their own behalf.
4.6 DMR will consider investigating an anonymous complaint if it gives enough information for DMR to make sufficient further enquiries. If an anonymous complaint contains serious allegations, then it must be referred to the Managing Director immediately.
4.7 If DMR investigates an anonymous complaint, the issues will still be recorded to ensure the completeness of the complaints data and to allow corrective action to be implemented, where required.
5. Handling a Complaint
5.1 Any member of staff may be faced with a complaint from an apprentice, learner, employer or other customer.
5.2 Upon receipt of a complaint, the member of staff must log the complaint in the complaint tracking system.
5.3 The complaint tracking system will record the complainant’s name and address, the nature of the complaint, the date of the complaint, how the complaint was received, the date when the complaint was referred to the Operations Manager (as applicable), the date the investigation report was completed, details of the outcome and the date the outcome was communicated to the complainant.
5.4 The complaint should be formally acknowledged within 2 working days by letter, e-mail or telephone by the Operations Manager or other appointed Investigating Officer. A copy of the Complaint Procedure should accompany the acknowledgement.
5.5 A staff member who is the subject of a complaint should not handle or respond to the complaint. Neither should other members of staff who may have a clear conflict of interest in the matter.
5.6 Complaints will be handled sensitively. Any person named in a complaint will be informed of the substance of the complaint and will have the right to reply as part of the investigation process. Information contained within the complaint will only be made available to those involved in its resolution.
5.7 Except in exceptional circumstances, every effort will be made to ensure that both the complainant and DMR observe the confidential nature of any issues raised. However, the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that it might not be possible to maintain confidentiality and each complaint will therefore be judged on its own merit.
5.8 Should it not be possible to maintain confidentiality, the situation must be explained to the complainant and/or their representative. In the case of an apprentice or learner raising a complaint being below the age of 18, DMR may be obliged to inform their parent/guardian.
5.9 No apprentice, learner or other customer bringing a complaint under this procedure, whether successfully or otherwise, will be treated less favourably than if the complaint had not been brought. If evidence to the contrary is found in this regard the member of staff may be subject to disciplinary proceedings under the relevant DMR policy.
5.10 For minor complaints, the member of staff may be able to resolve the complaint informally there and then. Otherwise, it should be referred to the Operations Manager.
5.11 If possible, an informal resolution should aim to resolve minor and straightforward complaints at the first point of contact and as quickly as possible. This will depend on the nature of the complaint and the complainant’s expectations.
5.12 The aim of an informal resolution is to provide a quick, informed response to a complaint without the need for a detailed investigation of the points raised. In such circumstances, the nature of the complaint can most likely be addressed ‘on-the-spot’ by staff directly responsible for the training delivery or service.
5.13 The complaint may be resolved informally by a member of staff providing an ‘on-the-spot’ apology where appropriate and/or explaining why the issue occurred and, where possible, what will be done to stop it occurring again.
5.14 The member of staff should also explain that DMR values complaints and may use the information the complainant has given when DMR reviews its service standards in the future.
5.15 In this context, it is likely that resolution will take place face-to-face or on the telephone and should be undertaken within a short period of time, usually within 24 hours, but always within 5 working days.
5.16 Where a complaint has been successfully resolved at the initial informal stage and the outcome has been communicated to the complainant, then the resolution should be logged in the complaint tracking system. It is important that a full and accurate record is kept of the decision reached and passed to the complainant. The member of staff should then close the complaint and update the complaints tracking system accordingly.
5.17 A member of staff must escalate a complaint to the Operations Manager when an informal resolution has been attempted, but the complainant remains dissatisfied and requests an investigation or the complainant refuses to take part in an informal resolution.
5.18 Any complaints raising issues that are complex and require detailed investigation or relate to serious issues should be immediately referred to the Managing Director upon receipt by a member of staff. The Managing Director will log such complaints on the complaints tracking system.
5.19 Examples of serious issues are: –
5.19.1 Alleged service delay.
5.19.3 Illegal activity.
5.19.5 Dereliction of duty.
5.20 The Operations Manager will normally act as the Investigating Officer, but may delegate this responsibility to another member of staff, depending on the circumstances of the complaint. Complex or serious issues will usually be investigated by the Managing Director.
5.21 The Investigating Officer will act as the single point of contact for the complaint. The Investigating Officer will investigate the points raised and will respond to the complainant.
5.22 The Investigating Officer is responsible for: –
5.22.1 Establishing the precise detail of the complaint.
5.22.2 Conducting a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding the complaint.
5.22.3 Gathering the necessary information and for ensuring that the information gathered is of a suitable quality and accuracy.
5.22.4 Issuing a full and informed response.
5.23 Where confidential records need to be accessed by the Investigating Officer, the necessary permissions must be obtained.
5.24 All members of staff are required to comply with the Investigating Officer when the investigation is being conducted.
6. Investigation Report
6.1 The Investigating Officer should compile a chronology of events, recording what happened and who was involved. All source documents or interviews should be referenced within an investigation report.
6.2 The Investigation Report should include:
6.2.1 The nature of the complaint.
6.2.2 The complainant’s expectations.
6.2.3 A chronology of events.
6.2.4 What should have happened.
6.2.5 What went wrong.
6.2.6 The cause of any identified failings.
6.2.8 The proposed resolution to the complaint.
6.2.9 If the complainant’s expectations can/cannot be met.
6.2.10 Any resulting changes to training or service delivery.
7. Response to the Complainant
7.1 Complaints should be investigated and concluded within 5 working days.
7.2 More serious complaints are likely to require more detailed investigation and reporting and will be concluded within 20 working days.
7.3 The Investigating Officer is responsible for communicating the outcome of the complaint investigation to the complainant.
7.4 The Investigating Officer will let the complainant know the outcome of the investigation in writing or by their preferred method of contact. The response to the complaint will address all areas that DMR has responsibility for and explain the reasons for the decision outcome.
7.5 Where there are barriers to clear communication by letter then contact can be made in person, by telephone or through the use of an interpreter. In all cases where alternative communication is used, this should still be followed up with a letter.
7.6 Any communication of a complaint outcome must make reference to the right of appeal and the timescale.
7.7 The outcome decision, and details of how it was communicated to the complainant should be recorded on the complaint tracking system.
7.8 Potential outcomes of redress are: –
7.8.1 An apology.
7.8.2 An explanation or the correction of an error. Where service failings have been identified, DMR will try to ensure that the complainant is in no worse a position than they would have been if the service failure had not occurred. If this is not possible then other forms of redress will be considered, such as providing an explanation and apology or mediating an amicable agreement.
7.8.3 In some instances, circumstances may be beyond DMR’s control.
8.1 The complainant should request an appeal review within 5 working days of receipt of the complaint outcome response via e-mail or in writing, stating the grounds for appeal.
8.2 The Managing Director or another senior member of staff, (depending who acted as the Investigating Officer) will be responsible for conducting an appeal review where a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint or the way in which it has been handled.
8.3 The Managing Director or another senior member of staff conducting the appeal review may carry out further investigations on the complainant’s behalf. In any event, they will seek to resolve the issues raised and issue a written response within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal.
8.4 The outcome of the appeal review could be as follows: –
8.4.1 Uphold the original complaint outcome.
8.4.2 Dismiss the complaint.
8.4.3 Uphold or partially uphold the complaint.
8.5 The appeal request and outcome should both be logged on the complaint tracking system.
8.6 If the complainant is still dissatisfied, the matter may be referred to the awarding organisation (if appropriate), and/or the government funding body – the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) (if applicable).
8.7 The ESFA address is: –
Education and Skills Funding Agency
9. Monitoring Complaints
9.1 The Managing Director will review and analyse complaint details every 6 months for trend information to ensure DMR identifies service failures and takes appropriate action, including updating policies and procedures.
10. Follow-up Action
10.1 Complaints provide valuable customer feedback. DMR will undertake to improve procedures or systems or implement staff training to address service failures where this is appropriate. This action should reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.
11. Retention of Records
11.1 All records relating to complaints should be retained for a maximum of six years.
12. Review Date
12.1 This policy and procedure will be reviewed no later than March 2022.